December 30, 2015

Terrorism has increased intolerance and even bigotry. A Sikh man was beaten by two men in Fresno, California last week. The assailants thought he was a Muslim. And a number of Muslim mosques have been vandalized in different parts of the country. Some educators are trying to bridge this cultural divide. Two new programs that incorporate social media attempt to put together students from different cultures. One is called FaithBoxEd and the other is called CulutreBoxEd. FaithBoxed, founded by Amjad... Read more

December 19, 2015

The recent controversy over the closing of schools in Virginia’s Augusta County over a world history lesson about Islam reminds us why it is so important to teach about religion today. Stephen Prothero, the religious scholar and professor, argues that a basic understanding of world religions is a matter of “urgent citizenship.'” He  notes, for example, that we all need some Biblical literacy because the two American political parties often speak the language of Christianity. Likewise, he believes that students need to understand other... Read more

December 14, 2015

Today, my students made personal Buddhist mandalas. You can see two samples above. A mandala is a Hindu or Buddhist symbol in the shape of a circle. Monks make them out of sand. The symbols represent deities. The monks destroy the mandala soon after they complete it, demonstrating the impermanence of life. “According to Buddhist scripture, ” notes the Freer Sackler Museum, “sand mandalas transmit positive energies to the environment and to the people who view them.” While constructing a... Read more

December 9, 2015

Watch what happens when people think they are hearing passages from the Quran, but it’s really the Bible. Read more

December 6, 2015

Here are some good resources for the eight day Jewish festival that began today and ends on December 14. What Is Hanukkah? Facts, History Of The Menorah And The Story Behind The Jewish Tradition, from the International Business Times What Is Hanukkah? from Chabad Hanukkah 101 – Basic Information, from Our Jewish community The First Night of Hanukkah: Here’s What You Need To Know, from Time Magazine 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Chanukkah, from the Washington Post’s On Faith Read more

December 1, 2015

Here’s a thoughtful and interesting argument about the role of religion in terrorism by one of my World Religions students. He argues that “religions do not promote terrorism, but that human beings do promote it.” He suggested that terrorists who kill in the name of religion do not represent any religion that stresses love and compassion.  The religion of the Paris terrorists or the fundamental Buddhists in Myanmar or the Boko Haram in Nigeria  do not reflect the theology of Muhammad, or the... Read more

November 30, 2015

Last week my U.S. high school students discussed culture and values with their peers in Ukraine. It was fascinating to hear the perspective from the Ukrainian students. One student spoke about the importance of peace because of concern for her father who was serving his country. The lesson was terrific and we can’t wait for our next video conference. Topics could include human rights for students, medical ethics, or festivals. The discussion was facilitated by the Face to Faith organization whose goal is... Read more

November 15, 2015

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 York... Read more

November 11, 2015

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 persecuting them? Who are the Rohingya?... Read more

November 8, 2015

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... Read more

Follow Us!

Browse Our Archives