My regular readers know that I have long been an advocate for improved religious literacy -- that skill that allows us to understand not only our own faith tradition, if any, but also have a decent grasp of the traditions of others.
In a world full of religious conflict, such literacy strikes me as a necessity. It's one reason I've written so much about it and that I've been working with a small group over the last year or two to dream about creation of a religious literacy center of some kind here in Kansas City.
As this group makes slow progress toward that vision, I find it encouraging to learn that we're not the only people around the country with this in mind.
In fact, there's now a Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School. And it looks quite promising. One part of it, to launch later this year, is a website "with a collection of helpful information and tools."
The current Harvard site talks about the need for religious literacy this way:
Understanding. . .complex religious influences is a critical dimension of understanding modern human affairs. In spite of this awareness, there remains a widespread illiteracy about religion that spans the globe. There are many consequences of this illiteracy, but the most urgent is that it fuels conflict and antagonisms and hinders cooperative endeavors in all arenas of human experience.
Exactly. Ignorance leads to fear and prejudice. Eventually that road can lead to violence and disaster.
So good for Harvard. And when there's news about the Kansas City area effort, I'll let you know.
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NO HOMEWORK IN IRAQ?
ISIS says that in the city of Mosul, which it now controls, schools will not teach evolution, art, history, Christianity or literature. One more reason to destroy this bleak terrorist organization. And the sooner the better.
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P.S.: My latest National Catholic Reporter column now is online here.