Monday, February 27, 2012

HP Religious Discussion forum

The Honors Program has a "Religious Discussion Forum" on Thursday, March 15-- and they want questions for their panel connecting the forum to this year's "Common Experience" theme of social justice. The deadline is this Thursday.

Here's what they have so far. Do you have anything to add?

2012 Religious Discussion Forum: Potential Questions

I would certainly be interested in the question of how various faiths and faith communities perceive their roles in responding to issues of social justice. For instance, if we believe that the poor will always be with us, how does one also gather up the impetus to work on BEHALF of the poor?

What does justice even mean to each of these religions? I am sure they have slightly different, nuanced definitions.

What specific action verbs does their religious text use when addressing social need? What "commands" or "exhortations" or what have you play a central role in their faith's specific idea of social justice?

What is the ultimate goal of social justice for people of their faith? What is the vision that drives them?

F. Nietzsche writes in "Thus Spake Zarathustra" that charity is an ugly thing because it makes the object of charity less than human, reducing them merely to an object of someone else's charity. What is your religion's answer to that criticism?

Is there any room in your religious principles for government, secular NGOs and religious institutions to work together toward social justice? Or do you think that social justice should mainly be handled by the church/mosque/temple?

Should providing social justice also include sharing your religious worldview with those you are helping? For example, when feeding the poor do you believe it is imperative to also make sure they understand your personal religious beliefs?

What message of hope does your worldview have to offer those who are frustrated by the overwhelming amount of injustice and need in the world?

Many religious traditions support or promote the equality of human rights.  Given the various types of human rights (right to life, right to family, and so forth), are there precepts in your religious texts and teachings that support a hierarchy of support? For instance, are financial donations to charities viewed differently than directly feeding the poor?  In short, how does your religion prioritize human needs?


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