This course provided a more balanced, impartial perspective of several religions. I was raised in strict, rather fundamental, Baptist/Christian environment, at home and in school. It simply never struck me as being unquestionably true, but questioning was highly discouraged, so I never received the answers I needed to resolve my beliefs. Once I was an adult, I walk away from religion altogether.
During my six years in the US Army and eight years working as a US Department of Defense civilian, I have worked with people from many faiths, and those with none. It was a pleasure to be in a tolerant and accepting environment, though not all groups were equally equal. All varieties of Judeo-Christian religions are openly accepted, and are well accommodated with on-post religious support; Wiccans, however, are largely misunderstood and rejected. Today's security and political environments have also created a Muslim-hostile undertone, though they are publicly welcomed, and one base even offered a joint Jewish/Muslim prayer area in the chapel.
Several months ago, I was ordained primarily as a joke. I've found my opinions of religion turning increasingly anti-theistic over the last several years, and I started this course in an attempt to temper that perspective. I believe that mission has been accomplished, or at least begun. I now have a greater understanding of why the Christians I work with inappropriately proselytize in the workplace, improperly referring to me as heathen, and telling me I would burn in hell for being ordained. I understand the motivation and perspective of the many Wiccans I have the pleasure of calling some of my closest friends. I understand why my fundamental-Christian second-ex-wife, who grew up on an Indian reservation, thought she had shamanic powers of healing. Primarily, I better understand my own religious attitudes and perspectives as a secular humanist.
What did I like best in this course? The historical perspectives of religious evolution. I was intrigued as my spotty self-educated theories of religion's lineage resolved into the clear picture presented, much of the fog clearing and the pieces falling into the bigger picture. Closely related, it was revealing to see how religion is a fundamental piece of the human psyche and sociological landscape. Coincident to this course, I took a management course including the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI). How could this piece of the average psyche be so lacking in emphasis within me? It is largely do to my natural de-emphasis of religious/emotional aspects. It is good to know where I fit in and why.
What did I like least? The sections on mysticism and spirits. These concepts are a bit too far from the measurable, tactile world for my tastes. However, they were clearly and informatively discussed in the text.
I think these courses could be improved by shortening the lessons and lengthening the course by a few weeks. I found them to be a bit longer than I could consume in a sitting due to numerous other demands on my time.
This course was very well written, the HTML emails were generally well coded, and the topics were approached impartially and with respect. They were easy to understand, and the topics built logically from basics to more advanced concepts. I would love to take additional courses written by Rev. Kythera Ann, and will be looking for Comparative Religion Parts II and beyond.
Rev. Charles Morris
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As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.
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