Meet a Major: Dylan Mosley

Dylan MosleyHometown: Beavercreek, Ohio
Major: Religion, with Thematic Sequence in Arabic
Graduation: May 2016

After graduation: Plans to teach English abroad in South Korea or Taiwan

"What I’ve always wanted from my major was a way to understand... current affairs, and the ways in which culture can affect... society."

Why did you decide to major in religion?

Before I chose Comparative Religion, I switched my major twice. First I was studying international relations, and then I switched into French. I chose Comparative Religion primarily because I’m gay. I was very interested in the issues surrounding the intersection of homosexuality and religion, whether it deals with the Bible, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.

Outside the classroom, I’ve been doing a lot of personal searching. I feel this has helped me to cross-contextualize what I was learning in the classroom and what I was experiencing within my personal life.

What have been your best experiences in the major?

Two courses within my Comparative Religion major proved themselves really invaluable. The first involved examining the methods used to study religion. The course introduced me to the history of the academic study of religion. It reviews how people of the 16th and 17th centuries began to analyze Christianity and its role within society, as well as how those Christians spoke about other religions they encountered during colonialism.

In that class, we viewed religion from the standpoint of empathetic outsiders looking at things historically, rather than making normative statements. To an extent, it took me away from asking myself whether or not I agreed with a particular belief system. Rather, I was taught how to look at religion more impartially.

Another course, one of my favorites, taught about the history of Islam. Due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ISIS, and other factors, the course content proved itself to be heavily tied to American current affairs.

How has studying religion prepared you for a career?

Almost every liberal arts major eventually gets the question, “What are you going to do with that?” People can fall under the impression that if your major isn’t business, engineering, or medical, then you won’t be able to get much out of it. However, what I’ve always wanted from my major was a way to understand the world, as well as current affairs, and the ways in which culture can affect the way society is. My major at Miami does that.

When you stop to think about it, there is literally no human fragment on the planet that religion hasn’t shaped into its current situation. My major is about coming to understand the history that has led to everything developing over time, whether it be medicine, politics, or finance. Eventually you come to see how everything is interrelated.