College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Philosophy and Religion

"When classroom studies intersect with real life, the most educational experiences can take place.

Matt KelleyI double majored in Religion and Political Science at Butler, and the joke among my friends was that my studies were "unconstitutional", since church and state are supposed to be separate. 

That changed at the beginning of my junior year, on September 11, 2001.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, people were suddenly interested in questions of theology, different cultures, and how nation states relate to one another. Was all this destruction and death the will of God? There are a billion Muslims in the world- do they all hate America, or is al Queda a fringe group? Is going to war in the Middle East the best way to keep us safe at home?

My professors at Butler didn't teach me the answers to these questions. They gave me a much more valuable gift. They taught me how to begin exploring these questions in sympathetic and critical ways, and to see how any answers we arrive at always lead us to even better, deeper questions.

This became incredibly important as I entered into local church ministry, attempting to lead an institution that is deeply rooted in cultural forms that are largely fading from the scene, and to adapt to a very new world with new questions and new challenges. Neatly packaged answers and flimsy certainties will not sustain us. Only "faith seeking understanding" (as St. Anselm defined the pursuit of theology) will lead us forward.

The Religious Studies program at Butler University gives the opportunity to encounter many different expressions of truth, the opportunity form relationships with people we would not otherwise interact with, and in that exploration to find deeper meaning within our own tradition. Every student who has taken even one class in the program is a better human being for having done so, and you will be, too."


- Rev. Matthew L. Kelley has a BA in Religion and Political Science from Butler University, a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry from Candler School of Theology. He is an ordained Elder in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church and currently serves as Lead Pastor of Arlington United Methodist Church in Nashville TN. Matt has written for a wide variety of print and online publications. He blogs at