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Should the study of religion be left to religious people Write an essay of not more than 1200 words Assuming that religion here has the same meaning as one of the definitions referred to in O U Block 4 Unit 14 and in particular is an activity caught by Ninian Smarts The Nature of Religion A5 Resource Book 3 we still need to know what is meant by religious people before we can properly answer the question posed for this essay By religious people presumably the question is not referring to theologians but ordinary people who follow a particular religion If that is the case then it is felt that the study of religion should be left to religious people However this is not without its problems One of the problems in leaving the study of religion to religious people is in determining whether they will be objective Will a Christian when studying say Islamic Fundamentalism be prejudiced in favour of his own faith or will he treat the Islamic religion impartially Until the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century Christians referred to for instance Judaism as being false or devilish It was only after the Enlightenment that Europeans gave names to religions other than those found on the continent and although these were European inventions they were not always right For example according to Bill Heilbronn an authority on Hinduism Hinduism was wrongly named and should have correctly been referred to as the Vedic religion It could be argued that non religious scholars are better placed to study religion They are usually analytical dispassionate and because they have no affinity to one particular or indeed any religion can study religion without fear of being accused of prejudice or bias But what happens when they come up against so called miracles will they remain dispassionate Take the case of the woman who became pregnant and gave birth after having received a liver
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