It’s commonplace in academic religious studies to take a “phenomenological” approach to the study of religion.

This is an example:

The academic study of religion requires the courage and compassion to empathetically understand the diverse worldviews of others and the willingness to learn from each. Its goal is not to show one religion is ‘right’ and all others ‘wrong,’ but rather to show what humans have found compelling in each and how each tradition has shaped history. The task in the study of world religions today is to overcome stereotypes and glimpse the wisdom found in each of these traditions (Esposito et al., 7)

Students of religion can be amicable and accommodating and appreciative.

But I keep coming back to a disturbing question: How is this approach different from saying, frankly, that the religions are irrelevant to actually knowing anything?

Because I am not convinced it is.


CITED: Esposito, John L., Fasching, Darrell J., and Lewis, Todd T. Religions of the West Today, 4th edition. Oxford UP, 2018.


sky seen through an overarching glass ceiling