World Religions
and the Three Great Crises of our Age
with Vern Barnet
September 17 Sunday 9-9:50 am
St Paul's Episcopal Church Sunday Forum
11 East 40th Street at Main, Kansas City, MO 64111

From "100-thousand feet," is there a way to see the world's religions that will show us how to deal with three great dangers of our time -- the harm we are causing creation, the violation of personhood, and our broken communities?

Such an overview is possible if we ask the question, "What is Sacred?" and attend to the answers the various faiths offer. With three religious objects and four stories, we will find that the Primal traditions locate the sacred in nature, the Asian faiths in selfhood, and the Monotheistic traditions in the history of covenanted community. With their wisdom we can move toward the restoration of nature, the self-made whole, and community governing though justice. Handouts will supplement the presentation.
● In Primal faiths we find ecological awe: nature is respected more than controlled; nature is a process which includes us, not a product external to us to be used or disposed of. Our proper attitude toward nature is wonder, not consumption. Our lives depend on nature.

● In Asian religions we catch the awe of genuine personhood as our actions proceed spontaneously and responsibly from duty and compassion, without ultimate attachment to their results.

● In Monotheistic traditions, the awesome work of God is manifest in history’s flow toward justice when peoples are governed less by profit and winning and more by the covenant of service. Our lives depend on community.

This gift from three different directions can bring us together to save the person, the society, and the planet. This interfaith promise is nothing less than the restoration of nature, the recovery of the whole self, and the life of a community of love.
Come for a hope-filled conversation deeping about one's own faith by understanding the faiths of others, and moving forward with them in shaping the future.


If you wish a preview and some CRES resources, try these --

A View of Our Decacralized Society and the World's Religions as a Whole System

Caveats for the Study of Religion

Awe Is the Cure

Perhaps the best single book on world religions to disrupt many common misconceptions is Stephen Prothero’s 2007 Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know.  His 
2011 God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World  is a readable and accurate account. My late friend, Huston Smith, wrote what was for many years the standard text, The World's Religions, which went through many editions; and while it focused on the wisdom of the faiths, history and practice were given secondary place; still, the book reveals an unrivaled love affair with the world's traditions in extraordinarily cogent and beautiful writing.