Professor Roderick Ninian Smart (May 6, 1927 – January 29, 2001) was a Scottish writer and university educator. Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. He was a pioneer in the field of secular religious studies. Secularity ( adjective form secular) is the state of being separate from Religion. Religious studies, or Religious education, is the academic field of multi-disciplinary Secular study of religious beliefs behaviors and institutions In 1967, he established the first department of Religious Studies in the United Kingdom at the new University of Lancaster where he was also Pro-Vice Chancellor, having already chaired one of the largest and most prestigious departments of Theology in Britain at the University of Birmingham. Lancaster University (officially " The University of Lancaster " is a British University in Lancaster, Lancashire, The University of Birmingham (informally Birmingham University) is a British red brick University located in the city of Birmingham In 1976, he became the first J. F. Rowny Professor in the Comparative Study of Religions at University of California at Santa Barbara, , U.S. Smart presented the Gifford Lectures in 1979-80. The University of California Santa Barbara ( UCSB) is a selective research-oriented public university located on the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara County California The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The Gifford Lectures were established by the will of Adam Lord Gifford (died 1887) In 1996, he was named the Academic Senate’s Research Professor, the highest professorial rank at Santa Barbara. In 2000, he was elected President of the American Academy of Religion, while simultaneously retaining his status as President of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace. The American Academy of Religion is the world's largest association of Scholars in the field of Religious studies and related topics Smart held both titles at the time of his passing.
Smart became widely known outside the academy, at least in Britain, when he was editorial consultant for the major BBC television series, The Long Search (1977) while his The World’s Religions (1989) also reached a popular readership. His defense of religious studies as a secular discipline helped the formation of departments in many public universities, especially in the United States. He distanced religious studies from traditional theology in that evaluating truth claims and apology have no role but regarded investigation into the "truth and worth" of religion per se as a valid academic enterprise in the public arena of state funded education. Theology is the study of a god or the gods from a religious perspective A religion is a set of Tenets and practices often centered upon specific Supernatural and moral claims about Reality, the Cosmos 
Ninian Smart was born in Cambridge, England, where his father, William Marshall Smart (1889-1975) was the John Couch Adams Astronomer in the University of Cambridge. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland John Couch Adams ( June 5 1819 &ndash January 21, 1892) was a British Mathematician and Astronomer The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University) located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the His mother was Isabel (née Carswell). W. M Smart, who died in 1975, also served as President of the Royal Astronomical Society (1950). The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS is a Learned society that began as the Astronomical Society of London in 1820 to support astronomical research Both parents were Scottish. They moved to Glasgow in 1937, when W. M Smart became Regius Professor of Astronomy (retiring in 1959). The Regius Chair of Astronomy is a Regius Professorship in the University of Glasgow. Ninian was one of three brothers, all of whom became professors: J. J. C. Smart (born 1920) became a professor of philosophy; Alastair (1922-1992) was Professor of Art History at Nottingham University. John Jamieson Carswell "Jack" Smart AC (born 1920 often referred to as J The University of Nottingham is a Public, Co-educational institution of Higher learning in the city of Nottingham, England. Ninian Smart attended the Glasgow Academy before joining the military in 1945, serving until 1948, in the British Army Intelligence Corps where he learned Chinese (via Confucian texts) mainly at the London School of Oriental and African Studies and had his first extended contact with Sri Lankan Buddhism. Founded in 1845, The Glasgow Academy is the oldest fully independent school in Glasgow, Scotland. The Intelligence Corps (also known as Int Corps) is one of the Corps of the British Army. Confucianism ( is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of the fifth century B Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ( Sinhalese:, இலங்கை known as Ceylon before 1972 is an Island Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices It was this experience that roused him from what he called his "Western slumber with the call of diverse and noble cultures. " Leaving the army - as a Captain - with a scholarship to Queen’s College, University of Oxford, he reverted to his Glasgow major, Classics and Philosophy, mainly because Chinese and Oriental studies in those days had a "pathetic curricula. The University of Oxford (informally "Oxford University" or simply "Oxford" located in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England is the " However, for his B. Phil. work he returned to world religions, writing what he later described as "the first dissertation in Oxford on philosophy of religion after World War II. "
