A free, online course offered by Harvard University kicked off this week, aiming to teach the international community more about each other’s religions in order to promote better interfaith understanding and tolerance.
Entitled Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scriptures, the course seeks to help students “better understand the rich and complex ways that religions function in historic and contemporary contexts” by exploring the faith systems of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism.
A major goal of the course is to break down misconceptions and simplistic understandings of various faiths.
“It is always problematic to make claims that begin with ‘Jews believe’ or ‘Hindus believe’ because of the vast diversity of beliefs within all religious traditions,” says one video that is part of the course’s syllabus.
One participant called it “an extraordinary journey of discovery, reflection and community”, while another said it gave them “hope that we’re all moving towards a world with more compassion, peace, and understanding.”
A former student wrote, "I will never look at religious traditions the same way…. This will help me as a teacher to be a running stream to my students as I will never let myself become stagnate again!" Experience it for yourself today: https://t.co/11VHcxihak
— Religion & Public Life at Harvard Divinity School (@HarvardRPL) March 3, 2018
The course has even received the endorsement of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
Sign up for Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scriptures here.