Skip to main content

Chris Orvin '05

You should study religion if you think life is worth engaging deeply, if you feel - somewhat instinctively and maybe vaguely - that something is Not Quite Right, if you know that there can be elevated moments where life feels suddenly Right. You should study religion if you really want to dive down into the heart of the mystery of what it means to be alive, the great existential dilemma of having to live a life that is limited. Religion is principally about transformation and fulfillment: about the full actualization of human spirit, the radical expansion of being that comes when the false “self” of our daily lives is absorbed in the great Self beyond selfishness. This is, fundamentally, the point of our living, and in the final analysis, all that matters.

Study what you like. At the end of your workday you will have to come home and address the subdued anxiety of having to live a life under the dangling sword of Why. These religions, these thousand year old tools, have been honed by generations to do this fundamental task of answering this gnawing sense of unease. But embark on this journey with no illusions: Religious Studies will not get you to that truth beyond true and false; it is the finger pointing to the moon, not the Moon itself. It's a journey that takes some courage, some wrestling with doubt, and some sense of adventurousness, but it will serve you well your entire life.