Fall 2019 – World Religions – LLM WEST


World Religions
Presented by Brian Carwana
Mondays, October 21 to December 9, 2019 

October 21 To See, To Be, To Do: The Landscape of World Religions
This introductory talk offers an insightful yet compact overview of the world’s major religious families. You will come away with an appreciation of how diverse faith traditions understand fourteen underlying principles.

October 28 Judaism: A People Set Apart
For Judaism, history is the page upon which God’s story is written. The class traces the narrative through a timeline of significant events that follow the evolution of the tradition through three major stages.

November 4 Christianity: But I Say Unto You                                                                  Christianity reinterprets the Jewish story from a past record to a future prediction. This session explores how scriptures develop, the shift from a Jewish movement to a gentile one, and ends with a provocative claim about how Christianity has shaped the fundamental outlook of both believers and non-believers in the modern West.

November 11 Islam: And Muhammad is His Messenger
The youngest of the Abrahamic traditions is also the fastest growing. We consider Islam’s Five Pillars, the religious and political contributions of Muhammad, and the rise of two major branches – Sunni and Shia.

November 18 North American Indigenous Spirituality
We will explore the spiritual traditions of First Nations peoples, including intriguing ideas about complimentary dualism, the linking of the physical and spiritual worlds, and novel ways of using the body to effect a spiritual transformation.

November 25 Hinduism: Thou Are That Guest Speaker: Dr. Raj Balkaran
Hinduism is the world’s oldest and perhaps its most diverse religious tradition. It has followed a collector practice for thousands of years, always adding and rarely pruning. We will watch how concepts have layered on top of others in India, including the idea that each person has divinity within them.

December 2 Buddhism: All is Mind
“All that we are arises with our thoughts” are the opening words of one Buddhist scripture. We consider how the Buddha’s life and teachings identify the mind as both the cause and cessation of suffering.

December 9 Daoism: The Way and its Power
A tradition of the Far East, Daoism is as distant from Western thought as it is in geography. The class explores this unique tradition that espouses no action, no belief, no ritual and a founder with no public ministry.