Difference between Religion and Theology
Theology and religion are two very closely related and easily confused disciplines. The confusion arises because both of them revolve around God. If you carefully examine each subject, you will realize that, while they have a few aspects in common, they are also two completely different things. Theology mostly focuses on studying about God and faith. It is only concerned with particular beliefs and religious views. Religion, on the other hand, covers a broader scope as it tries to understand different religions across the world. It seeks to study the beliefs, practices, institutions, and behaviors associated with religion.
Theology differs from religion in several ways;
First, theology is associated with religious schools. Theological schools offer training programs to insiders of that religion who seek more conviction to prepare them for work once they are ordained as a pastor or priest. In contrast, religious studies are taught in institutions as an academic discipline in a department of its own. However, theology training also incorporates a few courses on religion, and religious studies also teach a few theology courses.
In addition, theology is written by insiders of a particular religion. These are people who have firm religious convictions in that particular faith. Religious studies, in contrast, can be written and taught by anyone who partially acknowledges that religion. To study theology, you are required to have some form of faith, unlike religion, which does not need one to have any kind of faith to study and succeed. In fact, studying religion works best if the learner is open-minded to exploring different religious beliefs and practices. Any preconceived opinions and judgments arising from personal religious beliefs might hinder the learning process.
Lastly, religious studies defend their beliefs using scholarly evidence by citing authoritative texts, history, concrete statistical information, and other indisputable sources. Religious studies seek to convince and give outsiders reason to practice that religion. Theology, in contrast, is more biased as its arguments are based on specific religious views, most of which are practically hard to prove. Theology pays more attention to the protestant and roman catholic, unlike religious studies that seek to understand the diversity in religion and its impact on people in different cultures.
We can see clearly that religion and theology are closely related disciplines. But looking at each subject independently shows you exactly how they overlap and their differences too. A clear distinction between these two disciplines is particularly crucial for anyone interested in studying either subject.