Academics at the University of Stirling, and the beliefs and values think-tank Ekklesia, have teamed up to promote a new research agenda and blog entitled Critical Religion, which aims to put hot topics under a careful spotlight.
With the 'Critical Religion' agenda and blog, says Michael Marten, the intention is to question the category of 'religion' - but then, rather than just holding it to suspicion, or blame, or discredit, or incredulity – a growing tendency among certain public intellectuals, even if against the tide of global demographics – to examine the issues involved from a positive critical standpoint.
Sensible discussion about the role of different beliefs in the public square is frequently skewed by the reluctance or inability of the more ideologically-driven participants to listen properly to what is actually being said.
There is little if anything that is straightforward or indeed ‘natural’ about the body, says Alison Jasper. It is a cultural canvas constructed through metaphors and a physical one preyed on by the idea that ‘more surgery will make me better somehow’.
The assumption that there is some essential distinction between 'religious' and 'non-religious' domains – which is still today a globalising discourse – is an ideological construct which takes on an appearance of naturalness and inevitability, says Timothy Fitzgerald. When such generalised assumptions are taken into the field of international relations they cause further difficulties.
The colonial rule of the Spanish in the Andes was repressive, says Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar. But the contemporary worldview of the Quechua people shows that the decision of the European rulers to use the native languages to teach the indigenous peoples the new faith influenced how those people managed old and new concepts.
Critical Religion - a new research venture at the University of Stirling, with which Ekklesia will be cooperating - is hosting a one-day postgraduate recruitment conference to attract students interested in research at Master’s and PhD level.