Not God but the faith of people
Comparative Religion is an academic subject in the School of Humanities that examines the religiousness of people using methods of humanities and social science. 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, Comparative Religion is placed in connection with both theology (University of Helsinki, University of Eastern Finland, Åbo Akademi) and humanities (University of Helsinki, University of Turku) education in Finland. At the University of Eastern Finland, Comparative Religion is a joint 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 religion scientists, and they publish the following online newspapers twice a year: Temenos (in English) and Uskonnontutkija (in Finnish and Swedish).
Comparative Religion at the University of Eastern Finland
At the University of Eastern Finland, the education and research of Comparative Religion are focused on the study of the present day, changes in religion, encounters and multiculturality. Present studies include, for example, new religious phenomena (as reactions to postmodern challenges) as well as modern versions of atheism. Because of globalization, glocal interpretations of world-wide effects are also targeted. In the focus here are particularly relations between Christianity and Islam, multiculturalism, religious tolerance (e.g., anti-Semitism).
Comparative Religion studies
During basic studies, students are introduced to an overview of the history of an academic subject and its concepts, global and Finnish religious fields. During intermediate studies, students examine a method and religion 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: religion and well-being, changes in religion, religious dialogue or religion and violence.
Graduates with Comparative Religion as their major work in international organisations, development cooperation tasks, public institutions, such as immigration and development cooperation tasks for the state and church, as well as in teaching and the field of culture.