Why is it important to understand what motivates people to study religion?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is important for us to understand why people study religion so that we can be more likely to understand what their biases are.  All people who study anything in the social sciences have biases.  It is important for readers to be able to see through those biases and take them into account.

For example, it is possible that a person would study religion with the motive of debunking it.  Such a person would have a bias that would be much different from that of a person who is studying religion to gain a deeper understanding of God’s will.  Of course, both of these people have biases that will affect their work.  We must understand what their biases are so that we can know what aspects of what they write are likely to be affected by those biases.

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