Comparative Religion

If you know one religion you know none

Comparative Religion is an academic subject that examines human religious life by using the methods of humanities and social sciences. It does not aim to answer questions related to, for example, the nature or existence of God, the ultimate truth and life after death; instead, it aims to study religious manifestations and their effects on the level of an individual, society, institutions and globally as well as their mutual interaction in history and today.


Comparative Religion in Finland

As an academic subject in Finnish universities, Comparative Religion is located in faculties of theology (University of Helsinki, University of Eastern Finland, Åbo Akademi) and humanities (University of Helsinki, University of Turku). At the University of Eastern Finland, Comparative Religion is an academic subject in the School of Theology. Students have been able to study it as a major since the 2009–2010 academic year, and postgraduate studies have been available since 2014.

The Finnish Society for the Study of Religion operates as a forum for scholars in Comparative Religion, and they publish two bi-annual research journals: Temenos (in English) and Uskonnontutkija (in Finnish and Swedish).

Comparative Religion at the University of Eastern Finland

At the University of Eastern Finland, the teaching and research of Comparative Religion are focused on the study of the present day, changes in religion, encounters and cultural diversity. Present studies include, for example, new religious phenomena as well as contemporary versions of atheism. In terms of globalization, local interpretations of world-wide effects are of special interest. In the focus are particularly relations between Christianity and Islam, multiculturalism, and religious tolerance.


Comparative Religion studies

During basic studies, students are introduced to an overview of the history of an academic subject and its concepts, global and European religious fields. During intermediate studies, students examine a particular method and religious tradition in a more detailed way, and during advanced and postgraduate studies, they study a specific topic that could be in one of the following areas: changes in religion, religious dialogue, religion and violence, or myths and rituals.

Graduates with Comparative Religion as their major are employed by public institutions, international organizations, and NGOs. Their work usually involves research and teaching in issues related to, for example, religious diversity, immigration, and development cooperation.


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