Academic Study of Religion
Prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina
The Challenges of Academic Study of Religion
The academic study of religion is very challenging task because religion is a complex phenomenon. Thus, the study of religion varies based on different disciplines and approaches. Some studies are broad and comprehensive while some are narrow and exclusionary. There is a wide-range of study methodology in various ways. So, each study method can be viewed as a way of understanding, seeing and interpreting the multidimensional meaning and practice of religion. In addition, the academic study of religion rests on the basic distinction between studying about religion as a field of inquiry and being religious or a religious practitioner.
The mentioned challenges and complexity of studying religion force scholars to develop some fundamental principles to study religion in objective and independent ways. Thus, I think that the task of scholar studying religion is not simply to judge religions or to test the truth or falseness of any belief system, but to attempt to understand and explain the complex reality of religion or belief systems. In addition, the job of scholars studying religion is not to take an ideological or one-side a position to look at religion, but their job primarily is to evaluate the arguments of any specific position and its validity and evidences. Thus, scholars should keep their academic neutrality in their research and analysis.
The use of the appropriate language in research is essential to produce acceptable work in academy. Scholarly and carefully crafted research always improves the accessibility of any research for the larger audience. In this sense, academicians must avoid from...
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...s to describe the combination of worldview and ethos as the system of symbols. For instance, an obviously religious symbol, the Christian Cross, Star and Crescent, and Star of David can provide various meanings and moods for a believer around the nature of social reality and the way he or she lives. In addition, these symbols not only suggest a model of the world, but they also propose a model for the world. As a result, religion not only creates intense feelings but also establishes a cosmology that satisfies one’s intellectual and existential needs for reasonable explanations (Roberts and Yamane 2015: 8). As a result, all definitions types have some kind of explanatory power to understand the complex social reality of religion. In the next section, I will take a broader perspective to show how major sociological theories have treated the phenomenon of religion.
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