A schoolmate of mine from undergrad commented to me that she believes what I’m doing here on this site is as kind of public theology. She said “anytime that you are considering questions of community and culture, with a lens on religion, you are asking and answering God questions….therefore, theology.” This sort of misconception is common, because most people do not understand what a person in the field of Religious Studies does. Therefore, it is the fate of those in my field to dispel such perceptions one person at a time.

To me, a critical difference between a religious scholar (theologian) and a scholar of religion (secular academic) is an interest or disinterest in supernatural forces (God, angels, devils, etc…). Theologians care about the supernatural and wish to understand the intentions of a supernatural force (God) that they worship. However, secular scholars, such as myself, have no interest in understanding the supernatural. Secular scholars in the field of Religious Studies are instead interested in the natural (human) intentions and behavior: specifically of those who would be categorized as ‘religious believers.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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