After teaching in the University of Wales from 1952 until 55, he spent a year as a visiting lecturer at Yale University, where he also studied Sanskrit and Pali, the language of the Buddhist scriptures. The University of Wales ( Prifysgol Cymru in Welsh) is a confederal University founded in 1893. Sanskrit (sa संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, for short sa संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam) is a historical Pali ( ISO 15919 / ALA-LC: Pāḷi is a Middle Indo-Aryan language or Prakrit of India. In 1956, he was appointed Lecturer in the University of London, then in 1961 at the very young age of 34 - extraordinarily young for a full chair in the British system - he became the first H. The University of London is a university based primarily in London, England, UK. G. Wood Professor of Theology at the Birmingham- one of the largest departments of theology, where he also served as head of department. The University of Birmingham (informally Birmingham University) is a British red brick University located in the city of Birmingham By now author of several publications, including Reasons and Faiths (1958), based on his B. Phil work and World Religions: A Dialogue (1960), Smart was a rising star in the newly developing field of Religious Studies, rather than in Theology, despite the name of the chair he occupied. Already known internationally, he received several offers to take up positions in North America, including as Chair of the Columbia and Pennsylvania Departments, and an invitation to apply for a chair at Oxford. However, he was already involved in a consultative capacity in forming the first major department of Religious Studies at the new Lancaster, and found himself "cajoled from being adviser to being candidate," that is, for the Chair. Lancaster University (officially " The University of Lancaster " is a British University in Lancaster, Lancashire, Despite the attraction of prestigious posts elsewhere, he chose Lancaster because it represented a "tabula rasa, a new field" where he could practice his ideas.  He took up appointment in 1967, as Foundation Professor of Religious Studies. His tenure at Birmingham had also done much to shift the department from an exclusive focus on Christianity to encompass world religions. Christianity ( Greek Χριστιανισμός from the word Xριστός ( Christ)is a monotheistic Religion centered on the life and teachings His successor at Birmingham, John Hick, would emerge as the most well known exponent of a pluralist theology of religions. Professor John Harwood Hick (born Yorkshire, England, 1922 is a philosopher of religion and theologian. Between 1969 and 1972, he was also Pro-Vice Chancellor at Lancaster. In 1977, Smart started to divide his time between Lancaster and another new venture, the Religious studies department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1976–98) where he became the first J. The University of California ( UC) is a Public university system in the state of California. F. Rowny Professor in the Comparative Study of Religions at Santa Barbara, from 1988 (he was a professor from 76). As at Birmingham and Lancaster, he was again also department chair. He spent six months each year at both campuses. In I996, he was named Research Professor at Santa Barbara, the highest academic honor. Toward the end of his career, he was elected President of the American Academy of Religion. Proud of his Scottish identity, he often wore his kilt on campus at Santa Barbara, where he was renowned for riding his bicycle very slowly, for "his bow ties and the ever-present flower in his lapel, and most of all the twinkle in his eye. "
He was also visiting professor at Varanasi in India, Yale, Wisconsin, Princeton, Queensland, and the respected Religious Studies department at Lampeter, in Hong Kong and elsewhere. Princeton University is a private Coeducational research university located in Princeton, New Jersey. The University of Queensland (UQ is one of Australia's premier learning and research institutions University of Wales Lampeter (Prifysgol Cymru Llanbedr Pont Steffan is a University Hong Kong ( officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is a territory located on China 's south coast on the Pearl River Delta, and borders Lectures delivered in Delhi were published as The Yogi and the Devotee (1968). In 1967, he presented the Heslington Lectures at the University of York, in which he set out his ideas about secular Religious Studies subsequently published as Secular Education and the Logic of Religion (1967), further developing these in his inaugural lecture at Lancaster, published as Concept and Empathy (1986). The University of York is a Campus university in the city of York, England. In 1979-80, he presented the prestigious Gifford Lectures. , published as Beyond Ideology (1981).
