Talking to Your Children About Other Religions by Ryan Stollar (link)
Growing up, I was always interested in world religions. While I accepted Jesus into my heart as a little kid, I was nonetheless fascinated by faiths that were not my own. Some of my favorite books were the D’Aulaires’ books for children on Greek and Norse mythology. I loved the fantastical stories they contained. The images of gods and goddesses fighting and playing filled my imagination with wonder and inspiration.
But the Christian evangelical world I grew up in did not encourage me to pursue my interest in other religions. As I grew older, the only times I studied them was to learn how to attack them—allegedly for the sake of Jesus. When I attended Summit Ministries, for example, I was taught flimsy, cardboard caricatures of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. And even then, I was only taught those caricatures so I could memorize catchphrases with which I could supposedly refute them.
Now that I am an adult, I have a greater appreciation for world religions. Part of my journey towards this appreciation was getting my Masters in Eastern Classics at St. John’s College, where I studied religions from China, India, and Japan. For the first time in my life, I really got to appreciate religions other than my own. No one was telling me what was “wrong” with them. No one was interrupting my train of thought by telling me, “But Jesus!” I simply got to learn what other people and cultures think about the world.