Comparative Religion Part 1 Final Essay
Rev. Ira J. Potter
Although I have casually studied various religions over the course of my life, Kythera Ann's course offered so much more information than I could've found on my own. The courses themselves were very well written and I am still enjoying the suggested activities, as there are many and some require planning in order to participate. Overall, this course was everything I hoped it would be and more than I have a right to ask for.
Through this course I gained a better understanding of my own beliefs and where they come from. I have fashioned my own beliefs by learning and living. I was surprised by how much I have unconsciously taken from eastern beliefs, such as meditation and reincarnation. I was also able to confirm my belief that there is a universal truth within most religions, a cosmic connection that binds people of faith. Religious morals are also universal, i.e.: respect your elders, don't steal, don't kill people, etc. Where beliefs may differ, morals are almost always the same in any given religion.
The best thing about this course is that it is unbiased. One of the worst possible beliefs I have encountered in my life is that there is only one "right" religion and the rest are imposters or inferior. It was very refreshing to learn so much about so many different religions without that bias in place. I even appreciated the respect given to those of Jewish faith with the references to G_d, although I am not Jewish. I believe that only G_d can tell us how He wants us to live, not popes, clerics, or any other figure on a power trip. There are so many different belief systems in the world that it is impossible to declare there is only one that is right.
My only complaint about this course is that I cannot follow it up with part 2! Other than that, if I had to pick something I suppose that I would have liked a little more in-depth information about the less popular religions like Jainism and Bal'ai. For the most part, though, this course is about as flawless as you could make it. The only way this course could be improved is by having a part 2 to take afterwards.
This was the first course I've taken through the seminary, and I must say that I hope other classes can compare intellectually to this course. Rev. Kythera Ann wrote the next course I am taking as well, although I did not know that when I chose to take it. Not only was I pleasantly surprised, I know beyond doubt that it will be just as informative and riveting as Comparative Religion was. The sample course for Comparative Religion made me decide to take it, and the intelligence, information and presentation kept me interested for all 20 weeks of this course. I very highly recommend this course to everybody that decides to attend seminary with the ULC. I look forward to my next course with Rev. Kythera Ann!
Rev. Ira Potter
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