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Theology, Philosophy and Religion Dissertation Topics

The dissertation is the culmination of your degree and should be a reflection of not only your interest in the subject area, but also demonstrate your insight and the contribution you wish to make. This is an opportunity to explore existing theories and perspectives, while at the same time constructing new insights to illuminate discourse on the subject. No lecturer is expecting you to come up with completely new theological theories, but they will expect your literature to add to what is already out there. To help you to prepare for your religious studies dissertation, this article makes suggestions of Theology, Philosophy and Religion Dissertation  topics on which to base your research.

World Religions Dissertation Topics

Modules in world religion cover all aspects of traditions from around the world. Studies can be based upon belief systems as niche as the Samurai or as mainstream as Catholicism. The focus of a dissertation is on fully exploring and gaining new insight into the highly diverse nature of faith. Ideas of how to specify an area on which to research for a religious studies dissertation are suggested by the following titles:

• Compare and contrast the basic principles of Eastern and Western religious faiths. Are the two factions really that different?
• What social beliefs influenced the creation of Japanese religion and how much does this religion still resonate within modern Japanese society.
• What can be learnt from the religious conflict in the Sudan and how does it compare with other religious conflicts?
• Compare and contrast modern day Egyptian religious traditions to those from the pre-dynastic period.
• All religious paths lead to the same mountain top. Discuss.
• Has the Christian dominance in Ireland subsided enough for the Catholics and Protestants to live in peace?
• Atheism is the new world religion. Discuss.
• How has religious belief changed in modern India compared with the beliefs of the country in the early 20th century?
• How has globalisation impacted various religious beliefs around the world?
• To what extent does immigration increase or decrease religious belief within communities?
• How has religion adapted to the modern world within different countries around the world?

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Religious History Dissertation Topics

Religious history is the study of various belief systems that have existed and evolved throughout the existence of human civilisation and before. The subject pays particular attention to which religions were dominant during periods of history and which religions have had a resonating impact on cultures throughout history. This will often involve close examination of all literature and culture from a specific era in order to establish a number of religious references. Although the institution that you study in may have bias or emphasis to a particular faith, studies in this area are not restricted to mainstream religions such as Christianity or Islam. Religious history is a key component to how the human race has evolved through time. A religious studies dissertation in this area will create many areas of research for you. Some are suggested below.

• What evidence is there of religious conflicts that were faced by the people of Elizabethan England?
• History has taught us that the belief system of a nation depends on who is sitting on the throne. Discuss with reference to modern day societies.
• In their book ‘ Pagan Christianity Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices ‘ authors Viola and Barna suggest overwhelming similarity between the Pagan and Christian faiths. What evidence is there to support their theory of Christianity being historically rooted in Pagan tradition?
• What were the foundations of the Islamic faith and how close are modern day rituals and traditions to those thought to have been practiced in 7th Century Saudi Arabia?
• Historically speaking, which country and cultures have been unable to resolve religious conflict and how has this impacted on their culture today?
• To extent could it be argued that Adolf Hitler was influenced by religious ideas and doctrines?
• What evidence is there for the formation of religion as it is known today?
• Historically, human beings have failed in matters of religious tolerance. Discuss.
• To what extent has religion been used throughout history as a control mechanism for society?
• What societal influences of the last century have led to the popular decline in religious belief?
• How has religion historically repressed enlightenment in order to retain dogmatic control over society?

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Religion in the Contemporary World Dissertation Topics

This topic focuses on how religions continue to operate in the contemporary world. This might involve questioning whether a faith is applicable to modern day dilemmas, or how a faith is portrayed by the media. This is a particularly important study for those wanting to continue their study in theology to post graduate levels, as academics are increasingly questioning the relevance of religion to modern day life and making this a focus of religious discussion. For topics suggestions for your religious studies dissertation, see below.

• To what extent could it be argued that the Old Testament teachings from the Christian Bible are outdated and no longer applicable to life in the 21st Century? Discuss.
• Which religious code of ethics is most applicable to modern day life and why?
• How can religious faith reconcile the existence of international terrorism and an all-loving, omnipotent god?
• To what extent do religious belief systems contradict modern day notions of female equality?
• According to the Bible homosexuals can have no god. Discuss.
• Is Buddhism the only religion applicable to modern life in the UK?
• How have eastern religions been demonised in the post 9/11 culture of the western media?
• What do pagan and neo-wicca belief systems have to offer in the face of 21st century living?
• To what extent does a Christian scientist believe the word of God as written in the bible?
• To what extent can extreme religious belief indicate possible mental health issues?
• How can economic right wing ideology reconcile the fact that Jesus threw the money lenders out of the temple?

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Ethics and Religion Dissertation Topics

Religious ethics or religion and ethics are generally concerned with understanding the morality of religion, how it applies to everyday life and key moments throughout history. If you are looking to base your religious studies dissertation in this area, the following topic suggestions may help you.

• Religion and morality are synonymous. Discuss.
• What ethical beliefs are involved in the Hindu faith and in what situations are they most applicable?
• Can military action ever be ethically justified through religious ethics?
• Which religions use situation ethics in their moral code and how effective are their codes in moral dilemmas?
• In the 21st century ethical egoism is the only logical moral code. Discuss.
• Which ethical codes are used in Judaism and where do these codes fall short?
• Can the taking of even one innocent life can ever be ethically and religiously justified? Discuss.
• Islamic fundamentalists have no moral code. Discuss.
• To what extent has morality been developed through religious doctrine?
• In order to have ethical virtue one must practice some form of religion. Discuss.
• Can religious freedom justify the right to take away the choices of others?

