My friend Ekaputra Tupamahu posted this video on Facebook wherein Claremont Lincoln University announces that they have decided to “desegregate” religious education.
The Claremont School of Theology will train priests, pastors, rabbis and imams together (see “Claremont seminary reaches beyond Christianity” from the LA Times earlier this year). In some sense this is nothing new: universities across the world train people in different religions together. For instance, at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, one can take classes from the Center for Islamic Studies, the Institute of Buddhist Studies, the Jesuit School of Theology, the Franciscan School of Theology, and so forth. Yet it seems like CST wants to move further down the road of integration than what GTU has offered.
In some sense I am indifferent to this, because as I said, these types of institutions exist already. I don’t think I’d be bothered learning about Christianity in such an environment and I may learn a lot about being a Christian in a pluralistic society. On the other hand, I appreciate places like Western Seminary where I study because I know there is a commitment to the Gospel wherein the church is called to exalt Christ above all else (which doesn’t mean we disrespect other religions, but we don’t pretend that we find them equal either). Obviously, I felt it best to go for training where I felt the Gospel was going to be the starting point for learning.
What do you think about this? Would you be for, against, or indifferent to your local Christian seminary expanding to train rabbis and imams? What makes this different than studying with people of other religious persuasions at the local university?