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About the OCRS

Established in 2016, the Online Centre for Religious Studies aims to promote and facilitate the academic study of religion for a wide and diverse audience.

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Study religion online

Our courses will take you from the basics of what a religion is (or isn't!), right through to a detailed exploration of the key faiths alive today.

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Free resources

Download free digital resources for personal use, or to assist in the classroom.

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Why study religion?

7 December 2018 | Luke Burns

We’re naturally curious about the world around us, and are drawn to things we find interesting; all of us will learn about something in our free time. It might be a new skill like crochet, web development, tennis, or horse riding; it might be the ins and outs of celebrity lives, footballer statistics, or political intrigue; and it might be an academic subject like geology, history, or… religious studies. But why religious studies?

True Religion and Religious Truths

5 December 2018 | Luke Burns

As practitioners of religious studies, academics are advised against investigating the truth claims of different religious traditions - it’s one of those awkward subjects that cannot be reliably studied (hence the ongoing difficulties integrating scientific empiricism with religious accounts of the world). However, in a world full of competing truth claims, worldviews, and ways of living, the question inevitably sneaks in… what does it mean that different prophets and sages make equally compelling arguments, accrue millions of followers, endure for thousands of years, yet offer no material proof?

Dhikr in the Sufi Tradition

16 November 2018 | Luke Burns

In the centuries following the death of Muhammad, the Arabian peninsula was altered dramatically. The nomadic tribes, whose previous relationships had been mercurial and often violent, had become unified in a great empire, intended (at least by the devout) to reflect the great unity of Allah. Yet there were numerous difficulties in governing such a vast and culturally diverse area, not least of which was managing political power in accordance with Islam.