Religious Studies

Bethel University Interreligious Symposia

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November 3, 2009 Interreligious Symposium
Meditation: Buddhist and Christian "Is There Common Ground?"

Guest Speakers:
Ted Meissner
Active Buddhist layman and meditator in Zen and later under the guidance of Theravada master Bhante Seewalie

Paul Reasoner
Bethel professor born and raised in Japan where his graduate studies included Zen and the Christian-Zen movement before completing his Ph.D. in philosophy (U of M)

Witiyala Seewalie
Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka; founder, president, and abbot of Minnesota Buddhist Vihara, Minneapolis

Interreligious Dialogue Fostering Civility and Commitment

You may have heard in various media, including the blogs and radio shows of Jan Markell and Brannon Howse, of the November 3 Interreligious Symposium at Bethel titled, “Meditation: Buddhist and Christian ‘Is There Common Ground?’” Instead of approaching the Bethel faculty involved or the administration to deal with the situation privately, some of the people concerned with the Interreligious Symposium have immediately attempted to publicize what they regarded as offensive—stirring up strife with unsubstantiated accusations. We have added important information below to counter some of these untruths, and encourage you to read the information and listen to the Interreligious Symposium to draw your own conclusions.

It is important to have history and context for the Interreligious Symposia at Bethel. The symposia have been a part of Bethel’s religious studies program for five years. The goal has been to help Bethel students become aware of significant world religious traditions. It is part of Bethel’s “world-changers” value to help students think deeply and care genuinely for people whom Christ loves—even though those people have opinions or beliefs that are contrary to Scripture. Combined with the many ways students are taught, mentored, and encouraged in their Christian faith, these symposia help students who choose to participate become storm-hardy Christians, able to maintain their commitment to faith in the face of opposition.

Previous symposia:
2005 - 2006 Symposium Archive
2006 - 2007 Symposium Archive
2007 - 2008 Symposium Archive

2008 - 2009 Symposium Archive

Adolf Olson Memorial Lecture
2011 - Dr. Robert Frykenberg, Living with Islam: Christians and Muslims in Historical Perspective

For more information:
Contact the Department of Religious Studies, Dr. Pamela Erwin 651.638.6350.