Profile of the Faculty of Religion and Theology

What motivates people

We are fascinated by what intrinsically motivates people. We study the religious stories that inspire them and move them to action. We investigate the sources which they draw on and the values they apply in their lives. We want to know how people deal with this and how they manage to live together while taking such hugely different approaches to life.

Religion and the search for meaning play a major role, both in our society and worldwide. Christianity has heavily influenced Dutch culture and values, currently in dialogue and/or conflict with other convictions such as atheism, individual spirituality and Islam. This gives rise to all kinds of questions, in a ‘secular’ country like the Netherlands too, about what connects us and what motivates us. How does religion function today and what does it mean to people? Where does it have a unifying effect and where does it lead to conflict? And how are social issues influenced by religious backgrounds?

If you want to understand what motivates people and how society is developing, then faith and philosophy of life are issues that cannot be ignored. This is why our researchers from all kinds of academic disciplines and from various religious backgrounds are researching the sources of religions, their historical backgrounds and current manifestations, and their impact on society. This why our students learn how to talk about religion in ways that are meaningful and useful. Within communities of faith or in the sectors of care, education, media and government.

The Faculty of Religion and Theology at VU Amsterdam is the academic knowledge centre for religion and the biggest experimental theological laboratory in Europe. We are at the service of students, journalists and pastors, government bodies and policymakers, social organizations and religious communities. We are there for those who want to know what motivates people.

We are the Faculty of Religion and Theology.