18. Unintentionally Constructing ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Religions in Teaching Classical European Social Theories at a Japanese University
Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion - Leslie Dorrough Smith
Mitsutoshi Horii [+]
This essay on teaching in the context of a Japanese university demonstrates that colloquial definitions of religion that are common in Japan make it very difficult for Japanese students to avoid categorizing religions as “good” and “bad,” particularly when they are learning about classical sociological theories of religion. The author argues that because such theories make Western presumptions about religion’s nature that are quite different from traditional Japanese conceptualizations of the concept, the use of the term “religion” is virtually meaningless in this setting.