Saint Macrina Institute offers elective on World Religions

CHICAGO, IL [MW DIOCESE COMMUNICATIONS] — St. Macrina Orthodox Institute for the Renewal of Diakonia and Catechesis in the Midwest will offer a new elective course for anyone interested in studying World Religions from an Orthodox perspective.

Archpriest Elijah Mueller, director of the St Macrina Orthodox Institute, explains the rationale for offering such a course: “In our time when many people know very little about Christianity, have experimented with other religions, or many even coming originally from such backgrounds there is a growing need accurately to understand what other religions believe and practice. To meet this new catechetical challenge, the Diocese is opening up an elective for any and all students–clergy, Sunday school teachers, or any interested layperson. We need to be equipped with knowledge and not just biases or stereotypes–such ignorance can make our work in catechesis less convincing or even a scandal to people within or outside the Church. In the past this was not even part of the seminary curriculum, so this is a gap many even among the clergy need to fill.”

The course will be taught online through webinar, available to anyone in the diocese, regardless of status within the St. Macrina program. The dates and times will be decided through a survey of potential students, trying to maximize the number that can participate.

Course description:
This course will give an overview of the main doctrines and philosophies of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Islam. The course will provide a historical overview of how these traditions developed and explain the primary metaphysical teachings and spiritual doctrines that form the foundations of these traditions. We will analyze these religions from an Orthodox Christian perspective and critically question both possible points of agreement with Christian doctrine while also examining fundamental points of divergence between these traditions and Orthodox Christianity.

No prior study or knowledge of these traditions is necessary for participation in the course. Readings will be provided by the instructor through a textbook and online files. All classes will be held via an online webinar.

About the instructor:
Dr. Ágúst Symeon Magnússon received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Marquette University. His primary area of research is on the comparative study of the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard and Eastern Orthodox philosophy and thought. He currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he teaches classes on Asian religions, Existentialism, and Philosophy of religion. Dr Magnússon converted from Zen Buddhism to Orthodox Christianity and was received into the Church in 2005.

To sign up:
Please email Fr. Elijah Mueller at Any questions can be directed here, or through calling Fr. Elijah at 312-714-9775. Fr. Elijah will compile a list in December and put the instructor in touch with Dr. Magnússon in January to arrange the class meeting times. We need 8 students to make this class workable, but will not take more than 20 students for an online class.

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