Make sure to read the lesson this week to learn about etic and emic perspectives so that you can appropriately apply them in this assignment. In an essay, apply the etic and emic perspectives to your own religion or a religion with which you have some familiarity. Make sure that you are using at least one source for each approach and include citations from the assigned readings and additional scholarly sources. Click on the following link to view an example:


The study of religion requires an understanding of different perspectives in order to fully comprehend the complexities and nuances of religious beliefs and practices. Two such perspectives are the etic and emic approaches. The etic perspective involves an external or outsider’s viewpoint, while the emic perspective involves an internal or insider’s viewpoint. In this essay, I will apply both the etic and emic perspectives to my own religion, Christianity, in order to gain a deeper understanding of its beliefs, practices, and cultural significance.

Etic Perspective on Christianity

The etic perspective on Christianity involves studying the religion from an objective standpoint, examining it as an outsider would. This approach allows for the analysis of Christianity’s universal aspects, its historical development, and its societal impact. Scholars studying Christianity from an etic perspective would focus on comparative religions, tracing the origins and evolution of Christian beliefs and practices, and analyzing the religion’s influence on various cultures and societies.

One influential etic source that sheds light on Christianity is The Oxford Handbook of World Religions, which provides a comprehensive overview of various religious traditions, including Christianity. This source offers an objective analysis of Christian beliefs, practices, doctrines, and their historical development. It examines Christianity in the context of other major world religions, allowing for comparative analysis and a broader understanding of its universal elements.

Additionally, an etic perspective would also consider the social and political implications of Christianity. For example, scholars might examine the role of Christianity in the colonization of Africa or its influence on the formation of Western legal systems. These analyses provide a broader understanding of the religion’s impact on societies and cultures throughout history.

Emic Perspective on Christianity

In contrast, the emic perspective on Christianity involves studying the religion from an insider’s viewpoint, focusing on the beliefs, practices, and experiences of its adherents. This approach allows for a deeper understanding of the subjective aspects of Christianity, including its spiritual significance, personal devotion, and cultural expressions.

To gain an emic perspective on Christianity, one must examine sources that provide insight into the personal experiences and beliefs of Christian individuals. For example, autobiographies or personal testimonies of Christian believers offer valuable insights into their understanding of God, their relationship with Jesus Christ, and the transformative power of their faith.

Another source that provides an emic perspective on Christianity is Theology of the People: Biblical Theology for the Ordinary Layperson. This text explores the theology of everyday individuals and their experiences of God within the context of their daily lives. By examining the beliefs and experiences of ordinary Christians, scholars can gain a deeper understanding of the personal meaning and spiritual significance of Christianity.

The emic perspective also incorporates the examination of religious rituals, symbols, and traditions. Researchers would analyze the sacraments, prayers, worship practices, and other rituals within Christian communities to understand their significance and the role they play in fostering religious identity and communal belonging.

Furthermore, the emic approach recognizes the diversity within Christianity itself and explores the different denominations, sects, and interpretations that exist. By studying the unique beliefs, rituals, and practices of different Christian groups, researchers can gain a more nuanced understanding of the religion and its various expressions.


In conclusion, applying the etic and emic perspectives to the study of Christianity allows for a comprehensive understanding of the religion’s universal aspects as well as its subjective experiences. The etic perspective provides insights into the historical and societal impact of Christianity, while the emic perspective explores the personal beliefs, practices, and experiences of Christian individuals. By utilizing both perspectives, scholars can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities and significance of Christianity as a religious tradition.