Experiencing Other Faiths to Find One’s Own

NPR’s Morning Edition ran an interesting piece a couple days ago. Correspondent Judy Woodruff has been speaking to members of Generation Next. In this case, she spoke to them about religion.

One student, Gillian Siple of Davidson College in North Carolina, spoke about how even though she was raised as a Christian, she felt a urge to explore other faiths. She is pursuing a religion major, after all.

What led her to learn about other religions? Here’s what Gillian said in the piece:

In my church growing up, there was a Sunday School teacher… I remember him coming up to me one day. I had come home from college and was preparing to go to study abroad and he asked me, “Why would you want to go and study these religions of the world? You could attend my class and I would tell you they’re all wrong.”

I was so shocked by the comment, and I thought, that’s exactly why I want to go out and learn from other people who practice these other religions.

For what it’s worth, Gillian’s Christian faith is now stronger than ever as a result of the exploration. However, her self-description of what she believes in wouldn’t gel well with the popular denominations.

Siple calls herself a Christian pluralist, open to the possibility of the validity of other religious traditions.

Let’s hear a (non-Generation Next) pastor promote that line of thinking on a Sunday morning…

Woodruff said that in previous generations, religion was generally inherited from one’s parents and accepted without question. But Generation Next sees religion as a choice; there’s a lot of mixing and matching going on.

It might be too much to ask that Gen Next will take just the good parts out of many religions and ignore the crazy parts… but it’s certainly an optimistic vision for the future.

Listen to the segment by going here. Do it. It’s not even eight minutes long!

[tags]NPR, Morning Edition, Judy Woodruff, Generation Next, religion, Gillian Siple, Davidson College, North Carolina, Christian, church, Sunday School, Christian pluralist, atheist, atheism[/tags]

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