I practice the academic study of religion, and I teach students what that field of study looks like, and how it operates. Some students think the academic study of religion is anti-religious. It is true that some students are threatened and offended by the academic study of religion, but that is not the goal of the academic study of religion. At its core, the academic study of religion seeks to function like the academic study of... well, you name it: Literature, Culture, History, Linguistics, Politics, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, and so on. These subjects all used to assume the reality and creative superiority of God, and thus they were all once "theological" enterprises. But they are no longer, and few people are outraged at the prospect of these fields of study functioning without a theological foundation or motivation. The academic study of religion alligns itself with other academic disciplines: one can -- and must! -- study religion without assuming the reality and creative superiority of God. Religion, like culture (how we dress, what we eat, etc), kinship (how families are structured, who we can marry, etc.), gender (how men and women should behave, etc), are examples of phenomena than can be fruitfully studied as if they are human inventions, and human constructions (because they are!). We study these phenomena, and religion, analytically, discursively, objectively (to the extent that is possible), and inter-disciplinarily, using all the academic tool and intellectual advances at our disposal to understand this incredibly rich and complex concept that people call religion.
Here are the courses in which I do that.
RELI 1010 (Language Tutorial - Biblical Hebrew)
RELI 1012 (Introduction to Biblical Greek)
RELI 1710 (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam)
RELI 2220 (Early Christianity)
RELI 3230 (Jesus of Nazareth)
RELI 3231 (Paul of Tarsus)
RELI 4850 (Social World of the Ancient Mediterranean)
RELI 5780 (Graduate Reasearch Methods)
I have also directed 6 honours theses and 4 masters research projects.