Religious Studies Department presents:
On the Job of Not Practicing What I Teach. Some Personal Reflections on Religion, Academia, and the Evil Atheist Conspiracy
Presenter: Prof. James Linville (RELS Department)
Day/Date: Tuesday, March 27th
Time: 7:00 p.m.
The secular, academic study of religion has always been controversial but also badly misunderstood. On the one hand, people typically think that Religious Studies trains people for the clergy and that such courses reinforce a faith's essential doctrines and teachings. Believers frequently see academic studies that challenge religious truths as illegitimate, misguided, and deliberately antagonistic. Indeed, they are often perceived as part of a secularist conspiracy against religion.
While maintaining that Religious and Biblical Studies cannot serve the interests of the Church and Synagogue, Prof. Linville argues these disciplines should not be regarded as an instrument of the so-called New Atheist Movement. Instead, Linville argues that Religious Studies has a rather different agenda and can often challenge the portrayal of religion and different religions in the popular atheist literature.
Through stories and personal reflection, Prof. Linville highlights what can be gained through taking a more sophisticated outsider's perspective on religion and religions and suggests that secular courses in world religions be mandatory parts of school curricula in Alberta. Prof. Linville argues that, while our highly pluralistic society is founded on principles of freedom of speech and religion, we are wrong to mistake this as a freedom to control or limit speech one encounters about religion, especially in educational contexts.
Refreshments provided. Everyone welcome.
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