|A hymn by Proclus that I used in my paper.|
It is in the book Religions of Late Antiquity
I have a religion minor, which essentially means that I took 4 religion classes, two about christian religions and two on other religions. However, the two classes on other religions were Sex & the Hebrew Bible and Religions of Late Antiquity so they both relate to Christianity. Both my major papers and research projects related to Christianity in those classes. I know many people stereotype religion classes or have the experience of taking religion classes and losing their faith or leaving their religion because of it. However, that was not my experience. I actually found that the religion classes complimented my faith or helped me in times when I was struggling in faith.
When I took my first religion class it was Early Christianity and I read so many works such as the Martyrdom of Polycarp and others that are important religious documents. It was uplifting for my faith to read those and to study them. While I may not agree with everything my religion professors say I still have gained something positive.
The Sex & the Hebrew Bible class helped me in a time when I was really struggling with misogyny in religion. particularly as relates to the Adam and Eve story. When my professor spent a whole week going over different interpretations in the assigned reading and in class for the creation story and the story of the fall, it just helped me to realize that it is not as sexist as people will interpret it. It is hard to describe how studying it in my class made me feel okay in my faith and I was no longer troubled about it in my mind.
This past school year in my Religions of Late Antiquity class I wrote a paper comparing two hymns to the Virgin Mary my Ambrose of Milan and Proclus of Constantinople and how they were responding to the heresies in their community( Arianism & Nestorianism). I wrote this around Christmas and after studying the hymns and then singing the hymns for the Nativity in church I felt like I had a deeper understanding of the theology of the Nativity hymnography. I saw the same arguments that Ambrose and Proclus were making. In my Medieval Christianity class we took a field trip to an Orthodox Monastery, which is self explanatory as to the significance for me of that.
All of this is to say that what you get out of your religion classes is up to you. I felt prepared mentally for how those classes could challenge my faith and I have been so surprised with how much they have actually strengthened my faith.
Love and Blessings