Comparative Religions


Comparative Religions

Comparative religions were shaped

By a euro-centered culture

This formed the basis

Of what students know about world religions


Much of this trajectory was lit by missionaries.

They came from Europe and traversed the globe.

Many were religious as they encountered colonists.

Their basic strands became the bedrock

Of how they interpreted the various religious faiths -

Like Judaism, Christianity, Islam,

Hinduism, Daoism, Shintoism, and secular humanism


These interpreters ushered their thoughts about religion

They revived an emphasis on Greek and Latin

That led to the shape of comparative Christianity

Becoming prominent in the Protestant Reformation

Some European theologians became famous –

Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Desiderius Erasmus


But the world of religion was born with the Peace of Westphalia

And by the 17th century there existed a noteworthy guide

That included all the known religions of the world

From the 18th to 21st century there was a broadening of its scope

With peoples of India, China, Russia, Artic and Oceania

In the West Sanskrit studies became popular

And Semitic languages and religions were studied

The Age of Enlightenment dawned

With figures like Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newtown,

And contemporary thinkers like Richard Dawkins,

Christopher Hitchens, and Karen Armstrong


“Great Designer, you have lit a fierce fire in the heart of comparative religions.  Grant that this process continues to grow with an enduring flame.”



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