Do I Need to be Religious (or not religious) to Study Religion at Texas A&M?
Religious Studies includes and welcomes both religious and non-religious students and scholars.
Religious Studies as an academic field is filled with people, some religious and some not, who share a fascination with the many ways humans engage with religious ideas and practices.
Studying religion at a public university is different from receiving training at a seminary or in a religious vocational setting. In a public university setting, you are learning about religions, rather than learning to teach or practice a particular faith tradition. Some religious studies majors and minors do pursue religious vocations. Others take their training and apply it in a range of other settings, from healthcare to law.
“Just as the adjective ‘Russian’ in ‘Russian studies,’ indicates that Russia is the object of study, not that people who study it are necessarily Russian, the adjective ‘religious’ in religious studies signals that the object of this study is religion. It does not imply that those who teach religious studies are themselves either religious or not. The aim of the academic study of religion is not to defend or promote a specific religion but to describe and understand religion in contextual and cross-culturally accurate terms.”
–American Academy of Religion, “AAR Religious Literacy Guidelines”