How does one respond to the great variety of views and ways of life that present themselves to us in the contemporary world? Why does religious diversity provoke anxiety in so many people? Is it necessary for us all to agree in order to avoid violent conflict? In this course, we will explore various responses that have been given by philosophers and theologians in both Western and Indic traditions in response to the diversity of worldviews. We will focus primarily on various versions of a position called religious pluralism, a view which sees the diversity of worldviews as a good thing, from which humanity can learn and grow.
Your instructor, Dr. Jeffery Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College, has spent much of his career reflecting on these issues and working to develop an open-ended philosophy of religious pluralism that draws on elements of several traditions, including Vedanta, Jainism, Buddhism, and the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead.
Jeffery D. Long is the Carl W. Zeigler Professor of Religion, Philosophy, and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College, in Pennsylvania, where he has taught since receiving his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School in the year 2000. He is the author of several books, including Hinduism in America: A Convergence of Worlds (2020) and Jainism: An Introduction (2009), the editor of Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific (2019) and the co-editor of Nonviolence in the World’s Religions: A Concise Introduction (2021) and Beacons of Dharma: Spiritual Exemplars for the Modern World (2019). Dr. Long also edits the series Explorations in Indic Traditions: Ethical, Philosophical, and Theological for Lexington Books. He has spoken on nonviolence at many prestigious venues, including three talks presented at the United Nations.