Students of religion undertake one of life’s most difficult but rewarding challenges: learning how to think maturely and critically about their own deeply held beliefs. The integration of faith and learning was central to the founding vision of Ozarks in 1834, and that mission is as important now as it ever was. One way to develop a critical perspective is by learning about religions and worldviews that are not one’s own. That’s why the major in religion requires at least two courses in world religions. Students will also learn to read the Bible using historical, literary, and theological approaches, thereby deepening their knowledge of the foundational text of the Christian religion and much of Western culture. Along with a rich variety of electives, a capstone experience offers the chance to pursue in-depth study in topics of their interest.
Students who complete this major will have the religious literacy they need to begin to make sense of everything from the international headlines to the religious identity of their co-worker in the office next door.
Learning to interpret the Bible from multiple perspectives, students will develop the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze complex texts and discover the benefits of putting different ideas in conversation with each other.
Students will acquire the tools they need to explore the meaning of their own lives and the kind of impact they want to make in the world.
- REL 3023: God and NatureIn this course students spend the semester reckoning with Christian theological views of creation and their impact, for good or bad, on the planet we call home. The class even includes work days in the Food for Thought Garden, where we get our hands dirty and help to grow food for local school children.
- REL 1113: Christian SpiritualityThe popular course explores the 2,000-year history of Christian devotional practices, ranging from the medieval mystics to frontier revivalists. The course focuses especially on the genre of spiritual autobiography, what is often called “testimony,” as a rich form of story-telling that is unique to each individual.
- REL 1003: Old TestamentThis course is a good, bread-and-butter course in the program that explores the artistry of Biblical narrative and poetry. We also pay special attention to the profound ethical vision evident in the ancient practices of Sabbath and Jubilee, which are woven throughout the Bible. Students in the course get the chance to think about the ways in which those concepts might shape their own vision for the world and the life they seek to live.