In addition to teaching, research, and writing, Smart was something of an activist in promoting improved cross-cultural understanding. In the 1970s, he was involved in several initiatives in Britain to broaden the public religious education curriculum, previously purely Christian, to include the range of world religions. He also served on the National Schools Council advising on broadening the religious education curriculum. The teaching of religion in the public school system in the United Kingdom, which is mandatory, distinguishes teaching about religion from faith-nurture, which is not properly part of the task. Smart was involved in the Assembly of the World's Religions series of meetings (1985, 1990, 1992) sponsored by Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification movement and served as President of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace. Sun Myung Moon (born January 6 1920) is the Korean founder and leader of the world-wide Unification Church and of the larger Unification The Unification Church is a New religious movement founded by Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. In 1999, he was co-convener of the First Assembly of the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace, established by Moon. Smart reiterated his conviction that without improved understanding of the religious and cultural Other, peace in the world would remain elusive. His concept of religions as worldviews, and his value-free approach to religious studies-that is, refraining from elevating a single understanding of "truth" as some sort of evaluative criterion of religious authenticity-opened up for him the study of non-religious ideologies or worldviews (he preferred this term because it does not imply that theism is an essential element) as well as of new religious movements, which he saw as one result of globalization. He also wrote the foreword for the Unification publication, World Scripture, edited by Andrew Wilson, in which he stated that, "it is obvious that as we move toward a world civilization, in which so many cultures and spiritual traditions will impinge on one another, all of us should understand one another. Andrew Wilson could refer to Andrew Wilson (actor (born 1964 US actor Andrew Wilson (footballer (1880-1945 Scottish footballer " Smart was a also a member of the International Board of the Global Ethics and Religion Forum, an educational, non-profit NGO dedicated to increasing global ethical responsibility. 
Smart received honorary doctorates from Loyola (1970), Glasgow (1984), Stirling (1986) University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka (1991), Lancaster (1995) and an Honorary Fellowship from Queen’s College, Oxford (1999). He was made a Life Member of the International Association for the History of Religion (1995).
In 1994, the volume Aspects of Religion, edited by Peter Masefield and Donald Wiebe, was published in his honor.
Smart officially retired from Lancaster in 1982 (he was an Honorary Professor 82-89, then a Professor Emeritus) and from Santa Barbara in 1998, but remained active as a professor emeritus in both Universities, living mainly in Lancaster, where he died in 2001, aged 73. Lancaster (pronounced ˈlæŋˌkæstə or ˈlænˌkæstə is a City in Lancashire, England.
Smart is mainly noted for his contribution in the area of methodology, although he saw his contribution as conceptual as well as methodological, commenting that while expertise in languages was not to be dismissed, it should not be "rated above conceptual insight. " Secular Religious Studies dates from the mid-1960s, when new departments were established, several in state Universities in the United States. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the At the time, it was only just beginning to earn academic recognition and Smart was a pivotal figure in this process and, as Cunningham comments, "it is difficult not to recall that the emergence of Religious Studies as a higher education subject was then controversial. "
Smart’s early work involved linguistic analysis, in which he had trained at Oxford. Later, he said that this came close to "cross-cultural study" but had stopped short, since he was still too captive to "our language" and "various assumptions of our culture. " However, when he came to publish this he included later conceptual ideas, expanding his dissertation. Interested in Rudolf Otto’s concept of the Holy as a key to understanding religion, he found this too restrictive, since Buddhism is non-theistic. Rudolf Otto ( September 25 1869 – 6 March 1937) was an eminent German Lutheran theologian and Scholar Instead, he suggested that religious experience can be either numinous or mystical. He was also influenced by R.C. Zaehner’s interest in mysticism, having consulted him at Oxford. Robert Charles Zaehner (1913 - 1974 was a British academic who specialised in Eastern religions. He then examined what he took as key religious concepts, such as revelation, faith, conversion and knowledge and analyzed what these meant in Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism without evaluating any belief in terms of truth or falsity. Christianity ( Greek Χριστιανισμός from the word Xριστός ( Christ)is a monotheistic Religion centered on the life and teachings Hinduism is a religious tradition that originated in the Indian subcontinent. He was consciously attempting to break out of aptivity to Western modes of thought so that for example theism is not taken as an essential component of religion, thus such ideas as theophany or a single ultimate focus or sacrifice do not necessarily translate from the Christian into other religious contexts. "She who knows but one religion knows none," said Smart.  Western concern for doctrine overlooked the importance of religious experience. Early in his career, he insisted that an ideology such as Marxism as well as nationalism and rationalism could be considered religious, because they resemble religious traditions in how they function, and therefore properly belong to Religious Studies, the subject matter of which was "non-finite. "
