Religion and Philosophy | Capital University, Columbus Ohio


Religion and Philosophy

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    • Majors: Religion • Philosophy • Youth Ministry and Christian Education • Worship Ministries

      In the Religion and Philosophy Department at Capital University, students and faculty together consider the “big questions” for which there are no easy answers.

      Both Religion and Philosophy offer theories and methods for tackling these questions in a way that brings scholarly rigor to bear on matters that are at the heart of what it means to be human, as individuals and as part of a community.

      The department offers a major and minor in Philosophy and three majors and minors in Religion (Religion, Youth Ministry and Christian Education, and Worship Ministry). While many of our Religion students have interest in ministry studies, an equally strong group of students pursue the academic study of religion more generally, developing interests in world religions, religion and literature, history, and theology. Our Religion faculty also administers the pre-seminary program at Capital, in which students from any major may work toward admission to seminary programs and employment in a wide range of professional ministry settings. Our Philosophy program is an important option for pre-law students, who will find that—nationally—Philosophy students are consistently among the highest scorers on the LSAT exam. Indeed, students in pre-law from all majors are encouraged to take at least two Philosophy courses: Introduction to Logic and Symbolic Logic.

      what you'll learn

      Full–time faculty members in religion hold doctoral degrees in a range of disciplines, including ancient languages and literature, theology, and world religions. Their specialties include biblical literature, feminist thought, indigenous religions, and postmodern thought.

      As a religion major or minor, you'll develop:

      • An understanding of the nature of religion, of the sacred, and of major religious traditions, including Christianity;
      • The ability to carry on disciplined, critical dialogue about varied understandings of religion and religious questions;
      • An understanding of how religion shapes and is shaped the social, historical, and cultural contexts of which it is a part;
      • The ability to think critically and to articulate and defend your own ideas; 
      • The ability to think creatively and to work both independently and as part of a community with common goals; and
      • The capacity to think critically about life and work in a way that honors your own abilities and needs and those of your community.


      Majors and minors in religion take courses in history, world religions, theology, philosophy, language, and literature. Those who choose one of the ministry tracks take additional specialized courses.

      The faculty members in philosophy at Capital represent a wide range of experience, backgrounds and points of view. Specialties within the faculty include applied ethics, classical Greek philosophy, philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science.

      As a philosophy major or minor, you'll explore foundational questions like:

      • What can we know?
      • What beliefs are reasonable?
      • What does it mean to be a happy, fulfilled person?
      • What is human nature?
      • Does life have a meaning?
      • What do we mean by freedom, and how do we realize it?

      You'll do this through historical studies in philosophy, logic, and the relation of philosophy to science, the arts, religion, health care and politics and other disciplines. You'll have opportunities to study contemporary problems in philosophy. And you'll be encouraged to study independently. 

      Explore both program and their course descriptions in our online course bulletin.

      where you'll go: career paths and placement

      Our religion graduates are well prepared for graduate school or seminary. Other students enter the job market immediately upon graduation. Our graduates are participating in ordained ministry nationally and internationally, and they're working in a wide variety of programs and occupations, demonstrating the value and flexibility of Capital’s religion program.

      Many employers seek out philosophy majors and minors because they are critical thinkers and careful communicators — skills in high demand for leadership positions. Philosophy graduates tend to combine a useful blend of imagination and critical thinking skills, which often make them creative entrepreneurs and agents of change in society.

      Capital's philosophy graduates choose any different career paths after they leave Capital, including law (did we mention we have a Law School?), public policy, government, technology, and the ministry. Others pursue advanced degrees in philosophy so they can teach.

    • Our professors bring out the best in you. We won't lie. They can be tough. But they're also your counselors, your mentors, and your biggest advocates. Meet a few below, or view our department directory.


    • Joy Schroeder, Ph.D.

      Professor of Religion


      Religion and Philosophy
      Renner Hall
      Room 343

      (614) 236-6437

      • Biography

        Holder of the Bergener Chair in Theology and Religion, which carries a joint appoint at Capital and Trinity Seminary, Dr. Joy Schroeder is a prolific scholar and lecturer working in areas of feminism in medieval thought and Old Testament studies. 

