“The Same…, But Different”

aristotleIn 2008 I took a small group of undergraduate students from our Department at the University of Alabama to Thessaloniki, Greece (that’s us above, with a famous philosopher, who has a shiny toe, likely from tourists rubbing it), where I had been for a conference a couple years before, and at which I first met my Culture on the Edge colleague, Vaia Touna. I’ve returned several times since that first trip, sometimes with other students and sometimes to help further my own school’s initiative to establish a long term relationship with Aristotle University — a school whose namesake was from a village about an hour’s drive east of the city. Continue reading ““The Same…, But Different””

Drawing Distinctions

edgereligionsDid you see this graphic making the rounds on the internet? As a scholar of religion I tend to think of the term “a religion” as naming — whether one agrees with classifying the world in this way or not — the members of a family often called “the world’s religions.” So, while Christianity is “a religion,” Methodism is not, for it is but a type of Christianity, as are Southern Baptists. But that’s not how this graphic works, for it concludes that there are 31 religions represented in the US House of Representatives (with the most dominant each getting their own color on the map), “including 26 different sects of Christianity.” Continue reading “Drawing Distinctions”