Pros and Cons of a Theology Degree
A theology degree involves intensive study of many different religions. For some people, this is a huge draw because it allows you to get a degree in something that is for many people the most important aspect of their life—spirituality. For other people, it is a way to study the evolution of different civilizations and the inner workings of religions around the world. But like any degree, theology has both its positives and negatives. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of a theology degree.
Pro: Theology promotes the understanding of diversity.
Many people choose a theology degree as the beginning to a long career as a priest or other religious leader. In fact, many websites dedicated to discussions about theology view it from a Christian perspective, and so theology tends to be mistaken as a degree in the deep study of that religion. But theology is the study of religion—not of Christianity. While you can choose later in your theological education to focus primarily on Christianity, such as a Master’s of Divinity, that is not the goal of a theology program in most schools.
That being said, studying so many different religious theories can broaden your worldview. While some students with ministry in mind are warned of the dangers of losing their focus by becoming educated on so many different versions of “truth,” ultimately it should help you find that focus, while understanding the origin and beauty of so many different schools of thought. It can also provide you with a very unique way of viewing the world.
Con: You aren’t likely to make millions.
While there are a variety of jobs available to theology graduates, the majority of these involve teaching or preaching. Whether you go on to become a priest, a religious school director, or a bible translator, these jobs are not generally extremely lucrative. While there are religious leaders like Joel Osteen and Billy Graham, unfortunately they are the exception and not the standard. A theology degree is something you must choose because it is where your heart takes you, not where your wallet is most likely to benefit. Depending on which route you take, you’ll likely only make between about $25,000 and $60,000 annually.
Pro: You can learn to use your mind in new ways.
Perhaps this could be considered both pro and con, depending on what you’re looking for. Theology doesn’t follow the standard format of question and answer. It isn’t mathematics. There are many right answers, and conversely, no right answers at the same time. Getting a degree in theology can encourage you to think in very different ways and look at things from a unique point of view. If you aren’t willing to read voraciously, think deeply, and write about things that may tend to be a sensitive subject in some subcultures, theology might not be for you. On other hand, if you’re full of questions about the kind of things theology can teach you and help you understand, it could be a very rewarding path to follow.