11th Annual Worldviews Seminar takes place this week

6/18/2012

Just what, exactly, do people of other faiths believe?

What do we, ourselves, believe?

In the wake of September 11, 2001, when those question lingered in the air, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Study of Religion and Society, with a grant from the Episcopal Church USA and other local support, created the Worldviews Seminar. The five-day event was intended to honor American religious diversity by introducing participants to the perspectives of many world religions and opening avenues of dialogue with them.

Eleven years later, the discussion continues.

The 11th Annual Worldviews Seminar will take place this week, June 18-23, on UM-Dearborn’s campus and at religious centers throughout Metro Detroit.

Participants learn about many world religions including Baha’i, Buddhism, Chinese and Japanese traditional religions, Christianity, First Peoples and Native traditions, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.

“University of Michigan-Dearborn is part of one of the most religiously diverse regions in the nation,” said Claude Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society. “It was important for us to open a dialogue and introduce participants to the foundational information about the beliefs and practices of the world’s religions.”

The event generally attracts about 40 people including UM-Dearborn and other university students, seminary students and community members. They participate in discussions, view films, listen to guest lecturers and meet with leaders and members of area religious centers where they may observe rituals and join in a traditional meal.

“Through time in the classroom and many field trips to religious centers, the seminar places an emphasis on what people believe and how they find meaning in the world. It is a discovery of the increasingly complex religious landscape of Metro Detroit as well as self-discovery,” Jacobs said.

“As we learn to engage in intelligent dialogue with members of other religions, we can develop the skills to function as citizens in a multi-religions nation.”

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The University of Michigan-Dearborn community is invited to attend Monday evening’s session free of charge. David Stowe, professor of English and religious studies at Michigan State University with present, "Sacred Soundscape: Music and Chant in World Religions." The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. in room 103 in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Auditorium.

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