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Religious Diversity Expert to Give Guest Presentation at OCU

by Rod Jones

A world religions expert will give presentations on religious diversity Oct. 15, 2015, as part of Oklahoma City University’s Willson Lectures series. All three presentations are free to the public and will be held in the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel on N.W. 23rd Street between Blackwelder and Kentucky avenues.

John J. Thatamanil, a professor of theology and world religions at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, will give a presentation at 1 p.m. titled “Religious Diversity: Problem or Promise” and at 2:30 p.m. titled “Are Religions Paths Up the Same Mountain? Christian Approaches to Religious Diversity.” At 7 p.m. he will engage in conversation with Oklahoma City interfaith leaders Sabi Singh from the Sikh community and Kris Ladusau from the Buddhist Oklahoma Dharma Center on the topic, “A Conversation on Religious Neighbors.”

Thatamanil is considered a leader in building mutual respect among people of different faiths. His research specializes in theologies of religious pluralism with special emphasis on Hindu-Christian dialogue and Buddhist-Christian dialogue. His courses have covered such topics as the theology of Paul Tillich, process theology, and Eastern Orthodox theology and spirituality.

Prior to his current appointment, Thatamanil taught at Boston University, Millsaps College and Vanderbilt Divinity School.

He is a frequent lecturer in churches, colleges and universities both nationally and internationally. He blogs periodically for The Huffington Post and other online publications and has published editorials in The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

Dr. Thatamanil is a native of southern India.

The annual Willson Lectures are provided by an endowment from James M. and Mavis Willson of Floydada, Texas. The lectures are directed to the interests of students in the area of religion and society. Since 1953 their gift to Oklahoma City University has brought speakers of international stature from the areas of religion, science, Christian theology and ethics, church history, biblical studies and liturgical studies.

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