Research Objectives

In describing my research interests, I would first circumscribe them to the theoretical or conjectural realms. I would then specify that the core of my interest is metatheory, that is to say the investigation and analysis of theories, and the creation of theories about theories. The other major qualification of my research interests is, of course, that I am focused on religion and religious phenomena. I have chosen the field of religious studies because religion is, to me, the area where humans contemplate and address the most fundamental concerns about our existence, such as the meaning of life, the nature of ultimate reality, eschatological matters, etc. I am interested in religious phenomena insomuch as they seriously attempt to deal with these fundamental human concerns. Admittedly, not all religious phenomena are intended for such purposes, and so I consider it to be one of my principle tasks to select the appropriate phenomena to investigate in the first place.

I do also acknowledge that my interests, as I just described them, will differ from those of other researchers within the field of religious studies, such as perhaps historians or anthropologists of religion. While historical and anthropological data will be fundamentally important to my research, I will not make it my business to collect, organize and synthesize such data. I will leave this task to others who are more passionately involved with such methodological procedures. But I will be highly attentive to these researchers and their findings, as the data produced will constitute the basis of my work. As I am preoccupied with the modern spiritual predicament (the intense popularity of the “New Atheists” and a recent survey showing that “nones” – people claiming to have no religion – is the fastest growing “religious” tradition in the United States both appear to symptomize an ominous spiritual deficiency in today’s world), I will try to find derive insights from such findings that may be helpful in deciphering or uncovering humankind’s current spiritual status and direction. In the spirit of Michel Foucault’s genealogical approach to social science, I will consider it my duty to problematize certain existing assumptions about religion and religious phenomena, in an attempt to clear the way for innovative thought.

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