Things have been busy in Claremont this year, so please forgive my hiatus from this blog. I’ll be keeping it current again starting this summer, so please come back on a regular basis.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the announcement of Claremont Lincoln University. This new University, which is located on the campus of Claremont School of Theology, is truly a twenty-first century approach for a religiously and culturally diverse world. This interreligious university intentionally draws together people from across different traditions—religious and otherwise—to work together on the problems that plague us all.
Unfortunately, higher education today isn’t well suited for a religiously diverse world. American colleges and universities largely provide education from one perspective or another. Some limit their education to exclusively secular (even anti-religious) viewpoints, and others are completely mono-religious (usually a particular brand of Christianity or Judaism) in their approaches. Very few—if any—actively seek knowledge, wisdom, perspectives, and solutions to problems from across all parts of human experience and culture. Higher education in the twentieth century was religiously segregated, which necessarily limited its possibilities. And education in this century will be largely ineffective if it continues this outdated model.
The mission of Claremont Lincoln is simple: to draw on ancient and modern wisdom to address the problems of the world. This is achieved, I think, through basic literacy about other religious and ethical traditions so we can recognize and respect the core assumptions of others. But we must also develop practical skills for social change so we can more effectively collaborate across religious, political and ethical commitments—combining the best practices from our various backgrounds—to more effectively address critical social problems.
When we look more broadly for insight, and provide the opportunity for interreligious and intercultural learning, then we have a better chance at addressing the critical needs of the world. This is the sort of education needed for a twenty-first century world.