When Studying and Discussing Social Sciences and Humanities

When Studying and Discussing Social Sciences and Humanities

It’s really hard to separate fact from feeling. If you have faith and want to study religion, it’s hard to see where your understanding and emotion fit into others, or even if they do.

There are common patterns that are often looked at that practitioners of that faith have trouble distancing themselves from to look at as an academic discussion.

Like the harder topics of war and slavery. But the religions have all tried to build empires, they have all had extremist factions and hierarchies within the faith. The pattern of owning slaves is to kick their slaves, chain and torture them and leave them without food and water. To rape the women, assimilate the children and kill the men.

When a splinter faction gets upset with the enemy or even their own authority, they do things to harm the chain of command. These days that resistance would look like bombs, but that’s only a matter of what weapons were used, not the anger and resistance they felt or the attempts to kill those they disagreed with.

It’s harder to reconcile that when it’s your own, if you feel marginalized, or if you don’t know the larger context around human history. And you’re more inclined to see the study as problematic, even bigoted against your group.

But is it?

If the person studying that culture or faith can run a cross-cultural analysis of the same patterns, then it probably isn’t.

Some people find that harder to grasp than others though. And they feel harmed by this kind of study. Or even a similar lay discussion. It has caused rifts between friends and family, between colleagues who are trying to do the work.

These topics are sensitive, and obviously, it’s hard to deal with. So some methods are better not used. For eg I can’t seen case studies on their own being tolerated well.

But don’t you think these studies have to be done? How do we ever intend to achieve understanding of each other and peace between each other if we can’t even calmly look at the topics and discuss them?

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