Lectures to promote religious understanding

March 18, 2010 | News
By Meghan Cunningham



The term “tree hugger” actually comes from Hinduism and the religion’s philosophy of unity encourages sustainability, according to Dr. Jeffery D. Long, associate professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa.

So then why in India and other countries that practice the religion are there environmental problems such as pollution and deforestation?

Long will answer that question and more during the annual lecture on Eastern Religious Thought.

“The main issue that I really want to focus on is why is there that disconnect and how can we bridge that disconnect,” Long said.

The free, public lecture, “Affirming the Unity of Being: Hinduism and Its Relation to Environmental Issues,” will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, March 22, in the Law Center Auditorium.

Long’s lecture is one of several in the UT Initiative for Inter-Religious Understanding Series this spring sponsored by UT’s Program in Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy.

A grant from the Anderson Foundation helps fund the lecture series.

“These events create a comprehensive understanding of religion. It promotes peace between people,” said Dr. Jeanine Diller, UT research associate professor of philosophy and religion, who is coordinating the lecture series.

“If you look at the impact on religion at the local, national and international stages, it’s obvious if you want to understand the world around you that it’s important to understand religion. And not only that, it can deepen and add perspective to your own worldview.”

The lecture series kicked off March 4 when Dr. Ovamir Anjum, the Imam Khattab Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies, discussed “The Challenges and Promises of Islamic Democracy: Combating Political Illegitimacy and Violence in the Contemporary Muslim World.”

Dr. Sherman Jackson, professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the University of Michigan’s Department of Near Eastern Studies, will lead the annual Jewish-Christian-Muslim Dialogue at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 22, in the Student Union Auditorium.

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