Religious Studies as Social Science
With some degree of relativism, every human being is prejudice. Especially when encountered with individuals with varying degree of social, political, and most importantly religious norms that diverges from our private normative traditions. You and I, make assuming about those around us based on very little information. to serve my purpose I shall give a personal and recent example. Just yesterday I had the good pleasure of getting acquainted with My religious studies professor for my paul of Tarsus course this Fall, His name is C.J. Schmidt, after exchanging pleasantries, I asked him regarding his pursuit on his current occupation as religious study professor at the University of Houston. As he gave an explanation, I anticipated a response related to Judaism or at the very least Christianity, to confirm my prejudice. As soon as he made a reference to Judaism. I went in for the kill, I sharply interpreted him to confirm my suspicions to which I asked if he was Jewish! You see, I have met a few Jewish individuals with the last name Schmidt and other personalities in biographies with such name. Overall I was eager to Entertain the possibility of a Jewish professor teaching on the life of Paul of Tarsus due to my fascination with the Torah. As you can probably tell, his response did not meet my prejudice. professor Schmidt kindly educated me on this little poor exercise of judgment. As it turns out, Schmidt is a common German name that many Jewish families in the 19 and 20th centuries have acquired by proxy. I embarrassed to say a quick assumption on very little information. Although, while living in the most diverse nation on the planets has its benefits it also has its challenges. If you live in Houston today, you are more likely to meet a Muslim, an Atheist, a Hindu, and Christian while walking your dog in Herman Park as opposed to just 70 years at the same location. While individuals of different cultures, traditions, and religions are living in close quarters and working together. It is now of great importance to be educated on the comparative religions and the social effects they have on individuals from the anthropological perspective. This would effectively reduce our involuntary surrender to our basic uninformed default prejudicious nature. It is also important to distinguish between the Theological approach of the study of religion from the Anthropological. Religious studies as a social science is not an Enterprise that accesses the Truth claim of the religious principle in world religions. Religious study is simply the comparative study of the historical, sociological phenomena that influence individuals and society as a whole.