Theology Personal Statement Example 3

Nietzsche said that “in heaven all the interesting people are missing”. Until the age of sixteen I was educated in the Catholic school system. I always loved RE and the opportunities for exploring the big questions it offered, but struggled with the limits of the syllabus. A-level Philosophy has opened my mind to a multitude of new perspectives, epitomised by Nietzsche’s provocative statement.

The idea he presents, that Christian morality does not allow for ambition and experience, made me question my understanding of personal morality. His hypotheses raise critical issues, and I feel that it is now the task of modern religion to re-establish the role of the noumenal in our increasingly phenomenal world.

Although it has been the study of Philosophy that has allowed me to develop my interest in these questions, I believe that Theology is the discipline best suited to further expand my understanding. While I have found the analytical elements of Philosophy interesting, in my studies I have found myself gravitating towards questions of religion and ethics: What is the nature ‘good’ and ‘evil’? Do we owe duty to anyone but ourselves? How is it that we can conceive of beauty? Is there a God, and does he care at all?

I particularly love studying the history of ideas, and find the best way to approach a problem is with the insight given by past thinkers. I believe that ideas are not something that can be studied in a laboratory, independent of context. Religion, moreover, is such a constant factor that the only way to understand any culture and its core beliefs is to understand its myths and its gods.

My college this year has given a limited number of people the opportunity to undertake an extended project. My proposal for an in-depth study of St. Augustine’s Confessions was one of those accepted.

I have enjoyed all my AS subjects. From my study of English Literature I have learnt to deconstruct a text and to hold competing interpretations simultaneously in my mind. History has taught me how to evaluate sources and support arguments with evidence. Studying theatre has given me confidence in my capacity for creative thought. Philosophy has given me a firm analytical and logical basis for evaluating and developing arguments.

I am fascinated by classical language and etymology, although I have not had the opportunity to practice these at my college. To pursue my interest I have taken a beginner’s course in Italian this year and have begun private lessons in Latin. I have also been fortunate enough to experience extensive travel, which has fed my interest in history, culture and language, and I would like to be able at some stage to study abroad.

I am an avid reader, and have recently taken a particular interest in the work of Plato, Lucretius and Confucius as well as that of Descartes, Machiavelli and Nietzsche.

Although I have found introductory texts helpful in directing my studies, I find myself far more engaged with the philosopher’s ideas when I read the original work; studying a work in its entirety gives an understanding of where the argument has come from and how it developed in the philosopher’s mind.

When seeking lighter reading my tastes range from the historical novels of Scott and Manfredi to the fantasy of Pratchett, to the poetry of Neruda and Hughes. I take an interest in current affairs and regularly read the Guardian as well as the Times Higher Ed. I have been selected to compete in the national Debating Matters competition, which I see as a practical opportunity to develop my skills in argument and logic, and satisfy my competitive streak.

After completing my degree I would like to continue my studies, working towards an academic career. It is my ambition to be able to contribute significantly to my discipline and to our understanding of the world. I look forward not only to studying Theology but also to studying alongside some truly ‘interesting’ people.

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Offers from hommerton college cambridge, glasgow, lancaster, nottingham.

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