Gaining a Global Perspective
Final Essay for the Master of Comparative Religion Course
By Rev. Daniel L. Moore
The world is changing. The United States is becoming less and less a "Christian" nation. Neighborhoods that used to be predominantly Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish are now receiving those who are Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu. Further, there has been an increase in interest in older religions such as Wiccan and various types of paganism.
As a minister, I believe we must be able to work with those of other faiths. We can easily go into our own religious or denomination corner with the idea of separation for "purity" sake or we can actively engage all we come into contact with. Religions that emphasize conversion require its followers to "go into the world and make disciples of all nations." But to do so does require some knowledge of the other religions.
This course is an absolute necessity for any minister of any faith. As the communities and work places become more mixed, we need to be aware of the differences and similarities between the various religions. Further, as a part-time Protestant chaplain I encounter people seeking guidance who are not Christian. So this course comes to me as a welcome addition to my education.
One of the strengths of this course was the wealth of resources I was directed to. I was able to find many of the various sacred texts needed to study. I have been studying these other texts in between lessons to help me gain a broader understanding of the world's religions.
This course was very in-depth in content. I realize that this was a very challenging task for the course developer to take on. The material and the scope of this subject are such that it is possible to make two courses to cover a total of 40 weeks between the two. I must congratulate Rev. Kythera Ann for her ability to put together such comprehensive course and avoid the temptation of just skimming a topic here and there.
The illustrations given in each lesson were very helpful. They added "flavor" to the lessons. Along with the illustrations were the many scholarly quotes and footnotes that I found useful as well. The charts were all helpful. For me, I like to see things as part of my learning style. Having a chart gives me something to evaluation in a simple, direct fashion. The chart in lesson 20 was real illuminating to me.
One criticism I have of this course is the occasional website links provided were broken. This is not the fault of the course developer. The Internet is dynamic place with new sights being posted, old ones being updated, and some being deleted. The one recommendation I would have is that this course's links be reviewed quarterly. Also, I would recommend the first lesson include some administrative instructions about notifying ULC about links that are broken or no longer active. This is the only criticism I have.
I highly recommend this course to any minister of any religion. I would also encourage Rev. Kythera Ann to develop other courses and would be happy to study the material. Blessings to all who take this course.
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