        She is a Lutheran (ELCA) pastor who regularly speaks in congregations and clergy continuing education events throughout the country. Her areas of research include the history of biblical interpretation and the history of women in the church. She is the author of Deborah’s Daughters: Gender Politics and Biblical Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 2014) and Dinah’s Lament: The Biblical Legacy of Sexual Violence in Christian Interpretation (Fortress, 2007). 

        Professor Schroeder was named the inaugural recipient of Capital University’s Faculty Scholar Award, which represents the third pillar of recognition that a faculty member has reached an advanced level of achievement and contribution to the University.

        Her 2007 book, Dinah’s Lament: The Biblical Legacy of Sexual Violence in Christian Interpretation, has been described by reviewers as “filling a unique role in the scholarship of biblical interpretation.” “Schroeder’s volume,” the reviewer writes, “stands alone in its consistent hermeneutical perspective rooted in women’s experience.” 

        Professor Schroeder has amassed a collection of scholarly articles, critical book reviews, and denominational publications that translate and interpret church history – and particularly the history of women – into important insights that inform both historical and contemporary understanding. Above all, Professor Schroeder challenges her students by setting the same high expectations in the classroom that she has realized with her own scholarship.

      • Teaches

        Religious Foundations and the Bible (General Education core class)
        Reformation & Enlightenment Church History
        Women Mystics
        Ministry in Congregations
        Christian Worship

      • Degrees

        Ph.D. in Theology (History of Christianity) from the University of Notre Dame
        Master of Divinity, Princeton Theological Seminary

    • Craig Burgdoff, Ph.D.


      Craig Burgdoff 600x600

      Religion and Philosophy
      Renner Hall


      • Classes

        Religious Foundations & the Bible
        Introduction to Asian Religion
        Mythology Around the World
        Native American Religions
        Advanced Asian Religions

      • Biography

        Dr. Burgdoff’s teaching and scholarship is in World Religions. He regularly teaches introductory and advanced courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese Religions and Japanese Religions. He teaches Native American Religions and Mythology from cultures around the world. He is trained in social scientific approaches to religion and his courses generally employ social scientific methodology. He has a longstanding interest in new religions and has frequently written and taught about new religious movements. Dr. Burgdoff is currently developing courses in Eastern Philosophy.

      • Degrees Earned

        B.A., St. John's College (Santa Fe)
        M.A. Leslie College
        Ph.D., Syracuse University

    • Nate Jackson, Ph.D.

      Assistant Professor of Philosophy

      Nate Jackson

      Religion and Philosophy
      Convergent Media Center


      • Biography

        Dr. Jackson's teaching and research focus on ethics, issues concerned with moral education, and American philosophy. Animated by the sense that philosophical inquiry can be formative and impactful, he strives to integrate philosophical and personal reflection in coursework.

        In the philosophy program, Dr. Jackson teaches a range of topics, including historically-focused classes like Classical Greek Philosophy, as well as courses highlighting major issues, like Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy and Science. This breadth is quite exciting, enabling valuable convergence and conversation around a variety of disparate figures and issues.

        In the general education program, Dr. Jackson has taught multiple First Year Seminars as well as UC-410 Ethical Issues and Contemporary Religious Conviction. His UC-410 classes are characterized by an emphasis on community engagement and using the texts and materials of a variety of philosophical traditions to bear on live moral quandaries. This focus helps bring philosophy to life, showing moral and ethical deliberation is a task we are called to perform.

        As a researcher, Dr. Jackson's central interests concern moral education and the possibility of morality without rules. Broadly, are principles necessary for moral reasoning? What might other forms of deliberation look like? And, if there are alternatives, how should moral education proceed? These research questions impact how we teach classes like ethics.

