Book: Fabricating Difference
Chapter: 7. ISIS: What’s a Poor Religionist to Do?
This chapter exposes the continued and pervasive Protestant assumption endemic to the academic study of religion. It uses ISIS as a way to show the way in which the rhetoric of authenticity/inauthenticity function in the field, describing how groups like ISIS undermine what we believe or have been told to believe religion is (e.g., internal, spiritual, positive, and as something that is supposed to do good in the world). The result is that we have largely written such groups off as somehow not religious, irreligious, or even areligious. Instead of this, we need to use groups such as ISIS to rethink our traditionally liberal paradigms for studying religion.