We interrupt this blog….
to introduce Your Dear Author’s other blogging platform: Electric Genizah (the Sacred and the Profane Walk Into a Bar….). In addition to being a passionate devotee of poetry (and rather secretive producer of such art), I’m a student/scholar of religion (Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity, current graduate student in Comparative Religion and South Asian Languages and Lit, for the curious). My blog on religion/religious studies has now gone live, so do take a look if you have any interest or morbid curiosity toward such matters.
My first post Why study religion? or Beyond Terrorists and Stained Glass Windows discusses some of the reasons to study religion as an academic discipline:
Telling someone that you study religion – academically, professionally – tends to provoke questions and sometimes strong reactions. When I was an undergraduate studying religion at the very secular University of Washington, someone (a Linguistics grad student, if I recall correctly) asked me incredulously why I would study religion, of all things. Living in Seattle, the realm of many a None or devoutly Spiritual-Not-Religious type, I often received befuddled or antagonistic responses to my preoccupation with religious matters. I was prepared for this. So I replied rather breezily that I found religion interesting as it contained some of the greatest heights of human thought as well as some serious trainwrecks of human thought and behavior.
The Ostensible Linguist drew himself up to his full height, eyed me through his hipster glasses, and snorted in disdain. “Greatest thoughts? You mean endless mediocrity and the death of the imagination!”
I’ll be the first to admit that religion has a problematic track record. There are the Crusades, the medieval blood libel, the Catholic sexual abuse scandals, just to draw a few well-worn examples. We need not and should not sweep such things under the carpet. Yet, to jump from this to the conclusion religion is not only wrong and wrongheaded, but that it is a) dull, b) irrelevant, and c) not a fitting object of study in the modern (semi-secular!) world seems to me to be utterly missing the point…
Read more here