        More recently, his research has expanded into disability studies. In particular, people with disabilities are often dismissed as authorities about their experiences. Dr. Jackson is currently working on projects that examine this tendency and and offer some criticism of the underlying arguments.

      • Classes

        First Year Seminar
        Classical Greek Philosophy
        Philosophy of Religion
        Philosophy and Science
        Contemporary Problem in Philosophy
        Major Philosophers
        Ethical Issues and Contemporary Religious Conviction

      • Degrees Earned

        B.A. Philosophy, Capital University, 2006
        M.A. Humanities, University of Chicago, 2007
        M.A. Philosophy, Baylor University, 2011
        Ph.D. Philosophy, Baylor University, 2014

      • Publications

        Jackson, Nate (2016). John Dewey and the Possibility of Particularist Moral Education. Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1):215-224.

        Jackson, Nate (2016). Moral Particularism and the Role of Imaginary Cases: A Pragmatist Approach. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 8 (1):237-259.

        Jackson, Nate (2014). Common Sense and Pragmatism: Reid and Peirce on the Justification of First Principles. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 12 (2):163-179.

    • Sally Stamper, Ph.D.

      Assistant Professor of Religion

      Sally Stamper 600x600

      Religion and Philosophy
      Renner Hall
      Room 341

      (614) 236-6453

      • Biography

        Sally Stamper (PhD, University of Chicago) is a theologian and scholar of religion. She works at the intersection of theology and psychology, and her research thus far has considered questions related to human suffering and evil.

        With a subspecialty in religion and literature, Professor Stamper engages early childhood development and literature for young children as sources for theological reflection. She is the author of Horror and Its Aftermath: Reconsidering Theology and Human Experience (forthcoming from Fortress Press in 2016).

        Professor Stamper also has trained and practiced as a clinical social worker, specializing in mental health and child welfare, in clinic settings, private practice, and as a consultant. She has written numerous book reviews for professional journals and has presented nationally and internationally as both a scholar of religion and a clinician. She also lectures and presents to community and church groups and at religious and spiritual retreats. Professor Stamper completed her MSW at the Jane Addams College of Social Work (University of Illinois-Chicago) and her MA (in religion) and PhD (in theology) at the University of Chicago, where she was a junior fellow of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. Prior to coming to Capital University, she was a postdoctoral teaching fellow in the University Core at Seton Hall University.

        At Capital, Professor Stamper’s appointment is in contemporary Christian thought. She also teaches courses in religion and literature as well as in the General Education program.

      • Teaches

        Life Stories: Spiritual, Intellectual, and Personal Journeys
        Modern Christian Thought
        Introduction to Faith and Moral Development
        Religion and Literature
        Liberation Theology
        First Year Studies
        Religious Foundations and the Bible

      • Degrees

        PhD, University of Chicago
        MA, University of Chicago
        MSW, University of Illinois (Chicago)
        BA, Agnes Scott College

    • Rebel with a Cause

      Moriah Reichert Feature
      Radical change and historical reformers inspire Moriah Reichert to do more – not less.

      Growing up as the daughter of a Lutheran pastor in a rural Ohio, Moriah Reichert knows the inescapable awareness and responsibility being “the pastor's kid" brings. In a town barely...

    • Class Notes with Amanda Sorrell

      Amanda Sorrell inset
      Aspiring poet shares experiences and personal secret to success.

      Capital University junior Amanda Sorrell is a double major in Creative Writing and Religion. This past summer she participated in the Summer Scholars program where she wrote a collection of Honduran-inspired poems based on her own personal experiences....

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  • Silent No More

    Religion and Psychology Senior Luchauna Smith Finds Her Voice Surveying the Silenced

    Silent No MoreLuchauna Smith was in the third grade lining up for recess the first time someone made her feel bad about being different. "Why is your nose so big?" the boy asked. With the instincts of a shy, self-conscious child, she shrunk inside herself and silently bought his premise. "Why is my nose so big?" she asked herself in front of the mirror that night. "And why are my gums purple when theirs are pink? Is there something wrong with me? Are my gums dirty?"