May 31, 2016

‘Find a way to get in the way,’ Lewis urges students

Civil rights pioneer addresses 2,900 graduates at 155th Commencement

Commencement Speaker, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, holds a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from Fisk University and  is a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Nashville, Tennessee. In his commencement address, he urges students: “If you see something that’s not right, not fair, not just, do something about it. ... Have the backbone to get in the way.”
Both a summary and a full transcript of Lewis’ address are available online.

April 29, 2016

Why You Just Helped That Stranger

Moralizing gods help societies cooperate, research shows

Robert M. Sapolsky of The Wall Street Journal delves into recent research on moralizing gods and human behavior. Included in his article is research by Carlos Botero, Assistant Professor of Biology at WashU and lead author of "The ecology of religious belief" published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

About Religious Studies

Religion permeates everything—being informed about it endows one with deeper insight regarding artistic, business, and international phenomena. People who are religiously literate are in a better position to examine and respond to individual, interpersonal, and political dynamics—from human development, the fine arts and identity studies to history, science, urban planning, public policy and health care. The ability to navigate and recognize the perspective and influence of world religions can inform collaborations, organizational management, and responses to current issues. It is a key that empowers people in addressing circumstances from increasingly diverse neighborhoods and workplaces to national and world events.

M. R. Diamond, “Religious Literacy Across the Disciplines,” 2011


Few will contest the fact that, despite predictions to the contrary, religion continues to play a central role in contemporary culture, politics, identity, and conflict in every part of the globe. At the same time, the fast-moving forces of globalization, migration, and technology continue to bring diverse religious communities in closer proximity, often creating new religious communities in the process. As a result, it has become ever more essential for people living in today’s world to be “religiously literate.”


The Religious Studies Program at Washington University is designed to provide students with the opportunity to not only acquire basic knowledge of the beliefs and practices of the major world religions, but also learn how to engage in a critical appraisal of both their historic and their contemporary significance. ...Click here to read more

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