Religious Studies aspire to a critical understanding of religion, past and present. Please feel free to comment on any post or page that interests you.
I am writing to propose and encourage a general religious literacy for all interested readers: those who profess a particular religion, profess no religion at all, or may profess their own personal notion of spirituality.
In 1982, after just four semesters at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying film in the Communications department, I quit school to join a small Franciscan Hermitage in the Berkshire Mountains.
My adventures as a sometimes-hermit, sometimes-wandering friar lasted only six years but took me to the deserts of Egypt, the tropical south of India, to Japan, Italy, and across Europe.
It was as a Catholic monk that I was able to begin my exploration of the religions of the world and, although I no longer consider myself a Christian, I have continued on this journey of investigation into our religious behavior, past and present.
Originally entitled “More Thoughts on Religion”, these essays served as a venue for organizing my thoughts long after I had finished teaching the World Religions course at the collegiate level. I no longer teach, but I cannot stop studying.
All that I write in this blog originates from my indulgent preoccupation with religion, which began when I was in my teens and has continued to the present, distilled in the six semesters when I taught the introductory course on World Religions at the European American Institute of Technology in the south of France, from 2002 to 2009.
With the freedom of being ‘just an instructor’, whose job it was to present the lower level elective World Religions course common to liberal arts programs everywhere, I brought together every support and insight that has encouraged my investigation into our religions and our religious nature.
About The Author
In my religious studies as a monk with the Franciscans I was given the opportunity to travel throughout the world and live with a variety of religious leaders and teachers from diverse traditions.
From 1983 to 1988, beginning in Rome and Assisi, I traveled extensively, working and studying in various monasteries and religious communities, including the study of Buddhism and the Shinto religion while living in Tokyo and traveling throughout Japan, and studying Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism while living in India, in addition to a three-month sojourn as a visiting monk at the Tassajara Zen Monastery in the Los Padres Mountains of California. My enthusiastic exploration of the religions of the world also brought me to Egypt and the Middle East to study Islam, primitive Christianity and early Christian monasticism.
I left the monastery and returned to university in 1989, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film studies at Emerson College, Boston in 1993, and worked in the film industry in Boston and Los Angeles until the year 2000. In 2002, I was given the opportunity to condense and present the product of my experience and studies in religion in an introductory university course on World Religions, which I offered for six semesters at the European American Institute of Technology, Sophia Antipolis, (now Skema International Business School) in the South of France. At present, I work as a software engineer and live in Nice with my wife and two children.
– John Holland