Religious studies

Religious studies can describe any course of study that examines the characteristics of major religions, the nature of the rites and rituals, and so on.

Organisations or people who use the descriptor 'Religious studies' are likely to be seeking a contrast those who use the terms 'Theology' (at university level) or 'Religious Education' (at more junior levels). While there is no hard and fast rule, 'Religious Studies' is likely to describe a department or programme that, in comparison with others:

  • studies more than one religion, often in a comparative way, giving all equal status
  • studies religions as objective social phenomena rather than providing instruction or indoctrination in the teachings of a particular religion or denomination

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