One of the schools of the Harvard University has launched a free online course hoping to “increase religious understanding, open up crucial dialogues and perhaps ‘change the world'”.
Senior lecturer and Director of ‘The Literacy project’ at Harvard Divinity School Diane Moore has modest goals for her upcoming online course titled, “World Religions through Their Scripture.” She wants to at least create a MOOC (massive open online course), which will examine religion in a uniquely enlightening way.
The course, which launches this spring, will bring together Harvard’s leading scholars in the world’s major religions: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. The course is designed to entice an international, multicultural audience.
Moore’s goal, is not to “champion one religion over another”, but to increase the study of religion.
“The premise is that lack of understanding about religion — or in the term I use, religious illiteracy — is both widespread and dangerous,” she said.
“Though a better understanding of religion is not itself going to cure the world’s ills, it can certainly help create bridges and better understanding of our fellow humans.”
Highlighting that the key to study religion is through scripture, Moore said: “When students examine sacred texts such as the Bible and Quran, they’ll be noting how they can be differently interpreted.”
Citing the increased fear and prejudice towards Islam, despite rising sales of the Quran, Moores told The Huffington Post that this was one example of “widespread illiteracy about religion that spans the globe.”
The course has six modules: the first an overview, and one devoted to each religion. New content will be introduced on two days of each week and on the third day there will be light — and sound.
“That’s when we want students to avail themselves of the discussion,” Moore said. “There will be opportunities to post video, be in live contact, and respond to exercises.”