That's a great question!
Fear of the “other” (marked as ethnic, racial, and of course, religious difference) is at the heart of so many of the conflicts that currently afflict the world. Students of Religious Studies learn about the sociological and psychological factors which shape belief and often inform global conflict. They also study the history and theology of multiple religious traditions.
We focus on teaching students ways of engaging religious difference in complex ways and learning to talk thoughtfully, and respectfully about these differences. With this training place they are uniquely able not only to analyze how religious discourse informs divisive situations, but more importantly how to actively foster civil dialogue that honestly honors, rather than mitigates religious difference.
These skills prepare students for careers in a host of fields including, international relations, medical vocations, education-–just to name a few.
Recently John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, chose Religious Studies as THE most important field of study.