Theological education has been in existence ever since religion became a dominant force in human society. The more developed a religion became, the more emphasis was laid on institutionalizing theological education. In fact, today, even though there is a wave of secularism across the globe and countries have begun refraining from associating themselves with particular religions, there are still a sizeable number of the countries that are theological states i.e. they associate themselves with particular religions. A more orthodox reading of theology would make you think that theology is just for those who are devout. In reality, theology is a lot more than this.
As we open our doors to a multi-disciplinary approach towards education, theology as an academic course has evolved as well. Today, the study of theology, if done properly, can open doors to a different understanding of religions and the world around them. But, this is not enough in itself; you may want to explore more of theology before you actually decide to pick it up at university.
Here are 5 things for you to know before studying theology at university
- Theology explained
The first thing is, what theology really is. The most simplistic explanation is that theology is the study of religion. However, that very explanation is open-ended and encompasses a range of things. As a student of theology, you will undertake the study of existing literature, human experiences with religion, and comparative analyses of religions across the globe, and the contemporary relevance of religion. If you pursue theology from a reputed university, then you will be fortunate to examine the interrelation between theology and other disciplines such as psychology, sociology, history, and even economics.
- A Degree in Theology does many things
There is a misconception that you don’t need a formal education to understand religion. Well, you can do without it but that doesn’t mean that formal education will be of zero consequence. In fact, a degree in theology is authoritative. If you enroll yourself in a theology course, you will get to learn from so many great scholars who have devoted their lives to understanding the subject. Your curriculum will expose you to religious texts from all major societies in the world, offer you instruction on interpretation of those texts, learn original languages of these texts, engage in discussions and examine the utility of theology in the 21st century.
- Many opportunities after graduation
If you thought that a degree in theology will only land you in Church, etc then you haven’t really read much or understood enough about theology. Well, yes, a degree in theology will offer you credentials to become part of the church in an authoritative or managerial capacity but there are many other options for those who study theology. Due to the nature of the course requiring students to hone their analytical and problem-solving skills and read extensive literature, many graduates go on to become journalists, writers, and politicians. A good number of the graduates even read law in universities. Or, you can simply become an academician and contribute to scholarship. So, opportunities are many for you to explore and take advantage of.
- You don’t need to have a background in religious studies
Many universities stipulate specific course requirements for applicants. In case of those who are interested in theology, there may be stipulations but generally, you are not expected to have done any particular course back in high school to apply for theology. However, you should have studied at least one of the essay-based courses such as philosophy or English. In case there is a course on theology at school, you should opt for the same so that it gives your application an added advantage.
- Theology doesn’t make you narrow-minded
Today, we have developed this strange notion that anything religious is orthodox. It is perfectly fine to profess and promote religion so long as it is harmless. In theology, you are not being indoctrinated rather you are being taught what there is to know about religion, how religions see the world, and how they apply to the past and the present. You should not think that a degree in theology will be a stamp of indoctrination on you.