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Religious Studies Approaches

  • Date Submitted: 12/02/2012 10:46 PM
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EUGENE CHEN
PHIL-112-01Intro to Western Religions
Religious Studies Approaches
All religion has to do with fundamental human issues and concerns such as: Who are we? Why are we here? Why is the world created? What is the meaning of life and how is it fulfilling? Indeed, there are many aspect that does not necessarily have be looked at in a religious way. But religion is one of the dimensions, a way to explore the human practice and culture around the world.
There are two general approaches for the study of religion:
  1. One is to analyze and study religions as an outsider which involves observing, describing , evaluating, organizing, and interpreting the religious data from the outside perspective. Researchers use methods and disciplines of the others social sciences to develope theories that explain the religious practices and the functions they fulfill in people‚Äôs lives.
  2. Another one takes the looking of particular religion. That is they take close attention to what the people themselves say about the meaning and purpose of their religious practices. They attempt to prevent explaining them in terms of cause or function. Scholar adopt this approach tend to focus on meaning, value, and expectation express by the people themselves.
There are scholars stand on both sides arguing the means for studying religion. However, both approaches are important and can contribute to our overall understanding for religions, giving us a clear picture from the inside and outside.
The main goal for religious study is understanding religions. Though we might have our own religious traditions and believes, we should try to put ourselves at the position of an outsider to look at different religions in an objective manners. It is important that we consciously giving deep respect to the religious traditions of others. In this way, we might understand different religions better in on their stand.
Understanding religions does arise from comparison. And so it is always a...

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