Westminster College Students Discuss Religion in Their Lives in New Edition of Book on World Religions 

3/7/2013 
Faculty & staff 

World ReligionsTwenty-six Westminster College students from 18 different countries give their views on the role of religion in a new edition of a book by Dr. Bill Young, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Westminster College in Fulton, MO.
 
Westminster College is known for its strong diversity with 16 percent of its student population from 68 different countries and is ranked fifth among all American liberal arts colleges for diversity.
 
"The students shared with me their own experiences of and reflections on the religions discussed in the book,” says Dr. Young. “Their insights will help readers understand what young people think about the role religions play in the world today and in their lives."
 
Entitled The World's Religions: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues, the book, published by Pearson Education, Inc., is now in its 4th edition.
 
One of the interviewees, Pabel Vivanco Cardenas from Peru, speaks about hearing spiritual teachings of his Inca culture from his grandfather and other elders and how that knowledge inspires him to respect the land. 
Saifon Liangpansakul of Thailand shares how listening to a lecture on Buddhist teachings on her iPod helps her to be calm and at peace when she begins to feel stressed. Frishta Aslami, a Muslim from Afghanistan, talks about how her experiences with Buddhism and other religions have helped her to become a better Muslim and more focused on working for peace among all peoples, as her holy book, the Qur'an, teaches her to do.  Martinos Botros from Egypt describes his experiences growing up as a Coptic Christian and his hope that, as Egypt becomes more democratic, peace and reconciliation will prevail between the Christian and Muslim communities. Emily Grand from the United States reflects on studying the various branches of Judaism and why she has found her home in the Reform tradition of her faith.

The World’s Religions has been adopted as a text for religious studies classes at colleges and universities across the country and abroad. It is also used by church groups and individuals interested in learning about the world's religions. 
 
The volume includes chapters on indigenous religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and new religious movements. It also has chapters illustrating what religions have to say about some of the most important issues of the twenty-first century such as the ecological and economic crises, war, capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, gender, and sexual orientation.  

Dr. Young was inspired to write the book by his experience introducing generations of Westminster students to the world's religions. Since he retired in 2010 he has also revised the textbook he and his Westminster colleague, Westminster emeritus professor Dr. Chris Hauer, wrote on the Bible (An Introduction to the Bible:  A Journey into Three Worlds, 8th ed., Pearson, 2012) and published a biography of one of the first Native Americans to become a major league baseball star (John Tortes "Chief" Meyers: A Baseball Biography McFarland, 2012).
 
Dr. Young came to Westminster in 1975 and for the first twenty years of his career served as the College’s Chaplain in addition to teaching courses in religious studies. He was a recipient of the Governor's Award for Teaching Excellence (2003) and was named John Ashley Cotton Scholar in the Humanities (2000-03).
 
Dr. Young is available to do presentations related to any of these books. He may be reached at bill.young@westminster-mo.edu.