"I had no idea," wrote one of my Intro to Religion students, a middle-aged man who works in information technology, "that there were entire fields of the history and philosophy of religion. I thought either you believed in it or you didn't, and that was that." He went on to ask for some reading suggestions and, realizing that he is far from alone, I'm working on a list today to send out tonight after the final exam.
Most of my students are considerably younger, typical college freshmen and sophomores. About half are Catholic, some having been educated in Catholic schools all of their lives; one is Jewish; one, though Catholic herself, is from a predominantly Muslim majority country. Few of them arrived in the first class in possession of more than a passing acquaintance with the academic study of religion. We've studied Freud and Tillich, the documentary hypothesis and gospel parallels, and the tiniest bit of Hinduism and Islam.
I'd love some suggestions for my list, which I'm calling Reading for the Next Decade. I have Dostoyevsky and C.S. Lewis and Shakepeare and Robert Barron and Heschel and Elizabeth Johnson and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and a list of poets. I'm about to eyeball our own library and head over to the RevGals and to Quotidian Grace for more ideas.
If you could make a few suggestions to a college student, what would they be?