News

Capitol crisis calls for a pastor-in-chief

Author: Mahan Mirza, Ansari Institute Executive Director

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The January 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, DC, is just the beginning. It came as advertised; it was televised; and the perpetrators are promising more to come. We are now transitioning to an administration the rioters have been programmed to view as illegitimate. Combining their sense of disenfranchisement with deep feelings of being disrespected for generations, the rioters place us in danger of seeing the insurrection transformed into an all-out insurgency.

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Panel discussion features Jewish, Christian, and Muslim perspectives on Mideast peace

Author: Josh Stowe

Peace In Absentia

A recent Ansari Institute panel discussion, “Peace in Absentia: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Voices on Arab-Israeli Normalization,” explored religious perspectives on how to pursue a sustainable peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The conversation was co-sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, Program in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, and Department of Classics. 

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“Everyday Religion” class unpacks faith’s crucial role in belief

Author: Josh Stowe

In recent weeks, Everyday Religion in a World of Many Faiths has explored multiple arguments for the existence of God. Class participants have weighed and debated different cases for religious belief. But the latest session took a different approach. This time, classmates explored the importance of faith in justifying belief.

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Grappling with the problem of evil in “Everyday Religion” class

Author: Josh Stowe

How does one reconcile God’s existence with the undeniable existence of evil in the world? If God is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful, how can he permit evil to exist?That was the question participants wrestled with in the latest session of Everyday Religion in a World of Many Faiths, a free, online class offered by the Ansari Institute.

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A finely tuned universe points to God in “Everyday Religion” class

Author: Josh Stowe

Our universe is finely tuned to support life. If, for instance, the Big Bang, gravity, or electromagnetic force were just slightly weaker, life would not exist. And since this did not happen by chance or necessity, that points to the existence of an intelligent designer—God. Participants explored this argument during the latest session of Everyday Religion in a World of Many Faiths, a free, online class offered by the Ansari Institute.

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Arguing for God’s existence in “Everyday Religion” class

Author: Josh Stowe

Is it possible to have a philosophical and rational proof of God’s existence? One answer comes in the form of another question: Why is there something rather than nothing? This question, articulated by the 18th-century German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, animated the most recent session of Everyday Religion in a World of Many Faiths.

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“Everyday Religion” class explores religious pluralism

Author: Josh Stowe

What if there are a plurality of paths to salvation, and each of the great world religions offers such a path? Participants discussed this idea of religious pluralism, which is articulated in the Hindu parable about the blind men and the elephant, during the third session of Everyday Religion in a World of Many Faiths. The class, offered by the Ansari Institute, meets online Thursday evenings and is free and open to the public.

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“Everyday Religion” class delves into religious diversity

Author: Josh Stowe

When one encounters the rich diversity of the world’s religions, working to understand different faith traditions can promote tolerance, interreligious dialogue, and peace. This was the idea students explored during the second session of “Everyday Religion in a World of Many Faiths.” The class, offered by the Ansari Institute, meets online Thursday evenings and is free and open to the public.

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“Everyday Religion” online class begins, exploring big questions

Author: Josh Stowe

How can we navigate the ups and downs of life? What goes into our decisions? How do understanding and judgement differ? And what is the role of philosophy in helping us to understand the world? These were among the big questions students wrestled with during the first session of the Ansari Institute’s new online class, “Everyday Religion in a World of Many Faiths.” The class, which is free and open to the public, started Sept. 3 and will meet on Thursday evenings for 10 weeks, through Nov. 5.

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Spatiality and subjectivity: Code-switching as resident and researcher during COVID-19

Author: Lailatul Fitriyah

Lailatul Fitriyah2

Undertaking research in my Indonesian home removes the somewhat convenient compartmentalization between my private and public lives. It transforms my home into a liminal space in which I experience my Indonesian and American identities within the same place. While this shift can be unsettling, it also has its advantages.

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Ansari Institute to help change the conversation about religion with new grant

Author: Josh Stowe

Asari Discussion

Thanks to a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion will host a series of workshops that will help change the conversation about religion by bringing journalists, scholars, and faith practitioners together to learn from each other and better communicate their perspectives.

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Thresholds: Reflecting on faith, transformation, and countering racism amid COVID-19

Author: Emma Wright

Emmawright

For me, as a Christian and soon-to-be seminarian, racism is not a political or social issue—it is a God issue. And anti-racism is a daily spiritual practice. The conversations I’m having with my Omani friends about countering racism as people of faith has not only deepened our mutual trust but expanded my understandings of Islam, Christianity, and God.

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Veils and leggings: Gender roles in Indiana, Oman, and beyond

Author: Elizabeth Boyle

Elizabeth Boyle

This time last year, a mother of two young sons wrote to our campus newspaper urging young women to avoid wearing leggings during Basilica Mass because it was distracting for her sons and other young men. The opinion piece spread like wildfire and found its way into various prominent media outlets, such as the Boston Globe…

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Your freedom, my restriction: Rethinking religious freedom at home and abroad

Author: Julia French

Julia French

Once I was displaced from my familiar American surroundings at the University of Notre Dame where Christianity is built into the very bricks of the school, I wrestled with these notions of religious freedom and tolerance throughout our time in Oman. The conversations I had with classmates have challenged me to rethink how many assumptions I carry about my own country, and to recognize what I take for granted in being part of the preferred religion of the United States.

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Amid a pandemic, exploring Islam and migration in Istanbul

Author: Rafael Vallejo

Vallejo Web Cropped

I started writing this blog at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, here in a cosmopolitan city that has been known by many names: Byzantium, Constantinople, Nova Roma, Istanbul. Or “Islambul,” according to the folk etymological preference of the current president to highlight the Islamic character of the city. I am sipping Turkish coffee at a café overlooking the Bosphorus, after a hurried visit to Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom). This wonder of Byzantine architecture was built in 537 CE and was once the largest cathedral in all of Christendom.

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From Mecca to Mitt: Religion, politics, and COVID-19

Author: Mahan Mirza, Ansari Institute Executive Director

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The second caliph of Islam, ‘Umar b. al-Khattab (r. 634-644 CE), is reported to have said that even if a dog were to die on the banks of the Euphrates River, he would be held accountable. Other reports say he spoke of a camel or sheep, or perhaps the Nile instead of the Euphrates. These details don’t change the meaning. As the leader of the fledgling Muslim community, it was ‘Umar’s responsibility to provide for the sustenance and care for all beings, even the very least of them, to the farthest stretches of his authority.…

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From silicon to sand: Engaging religion in a global classroom

Author: Mahan Mirza, Ansari Institute Executive Director

Mahan In Oman Featured

The ship of capitalism set sail centuries ago. Its goods have reached the four corners of the world. The sands of the desert have become the silicon for microchips. Technology has changed the world, most certainly for the better, but pandemics remind us of our precarity. Are we going too fast? Can we build more resilience into our global system? Can its fruits be better shared among all? On the shores of Oman, at the crossroads of Africa and Asia, we were reminded of these questions, as we experienced a different rhythm of life, where, for a few days, strangers became like family, and we saw the possibility of a different world.

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