Are Religious Scholars believers?
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04-11-2014, 01:31 PM
Are Religious Scholars believers?
I've read some threads where "religious scholars" are mentioned.
I'd like to know if they have to be believers or belong to some religious institution to be called "religious scholar".

Also, can an atheist be a "religious scholar"? I find this contradictory. It sounds like "spiderman scholars". It makes little sense to me.

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04-11-2014, 01:36 PM
RE: Are Religious Scholars believers?
I was always under the impression that a religious scholar is just someone who studies and has a deep understanding of whatever religion. I don't need to believe in Spider-Man to know every about him and his world.
But I could be wrong...
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04-11-2014, 01:42 PM
RE: Are Religious Scholars believers?
(04-11-2014 01:31 PM)KVron Wrote:  I've read some threads where "religious scholars" are mentioned.
I'd like to know if they have to be believers or belong to some religious institution to be called "religious scholar".

Also, can an atheist be a "religious scholar"? I find this contradictory. It sounds like "spiderman scholars". It makes little sense to me.

The way I usually hear that term used is to describe someone who has an advanced degree studying a particular religion. They often are employed by (or graduates from) religious schools and many (if not most) are religious, but that is not always the case. For instance, Hector Avalos is a religious scholar (or, more specifically, a Bible scholar) who is an atheist and teaches biblical studies courses at Iowa State.

I'm just thinking out loud.
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04-11-2014, 01:48 PM
RE: Are Religious Scholars believers?
(04-11-2014 01:31 PM)KVron Wrote:  I've read some threads where "religious scholars" are mentioned.
I'd like to know if they have to be believers or belong to some religious institution to be called "religious scholar".

Also, can an atheist be a "religious scholar"? I find this contradictory. It sounds like "spiderman scholars". It makes little sense to me.

No a religious scholar is a scholar who studies religion. In fact NOT being religious is helpful I find.

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04-11-2014, 01:53 PM
RE: Are Religious Scholars believers?
(04-11-2014 01:31 PM)KVron Wrote:  I've read some threads where "religious scholars" are mentioned.
I'd like to know if they have to be believers or belong to some religious institution to be called "religious scholar".

Also, can an atheist be a "religious scholar"? I find this contradictory. It sounds like "spiderman scholars". It makes little sense to me.

Most biblical historians and scholars tend to be believers, as they are trying to substantiate or defend their faith to no avail. The funny thing is when they have to present the info as it comes available, and must sell the "faith" as the underlying important aspect of religion, as the evidence indicates their religion is.......a fabrication. Which is why I use so many Xtian sources and books as my hammer when slaying Xtians in debate. They can wave aside an atheist saying something, but their own people saying it makes a powerful weapon. Like the fact that no one who writes of jesus knew him, and that the gospels were not written by whom they thought. In all of my theology classes I took, they don't even try to defend that, it is generally accepted now as you can't dismiss evidence that proves that. They just choose to not bring it up unless there happens to be a friendly atheist in the class like me *beams* who thoughtfully brings it up.

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"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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07-11-2014, 05:55 PM (This post was last modified: 07-11-2014 06:01 PM by Gaest.)
RE: Are Religious Scholars believers?
Scholars of religious studies are not especially religious compared to scholars in so many other fields - in my experience - some fields have a little more religious people some have a little less of course.
Besides, they are as capable of compartmentalizing and being scholarly sound as much as religious researchers from other fields.
Outside of that quite a lot - probably most - of the studies on cognitive science in relation to religion are done by people with a background in religious studies.

Unless, of course, they are from crackpot schools - such as Liberty University - that the rest of the academic world doesn't really take too seriously.

Everybody has agendas, and if a scholar tries to advance unsound research he will be called out on it - whether or not he does it for religious reasons.

To be quite frank I would like to see a few more scholars of religion in some of the public debates on religion that are out there, since both among the theist and the atheist public debaters I quite often see misconceptions and unnuanced views on what actually constitutes religion, the multitude of religions and expressions of them that we see in the world, and how religion plays together with the wider society as a social and cultural product...

While a lot of biblical- and church history has traditionally been done by theologians and therefore tended to be somewhat biased it has improved massively - at least in North-West Europe - as these education and research traditions have been pressured/influenced by a wider academic community demanding sound, reliable research.

I don't know much about the situation outside of Europe, but I doubt that most biblical scholars from proper universities are cut from the same cloth as those form Liberty...
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07-11-2014, 06:05 PM (This post was last modified: 08-11-2014 12:20 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Are Religious Scholars believers?
Um, I'm not outing anyone, but all I can say is I know some, (actually a surprising number) who are not believers, but basically think academic integrity means their students have to make up their own minds without them forcing their opinions on them, or "leading" them. Also you'd have to corner many with a few probing questions, about what exactly "belief" means as some have some interesting views that are not easily classifiable in traditional boxes. Some (in the liberal bastions) have fairly "philosophical" approaches to various topics. Some are surprisingly still very much "believers", some are quiet atheists/humanists.

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08-11-2014, 09:09 AM
RE: Are Religious Scholars believers?
Although the vast majority start their studies as believers, many of them tend to lose their beliefs as they become more educated, whether they admit it or not.

Many of the atheists here are very well educated in religious studies with the only quality lacking as being proficient in Latin or ancient Greek. Not that it really matters because the modern age provides many excellent software translators.

A good solid education tends to shatter religious beliefs, and that is why most of us atheists always say, "I am an atheist because I read the Bible."

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