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About Dr. James Rowell

James L Rowell.jpg

   Hello and welcome to my blog "Meaning of Religion". I’m Dr. James Rowell, and let me introduce myself. I’m a New Englander, a Star Wars and Tolkien fan, with a long-term interest in religion. I finished my Doctorate in Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. I began as a full-time teacher of religion  in 2006.  My views here are my own.  They do not represent any of the institutions I’ve been at.  My own view has been "Christian Universalist", which affirms the moral truth of Christianity, while embracing the value of many other religions and perspectives as part of a meaningful whole. 

     What is my purpose here? First, I am not backing a particular institutional view of religion. I am very interested and curious about what religions mean to different people. I want to broadly understand life and what religion means. Second, theistic, atheistic, and agnostic views will be examined, and hopefully none neglected. In the modern world I think we need to take all religions and perspectives seriously.  Everyone has a viewpoint, however, so what is mine? I would describe myself as Christian Universalist. That simply means I find the Christian religion morally and spiritually compelling, in the first part. The Universalist part means that I don’t think Christians have a monopoly on truth – moral or metaphysical. I believe other religions and viewpoints can be fulfilling, and that if there is a God that judges, then God would look at the mind and the heart, not the group membership, as most important. 

   For the most part, however, my primary aim is to understand, not really to convert. If you agree with my views, great, if you don’t, at least I hope you keep reading. My business is really not to claim to know it all, but to try to make sense of it the best I can. Mostly I am interested in moral, political, philosophical and scientific questions about religion, so I will probably get to a variety of subjects.  I grew up with a liberal Protestant Christian background but realized early on that there were many other religions and perspectives to understand. So, I have spent much of my life trying to understand them properly.

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