I agree that 'being religious in itself is not a necessary qualification for a student of religion.' From the examples that follow, we will see why it is not a necessary qualification. However, we will also consider the argument of those who disagree with the above statement.
Being religious in itself is not a necessary qualification for a student of religion just as how many students pick up a foreign language in school, for example French. These students need not be French to be a student of the French language. However, if it was stipulated that only the French could be a student of French, then all of them would pass their exams with flying colours.
An example of a student of religion who was not religious was Malcolm X. His father was a Baptist preacher however he turned to a life of vice and crime and ended up in prison.
It was here where he began studying religion and he became acquainted with Elijah Muhammad's Black Muslim sect. His initial intention of joining was to get a parole, however as he started to study deeper into the religion, he converted and when he was paroled he became an outspoken member of the Black Muslim. His life tragically ended as he spoke out against Elijah Muhammad as he found out that his teachings were not that of a true Muslim. Here we see how a man who was without religion, who lived a life selling marijuana, a cocaine addict and a burglar ended up being one of the most outspoken and influential member of the Black Muslim. He became a student of a religion, which was unknown to him and ended up being religious.
We had just mentioned how a non-religious man became a student of religion and ended...