He situated Religious Studies in contrast to theology as agnostic on the truth of religious claims but he was critical of Peter Burger for "assuming the non-existence of God. " Religious Studies is, however, interested in why people believe that their religious statements or experience is true, thus while description is vital is must also "transcend the informative" and engage in dialogue with "the para-historical claims of religions and anti-religious outlooks. " It need not be hostile to the type of committed approach pursued in theology "provided it is open, and doe not artificially restrict understanding and choice. " It is not concerned with evangelizing but with elucidating understanding, or meaning. Religious Studies, too, has a vital role to play in combating tribalism, that is, human captivity to its own cultures.  Religious Studies as a non-confessional, methodologically agnostic discipline takes its place in the secular academy, where it draw heavily on anthropology, sociology, psychology, history, archeology, and other disciplines. Anthropology (/ˌænθɹəˈpɒlədʒi/ from Greek grc ἄνθρωπος anthrōpos, "human" -λογία -logia) is the study of Sociology (from Latin: socius "companion" and the suffix -ology "the study of" from Greek λόγος lógos "knowledge" Psychology (from Greek grc ψῡχή psȳkhē, "breath life soul" and grc -λογία -logia) is an Academic and History is the study of the past particularly the written record Those who study history as a Profession are called Historians Etymology Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek grc ἀρχαιολογία archaiologia – grc ἀρχαῖος archaīos At bottom, it has a place in the public or state sector because, as an aspect of human experience, it is also the study of people--of what they believe, why they believe and act as they do, both individually and within society. It is a constantly changing field because religions change as religious people adapt to new circumstances. Religious Studies is never exclusively interested in what might be termed orthodoxy--however a religion itself might enforce or police conformity to an official version--but with religion as it is lived, with "religion on the ground," a term he first used in 1978.  Responses to modernity, to globalization, as well as trends towards religious eclecticism, properly concern Religious Studies. Smart did not anticipate a single, eclectic religion emerging but that religions would increasingly borrow from one another and that a global consensus on the value of religion in society would evolve. In interview with Scott London, he said:
I … believe we are moving toward a global ideology that has a place for religion and recognizes the contributions of the different traditions. Hopefully, it will have an overarching view as to how we can work together for the promotion of human values and spirituality. 
Smart is widely known for his seven-part definition of religion, or rather scheme of study because this approach avoids, at bottom, the problem of definition. Whatever else religion may or may not be--whether theistic or non-theistic, religions possess certain recognizable elements, which can be studied. These dimensions vary in importance but are almost always present. Smart divided these into "historical" and "para-historical," meaning by the latter those dimensions that take the investigation into the experience, or inner-lives, or religious people. The "historical" can be studied empirically, the para-historical takes the student into the realm of belief and concepts and requires dialogue and participation; "since the study of man is in an important sense participatory--for one has to enter into men’s intentions, beliefs, myths, desires, in order to understand why they act as they do--it is fatal if cultures including our own are described merely externally, without entering into dialogue with them. "
Smart’s seven-fold scheme of study:
Note: Smart categorized 1-3 as para-historical and 4-6 as historical.
Smart’s contribution to Religious Studies continues to influence curriculum, syllabi and methodology with widespread is of his dimension scheme of study, as well as of his books within the academy. His willingness to take seriously what others saw as "illegitinate," such as ideologies and new religious movement, did much to allow Religious Studies to distinguish itself from theology and from any charge of privileging any particular faith or version of a faith. Hecht commented that, “When the definitive history of the study of religion in the twentieth century is written…" Ninian Smart "will certainly be seen as a giant among his peers" Smart's "many books opened religion to scholar and layperson alike. " The Ninian Smart Annual Memorial Lecture, created in his honor, alternates between Lancaster and Santa Barbara. At Loyola, he is honored by the Ninian Smart Award for Excellence in Religious Studies. In April 2001, the Santa Barbara Templeton Research Lecture series was dedicated to the memory of Smart, and a commemorative plaque was presented to the Smart family. He had been due to deliver a Templeton lecture himself.
Smart married Lubushka Baruffaldi in 1954. Their children were Roderick, Luisabelle, and Caroline. Smart had eight grandchildren at the time of his death.
Lubushka was originally from Lake Como, Italy, where Smart regularly spent his summer vacations at her family home. Italy (Italia officially the Italian Republic, (Repubblica Italiana is located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and on the two largest Ninian and Lubushka were the first from the Western academy to have their marriage blessed by Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Moon in August of 1992.