As an atheist, I wonder how religion will help me examine my values. This is because I have grown not believing in any religion. I heard that God is the creator of the universe. That He is the supernatural giver of life. That he had a son by the name of Jesus Christ, who came from heaven, died on the cross for sinners to be forgiven. I have read the Bible and the Quran, but just like any other fiction novel. I want to study the fundamental issues in the study of religion; get an academic approach to religion apart from my personal believes.
It has never occurred to me that there is Jesus, God, Heaven or salvation for that matter. Neither have I ever believed that there is Satan. To me these are just fiction stories and I have never taken them seriously, it is like believing in aliens for that matter. I understand that Freud and Jung have had different theories about religion. Freud felt that religion is a fallacy and an escape, Jung believed that religion is important as a person starts the process of individuation (wiseGEEK, n.d.). I happened to enjoy my trips to mosques or churches and as faithful could pour out their hearts to God. I know that although I do not believe or pray to God, I have a destiny already designed for me. I realized over time that with or without prayers, life will continue just normally; prayers have no significance. I tend to believe more in science especially with its theories about creation of the earth and indeed the universe. As such, I wonder in my new studies how I will start trusting that the earth was created in, say, seven days. As for Hultgard (n.d.), it will be funny reading about theology as an academic discipline and its relationship with Christianity, discuss the different religious myths, about cults, canons, paganism, magic, and animism among others.
This statement plus many more others puts a smile on my face.
However, as a new religious studies student, I will have to serious trust in what my instructor will be teaching for various reasons and most important will be to pass my exams. It will be interesting to read about sociologist Émile Durkheim who first defined religion as a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” (The Sociological Approach to Religion, n.d.). Durkheim sociological view of religion will be interesting to me as he suggested that religion is as a source of social stability in society. My thinking is that religion will just be a very entertaining fictional story that was put across by one of the finest brains in the history of human kind, in fact a genius who wanted some form of order in the world. I will be interested to understand why there are many religions and the different practices among them. This means that although I may end never believing in religion, it has some good attributes that have restored order in many of its believers.
Having grown as an atheist, I still have a chance to believe in any religion and now that I will be learning religion, it will enable me make a reflection on my life and maybe take life serious. It will also be interesting learning about the modern religion practices. Why according to the Global index of religion and atheism most people in bottom groups are more religious than those in the top income groups, why religiosity declines as world prosperity of people increases. Why we have different religions like Islam, Hinduism, and Christian and why other like Christianity still have divisions amongst them. I will never want to miss my religion classes, will be keen and ready to ask questions. By working hard in class, I will finally hope to pass my religion exams.