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Philosophy of Religion Dissertation Topics

Philosophy of religion is the philosophical study of the nature of religion as well as its meaning. It is concerned with logical arguments for and against the existence of a superior being most often called God. Within the philosophical study of religion, concepts, terms and arguments relating to religion, including religious beliefs and practices are analysed to understand what they mean to the religious adherents. The objective is to question all aspects of religion to ascertain whether religion can be philosophically justified as a possibility. A variety of academic fields are drawn on in order to understand the philosophy or religion and these include theology, sociology, history, psychology, anthropology and natural sciences. The following are just some of the topics you could discuss for your religious studies dissertation.

• The existence of life on earth is evidence of the existence of a higher being. Discuss.
• A world so full of evil cannot co-exist with an all-loving omnipotent God.
• If God exists, who made him?
• God only exists in the minds of the people who follow him. Discuss.
• What challenges are there to the Christian belief that there is only one omnipotent God?
• Does divinity exist in nature as the Egyptians once believed?
• Religion is nothing more than a safety net in the face of death. Discuss.
• It is claimed that the ‘religious reservoir’ is often tapped by the religious during stressful events. Could such reservoir be real or simply psychological?
• If Christians see death as the only means of transition to eternity, why do some of them live with fear of death?
• The Bible states that God will punish the sinner. The Bible also states that God does not like the death of a sinner. Discuss.

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Religious Mythology Dissertation Topics

Religious mythology is concerned with the myths and religious stories that accompany the various religious factions across the world. Mythology is just one aspect of religion; religion itself is a much broader term because it goes beyond mythology to encompass rituals, symbolic objects and places. Religious mythology involves symbolic narratives relating to a certain religion, which are historical. Religious myths are usually about supernatural beings and occurrences which the religious is expected to accept and sometimes draw inspirations from. You will often be asked to offer interpretation and fresh insights into what such literature means to believers.

• What does the Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris teach us about Ancient Egyptian life?
• What conflicting behaviour do Jesus and his disciples display in the Bible and how should believers interpret these inconsistencies?
• Considering the continuous disintegration of some religions, how true could it be that these different denominations truly please the same God?
• If there is scientific evidence to support 4.5 billion years as age of the earth while the biblical age maintains 6000 years, what does this tell us about biblical stories as a myth?
• What could be the implications of Amitabha’s birth from a lotus flower on how Buddhists relate with flower plants?

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Religious buildings and Architecture Dissertation Topics

This topic focuses on the role architecture plays in the realm of religion and within religious communities. To effectively study this topic you need to look beyond the physical aesthetics of a building and attempt to understand what buildings symbolise for those following a religious faith. With many religious buildings around the world, a religious studies dissertation in this area will provide you with many research possibilities.

• What makes a church?
• Buildings such as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona are evidence of divine inspiration. Discuss.
• Expensive religious buildings are insensitive to those living in poverty; the very people religion is supposed to support. Discuss.
• Demolishing a religious building is an act against the divine. Discuss.
• Do believers need religious buildings to connect with their deity?
• Do grand religious buildings cause religious leaders to lose touch with their followers?
• Without the focus of religious buildings, religion would die out. Discuss.
• Do you agree that people are only in the presence of the divine when they enter a religious building?
• Are there any differences in spiritual benefits between a religious person who prays in a dedicated religious building and one who prays at home?
• If architectural structures are critical to the lives of the religious, why were hermits who lived and worshipped in caves able to become saints?
• If church buildings are designed for the Christian God to accepts believers’ offerings, what can be said about offerings during interfaith services in non-church buildings?

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Worship and Ritual Dissertation Topics

Worship and ritual is concerned with the physical and spiritual rites people of religious faith use to honour their principles and their deity. Within this subject you may study life changing ceremonies such as weddings and funerals or simple methods of connecting with a deity such as meditation or chanting. Factors still prominent in modern society, a religious studies dissertation on one of the following topics could be very intriguing.

• Being married in a church is the only way to be recognised as a couple in the eyes of God. Discuss.
• What evidence is there to support that Wiccan and Pagan followers can actually work real spells?
• What do differing methods of prayer tell us about differing religions?
• How has Christian worship evolved over time?
• Is it necessary to baptise a baby to save its soul?
• How does Islamic worship and ritual differ to that of other world religions, and what do Islamic customs indicate about Islamic culture?
• Do all polytheistic followers worship the divine in the same way?
• Ritual may differ but at their core all religions are the same. Discuss.
• Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians speak in tongues in ways that differ from the apostles. Could this be described as innovation or deviation?
• In Hinduism, there are several deities to choose from. Is it right to say that all these deities have same power to grant similar requests?
• Why do Catholics see an object (e.g., crucifix) blessed by a priest as a powerful armour against evil spirit influences?

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Politics and Religion Dissertation Topics

Religion and politics examine the relationship between these two discourses and their impact upon one another. For further topic suggestions for your religious studies dissertation, see the examples below.

• Politicians should not interfere in religious conflicts. Discuss.
• How has politics influenced religion in the UK over the last 500 years?
• Should religious leaders have some legal and political power?
• Can the religious leaning of a political candidate win or lose them an election?
• All wars use politics as a mask when religion is at their core. Discuss.
• Should politicians keep their religious beliefs a secret and keep their political decision religiously objective?
• The most effective world leaders have followed a religious pathway. Discuss.
• Politicians only pay lip service to religion for popularity. Discuss.
• The Nazi Party mixed religious powers with political powers while committing mass killings. Why did religion feature in their agenda?
• Queen Elizabeth II is both the Head of a State and Head of a Church. Does this make Church of England a political church?
• Considering repeated threats to US and UK governments by ISIS, could ISIS be said to be fighting a religious war or a political one?

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