Religious studies at Atheism Wiki
You several times accused me of being dishonest at other websites. I found that criticism unfair as I try to keep what I write accurate. In the interest of honesty and accuracy I’ve decided to draw your attention to an article I wrote at Atheism Wiki today. It's Religious studies. Is it accurate? Please answer tactfully.
Right from the start, you jump in with judgement - a judgement I don't think came from anything you have read, but rather from something you just sorta pull out of your head. Virtually no religious studies departments, at least here in the states, are theologically bent, nor do they have faith based issues. You walk into them being told from the first, that if you are religious, this is likely not the place for you, cause we will look at all religion as man made, and as equally "truthful" in the sense that philo is "truthful". there is no capital T Truth studied in Religious Studies.
We tend to rip the crap out of holy books, especially the bible, since that is wha tmost people are interested in. We look at religion as a way to help people in times of struggle, but equally a way to control people.
The vast majority of PhDs teaching religious studies are atheists or agnostics. As you and I both have said, something about looking at all religions as equal, as man made, and actually searching the history of holy texts tends to make people highly dubious of any kind of transcendent god. I do have quite a few friends that are extreme god of the gap types "I cannot totally give up my view of god, but i'm going to push it all teh way back to 'the thing that started the big bang".
I'm also dubious of your view of "accomidists". we tend to be realists. There is good in religion. but there has been tons of "bad". we address both sides.
"Atheists who strongly oppose" actually would fit into Chicgo, colorado, UCLA, UC Berkley, Oxford and Harvard to name places I have atheist friends. Again, it is an academic disclpine. and we are highly critical of looking at it from any other point of view. to the extent we can, we want to be quasi (or "soft") scientific. we want to make statements supported by evidence, and challenged.
Virtually NO ONE would oppose you, as an atheist, in a RLST program. they are totally different from theogly.
one thing you CAN mention, though is that most RLST programs do encourage you to take some theology. but trust me, we all know what we are getting into, and are ready to laugh. ;-)
Seconded. By and large you will find more theists in philosophy than you will in RLST. This is anecdotal, but you'll also likely find fewer theistic students in RLST as well, since theists who want to study religion are much more likely to go into theology. I had a number of classmates as an undergrad who made the mistake of taking RLST courses thinking they would be theology and ended up getting really really upset when professors started making claims like "Christian worship is essentially folk magic."
Thirded. And fundamentalists tend to stay away from or get broken by theology courses as well to the best of my knowledge - any good course will go into details like the Documentary Hypothesis (I believe that researching 'JEPD' with no explanation given is a first week excercise on the Oxford University course). If you want a bad course, you need to look at the institutions - I don't care whether it's Theology, Religious Studies, or Bible Studies (although I believe the bad ones are more likely to offer the latter), a decent academic university is likely to offer a good course that is subversive to most forms of fundamentalism as it provides context. On the other hand a course at somewhere like Liberty University or Bob Jones University is likely to encourage fundamentalism, no matter what the course name.
Though the question is then how much is really "theology", and not better described as "history" or "sociology" but with a specific focus on religion(s). Mostly the problem is because the t-word is a bit stained and tainted thanks to its association with Bob-Jones-style theology.