Yet another reason why understanding religious practice & thought is vital

January 22, 2010

January 22, 2010

In class last week we went thru an exercise designed to help us explore the differences between Understanding religions other than our own, Appreciating other religions, Endorsing a religion, and Tolerating a given religion. The discussions were lively and a general sentiment that emerged took the position that understanding more about religions of the world makes the world a safer place. Students argued that understanding the beliefs and practices of religious people help explain their actions, which in turn might alleviate fear of that which is different.

Just as these discussions were happening here at High Point University a US Airways flight from New York to Louisville was being redirected to an alternate landing site. Why? Because some passengers mistook an Orthodox Jewish prayer phylactery for an explosive device. Phylacteries, worn on the forehead and the forearm, consist of a small box containing Biblical passages and pieces of thick leather meant to strap the boxes in place. They are certainly not bombs.

Here is a link to an article that provides more details concerning last week's "misunderstanding," "Religious Item Causes Airplane Scare," and a link to a fuller explanation of "How to put on Phylactery."

Here's to fewer misunderstandings in the future.

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