Answer the following questions, which correspond with your readings.
1. Why does Martin not begin by offering a definition of religion? Why, according to him, is it almost impossible to provide a definition of religion that fits with the colloquial use of the term?
2. According to Martin, why is it a problem to use our modern term “religion” to refer to pre-modern beliefs and practices? How has the term “religion” (or “religious”) changed over time?
3. According to Martin, in what ways has the study of “religion” been influence by the “Christian ideal”? What are the problems with this approach?
4. According to Herling, what makes the study of religion pressing and/or necessary in our world today? Make sure to reference pertinent examples, as these appear on the international scene.
5. What religious type are you? Provide a brief description of your religious (or non-religious) background and perspective. How do you think this influences your views on religion?
6. Discuss the phenomenological and hermeneutical procedures in the study of religion, as outlined by Herling. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
7. According to Herling, why is comparison important generally and in the study of religion? Provide two examples of productive comparisons.
8. According to Herling, what is defamiliarization? Why is it important in the study of religion?
9. According to Herling, why is empathy important in the study of religion? What are some of the barriers to the empathetic imagination, especially when it comes to bridging the gap between the academic observer and religious people?
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