eurocentric religion is not all religion

I reject Eurocentrism. That includes foundationalism, essentialism, and dogmatism and I am personally neither with respect to Christianity, either as a theological and philosophical subject or as a personal faith matter. Thus myself and many Christians and frankly, those of many other faiths, are living contradictions to the proposition that you must adhere to those philosophical ideas to BE religious. There are forms of Christianity that WOULD fit definition within such rubrics, but also many which would not (Asian and Afrikan and other non European, non-Romanist Christian denominations and sects come to mind). I personally abhor THAT kind of religion and have never practiced it or endorsed it and a lot of my own scholarly work has been debating whether that stuff qualifies as religion, or in the Christian case, as Christianity as all. The so-called evangelical and religious right movement in the US is characterized by that, but they are not really representative of global Christianities writ large. Sometimes people errantly attempt to analyze Christianity or religion with their particular cultural, personal, or national experience with it or with individual adherents thereof and that always leads to errant generalization.

To say that one particular type of religion is ALL religion is provably errant and rather obviously, even in common sense, understood to be generalization. We normally use the term stereotypes, which are more often driven by the ideological biases of the speakers, with regard to the subject, rather than by in depth scholarly inquiry.

The logic here is the same as say, those Christians and others who equate Islam or jihad in general with every Muslim, or every act of violence that happens to be committed by a person identifying as Muslim, as if Islam is monolithic, as if that dimension of a person’s life in Islam is the sole motivational variable, as if terrorism is the traditional Quranic rendering of jihad (it isn’t). Those who engage this and other such discourse about religion are generalizing and stereotyping and for ideological effect and unfortunately material as well, as it is generating real human deaths on all sides and a great deal of bigotry and prejudice against Islam and Muslims disguised in the US milieu as real religious analysis. So too, those who seek a discourse against Christianity tend to drag out the particularistic trope of the US “right” and claim that is Christianity the faith writ large, its teachings, and its character without exception.

The white supremacist ideologue who says that all “blacks” are criminals has obviously not done any scholarly analysis since any real analysis would establish in seconds that all COULD not be, yet that is not their objective. Their objective is using the generalizations to stigmatize the collective group, in this case, saying all religion is universally “x” is ideologically motivated to push something about religion since all religions are not the same, none are monolithic and all have historically evolved. Real scholarship shatters the Eurocentric idea of universal objective definitions in and with respect to religion as much as in other matters.


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