The World's Wisdom — Available Now
by Rob Field
It's hard to see the forest for the trees when one of the trees is COVID-19.
If you're like me, you're hoping this is our once-per-century global calamity, and that we'll be through the worst of it some time in 2021.
While we're busy being as safe as possible, a "forest" of worldwide wisdom is available now, silently waiting for our discovery. I recently resumed my part-time position teaching World Religions at Brevard College. I feel fortunate to introduce 70-some undergraduates each semester to the rich wisdom of the great religious and spiritual traditions of the world. It feels like a tremendous privilege.
In my "Intro to World Religions" class, one of my goals is to introduce students to the difference between information, knowledge, and wisdom. I tell them that information is merely data, and knowledge is information-plus-context. But wisdom offers us deep, holistic meaning with the power to transform us and the world. Wisdom is at the heart of the religious & spiritual traditions that we rightly call "great." Through the miracle of digital libraries and the web, this wisdom is available to us now.
You don't have to join a religion to receive its wisdom
I reject the idea that a person must be a card-carrying member of a specific religion to appreciate its wisdom. After learning some basic concepts, we can benefit from a spiritual tradition we don't know — as long as we bring an open mind and heart. Even if you claim a particular religion, you can still learn from the wisdom of a tradition other than your own. For example, I know that I receive insights every time I learn more about Buddhism, even though my primary spiritual identity is Christian.
If you'd like to drink from this deep well of interfaith and inter-spiritual wisdom, join me in October and early November for The Wisdom of World Religions, a 6-week online learning series. Together, we will explore the spiritual wisdom of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism. (CLICK HERE or see the related article in this newsletter for details.)