Philosophy and Religion
The study of philosophy and religion is vital to developing mature and independent values. It will help you to evaluate the conflicting claims of various groups and to build a solid foundation for your own reasoning and faith. At Bridgewater, the department of philosophy and religion covers both academic disciplines because of the department's faculty's training and because the subjects have been closely related historically.
In philosophy, you'll learn about the history of Western thought. You'll study how the great classical and contemporary philosophers have addressed such questions as "What is real knowledge?" and "How should we conduct ourselves?" Philosophy is the study of the intellectual history of the globe (for example, Eastern traditions do not distinguish between "philosophy" and "religion"). The essential skill in philosophy is good argumentation. Learning to reason critically, have respect for evidence, and be able to express yourself well are major functions of all courses.
Studying religion in Western culture begins with an understanding of history, the history of the peoples of God. For Western culture, you'll learn of the Christian church's ways of interpreting its Scriptures, of the Christian faith's attitudes toward the traditions that have shaped it, of the relationship of religion (including Judaism and Islam) to Western culture, and of the ideas of the most profound and influential contributors to religious thought. In addition, for world culture, you'll have the opportunity to learn of the history, nature, and dimension of the major religious traditions (including the indigenous religions of India, China, and Japan) that shape the lives and cultures of people worldwide.
You'll find that the special academic asset of the philosophy and religion department is its faculty, who help students develop skills and commitments that will enable them to work and live effectively wherever they find lives of service. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you might have.