On I Did Not Know

I attended a lecture about Islam that was part of an interfaith dialogue series at a local church. On this night, a professor from a Lutheran seminary delivered the lecture and answered questions that led to small group dialogue among the participants.

In the discussion group served as an opportunity for misconceptions to come forth. For instance, a person in my group stated there are just as many mosques in the US as Christian churches. I relentless challenged him and used it as an example of the importance of learning, thus I had difficulty giving credence to his other point.

Back to the lecture, are some points that the lecture increasing my awareness.

I did not know that the Islam creation story involves Adam and Eve.

I did not know that the Qur’an includes many Biblical characters as Abraham, Joseph, Noah, Jonah, Miriam, Job, Mary, and Jesus (to name a few) … yet one character’s story may be interspersed over other chapters.

I did not know that Islam sees the Adam and Eve creation story in the same themes as Christianity: disobedience, repent, and forgiveness

I did not know that after the opening chapter, the Qur’an’s 114 chapters are generally from longest to shortest, thus not chronologically.

I did not know that the root that Qur’an means “recitation”, whereas Bible means “books”.

I did not know that some of the differences between Christianity and Islam in found in telling the same story with a different context.

No matter the topic, there are three categories of information: what one knows, what one thinks they know, and what one does not know … and that middle category is where one finds their misconceptions and misinformation – the basis for many ills in society.

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Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

On Learning Never Stops

Whenever someone asks me if I would like to return to a younger age, my response is the same; “To be that stupid again? No thanks.” Abraham Lincoln said it best.

I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”

There’s no question that learning is a lifelong event. As a matter of fact, one could say that learning is a major lifelong event. No matter one’s age or their stage of life, learning happens every day.

A friend told me that he enrolled in enrichment classes at the University of Cincinnati. Of course I was thinking it was a deal for retirees to take credit classes for noncredit, but that was wrong.

The Bernard Osher Foundation supports 119 institutions across the country offering the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes to people age 50 and older. At UC, over 70 noncredit classes.

Now here’s the stunner. The classes meet for about 90 minutes, once a week for about 8 weeks for the mere cost of $75. Oh no, not per class, the $75 registration fee covers all classes. (The UC catalog states that most people take 3 classes.)

So to my readers over 50, see if there is an Osher Learning Institute near you. For all others, pass the information to your family and friends over 50.  Keeping the mind active is good for everyone, and there’s always more to learn about any topic of interest.