Thursday, July 5, 2007

Religious Literacy

I'm sitting at my computer in the middle of an electrical storm thinking this is really dumb – I should turn this sucker off and unplug it.

But then I started thinking of the awesome power of God who created and creates all this wonderful weather. And then I started thinking about how little we know about God.

There was a radio program the other day about schools – and universities that are starting to teach programs in religious literacy. They seem to be getting the general go-ahead from most quarters, and I have to say, I agree.

Religious literacy isn't something that tells you what to believe. It's a program that seeks to make all people, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof, aware of the various belief systems. When you think about it, that's just good citizenship. Because religious values, beliefs, myths, misconceptions all have played a huge role in how this nation was developed. Same holds true for most nations.

Today, millions believe a wide variety of things. There is so much tension, so much mistrust out there because we don't even know what the other guy thinks or believes. We can't begin to grasp how he or she sees the world. When they do something, it seems strange and threatening to us.

So, I think religious literacy is a good idea. If you are – as I am – WAY too old for school, perhaps you can talk to your pastor about starting a class at your house of worship, whatever it be. You could take the lead not only in suggesting the class but in arranging for guest speakers – rabbi, imam, priests and leaders of various denominations and faiths.

Because no matter how varied our faiths are, it's ultimately the same thunder and lightning up in the sky, the same world, that we all share.