About George G. Coe

Decline of Thai Buddhism

"Buddha 00006" by YashiWong - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Here are two great stories about the crisis in Thai Buddhism, one from PBS Religion and Ethics and the other from the New York Times.Crisis? According to these stories, modernization and commercialization are challenging the primacy of Buddhism in Thailand where over 90% of the population is Buddhist.Fewer young men are becoming monks and many Thais simply "buy their karma" with donations instead of going to temple. Some critics call the trend "fast food" Buddhism, according to The New Y … [Read more...]

The Rohingya & Genocide

rohyingya map

The recent elections in Myanmar did not change the status of the Rohingya Muslim minority. Indeed, according to a report from International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) at the Queen Mary University of London last month, “the Rohingya face the final stages of genocide.”  (Here's Time Magazine's story about the report.)Al Jazeera News investigated Myanmar and produced the documentary below showing evidence of a genocide agenda.Who are the Rohingya? Why are they persecuted? And who is perse … [Read more...]

The Bhagavad Gita: Resources

His Holiness Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada from Wikipedia commons

Teaching Hinduism? The Bhagavad Gita is a central Hindu text, maybe as important as the Bible is to Christians. Part of a larger text called the Mahabharata and written over 2000 years ago, the Gita essentially explains the nature of life and offers a way to live it.Annenberg Learner's Invitation to World Literature has a great 30-minute overview of the story along with other educational resources.The Gita teaches about life through the crisis of a young man called Arjuna who must decide … [Read more...]

“Teaching Islam in the Age of ISIS”

By James Gordon from Los Angeles, California, USA (Palmyra, Syria) [CC BY 2.0  via Wikimedia Commons

In a fascinating story for Religion and Politics, Amina Steinfels, a scholar at Mount Holyoke College, argues that most Westerners believe Islam to be “monolithic and explanatory of all aspects of the lives of Muslims in any time and place.”That’s why, she says, she gets invited to speak about the Islamic State (ISIS), Charlie Hebdo, the French cartoonist who was shot last year, and free speech. It does not matter that her expertise is in Sufism, not in ISIS or the militancy and insurgency of … [Read more...]

Resources for The Ramayana

"Rama sending his signet ring to Sita" by Nivedita, Sister, 1867-1911; Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish, 1877-1947 - Myths of the Hindus & Buddhists (1914). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rama_sending_his_signet_ring_to_Sita.jpg#/media/File:Rama_sending_his_signet_ring_to_Sita.jpg

The Ramayana is one of India's most popular epics. Versions appear in literature, plays, movies, and even television.  It's the story of King Rama and how he tries to save his kidnapped wife, Sita.The Indian sage Valmiki wrote the epic about 200BCE in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language.Here are some great resources for teaching the epic.The Asia Society has an excellent summary of the story. The National Gallery of Australia has a terrific collection of Indian miniatures from Ne … [Read more...]

Can Students Opt Out of Studying about Islam?


Does studying about another religion contradict your own faith?That's what one Atlanta parent thinks. He told Fox News that "my daughter learning the Islamic faith kinda contradicts my faith in general."He also complained about his 6th grade daughter's homework assignment about Islam, arguing that the class spent more time learning about Islam than about Christianity.According to this story from Fox News in Atlanta, the principal agreed to let the parent's child opt out of the les … [Read more...]

Spread of Religion in Animated Maps

spread of Christianitiy

Here's a great animated  map that shows the spread of Christianity from its inception to today from the Western Conservatory.   And here's another great animated map that shows the spread of the five major world religions. … [Read more...]