Atheism

The final “religion” in my World Religions series!  Does Atheism count as a religion? Many atheists would say that it’s the polar opposite of religion, but I’m not sure how else to cover it – I would say that it’s definitely a “religious perspective.”

I mentioned in class that the number of Americans reporting “no religion” has increased over the last 10 to 20 years. Here’s a good post that summarizes a couple of the findings about these “nones.”

It was great teaching this series, and I hope we can offer it again sometime.

Handout

Here is my Atheism Fact Sheet.  The presentation is below the jump. Continue reading

Scientology

In class, we briefly mentioned that the Church of Scientology bought the former Florence Baptist Church building at the corner of Main St. and US 42.  Here is WCPO’s story about the purchase.

I also mentioned this video, an internal Scientology training video featuring Tom Cruise. Cruise uses quite a bit of Scientology jargon in the video, so you’ll want to read the “More” section under the video for some translations, as well as my fact sheet below, in order to understand what he’s talking about. (For example, he refers to “KSW,” which is a document written by L. Ron Hubbard called “Keep Scientology Working.”)

Handout

Click here to download my Scientology Fact Sheet (PDF, 44KB). The presentation from class is below the jump. Continue reading

Jehovah's Witnesses

In class, I mentioned a recent feature about The Watchtower – the official magazine of Jehovah’s Witnesses and perhaps the most important element of their belief system – in The New York Review of Magazines. Joel Meares begins his article with a great image:

The day begins at the small, red-brick Kingdom Hall on Glendale’s Myrtle Avenue, where about 40 Witnesses gather in couples and families. Some thank Jehovah for the blessed day, others thank him for the coffee that got them here by 9 a.m. A few quick hellos in the Hall — a trapezoidal room with churchlike rows of chairs, a churchlike stage but no churchlike iconography — and the Witnesses head downstairs to arm themselves.

I found the article to offer great insight into the JW organization.

Handout

Click here to download my Jehovah’s Witnesses Fact Sheet (PDF, 55KB). As usual, my presentation is below the jump. Continue reading

Mormonism

Our World Religions class is drawing to a close, and I’m a bit behind on posting my materials. You’ll see several posts go up this week.

One of the best sources for information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormonism) is from the church itself. The LDS church has an extensive Answers to Questions section, as well as an online library of Mormon scriptures. For comparisons between LDS and mainstream Christianity, two groups called Mormonism Research Ministry and  Utah Lighthouse Ministry have extensive libraries of articles.

Handouts

Click here to download my fact sheet about Mormonism (PDF, 55KB). My presentation can viewed below the jump. Continue reading

World Religions: Buddhism

Quick reminder: we will not be having class on April 28 or May 5. We’ll be resuming on May 12 with a special speaker on contemporary issues in Islam.

The handout for Buddhism is below, and my presentation can be seen after the jump. Meanwhile, a couple of links you might be interested in:

Handout

Buddhist Handout (PDF, 61KB) Continue reading