Westminster starts symposium on ‘timeless and timely’ topic of religion

Westminster College President Barney Forsyth welcomes the crowd to the opening session of the 2012 Westminster Symposium, Religious Experience in Global Society. The symposium continues today, with full schedule and a live broadcast of the main speakers available on the Westminster website at www.westminster-mo.edu.

Westminster College President Barney Forsyth welcomes the crowd to the opening session of the 2012 Westminster Symposium, Religious Experience in Global Society. The symposium continues today, with full schedule and a live broadcast of the main speakers available on the Westminster website at www.westminster-mo.edu.

Westminster College professor of religious studies Cliff Cain started off the 2012 Westminster Symposium Tuesday morning with an apology to his mother for talking about what she always said was a taboo subject: Religion.

“Religion can be as polarizing as politics ... as passionate as sex,” Cain said as he welcomed an auditorium full of students, staff and visitors to the symposium, focused this year on Religious Experience in a Global Society. “Some say religion is a force for good, some say religion is a force for evil. Religion motivates charity and liberation, and religion precipitates crusades.”

Sharing more quotes and ideas from various figures regarding religion, Cain went on to highlight the speakers and programs scheduled for the two-day symposium, including Sikh Militancy and non-violence, theism vs. atheism, Muslims in Europe: Misconceptions and reality, religion and social justice and gender wars and religious experience in global society.

“You can’t talk about religion in 2012 so much as you talk about religions,” said Cain, who was named Tuesday morning as the college’s first Harrod-C.S. Lewis Professor of Religious Studies. “I invite you to be engaged, to be stimulated, to be challenged ... to grow, and most of all to enjoy.”

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