< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Project Conversion Talk by Andrew Bowen

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Project Conversion Talk by Andrew Bowen

John and I went over to Lenoir Rhyne University tonight for their Institute for Faith and Learning series. Speaker Andrew Bowen spent the year of 2011 immersed in 12 different religions (or belief systems) trying to overcome his hatred of “other” religions.

In picking his 12 he decided they had to be ones he didn’t really know anything about and condemned. He also tried to pick ones that had Holy Days during that month so he could learn more and more quickly.

The 12 were: Hinduism, Baha’i, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism, Agnosticism, Latter-Day-Saints, Wicca, Catholicism, Islam, Sikhism and Jainism. And he had a mentor for each.

Each month was divided the same way. Week 1 was religious practices, worship and ritual. Week 2; culture and art. Week 3; social issues and conflicts and week 4; personal reflection. (What stereotype did he use to have that had changed? What could he take from them and use in his own life?)

After a year he said he was able to “see the humanity in all people” and felt like he overcame his hatred. But he lost his Christian faith. When asked by a member of the audience what religion he believes in now he said, “None really. Sort of a blend that probably leans toward Buddhism."

I found this all somewhat shallow and very sad. I kept thinking how God had kept the Israelites in Egypt apart from others so they would stay strong in their belief and this guy did the opposite and it did just what God said it would.

When he was talking about the mentors he said the only ones who tried to convert him were the 2 from the Latter-Day-Saints.

Good for them!

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At 12:46 PM, Blogger Heather Upside Down Homeschooling said...

Hi Nancy, this is Andrew Bowen.

I appreciate your attending my talk at Lenoir-Rhyne University. It appears you paid close attention to the structure of the Project Conversion process, however your end notes and quotes are inaccurate.

You mentioned that I lost my Christianity, but made it appear as if the Project Conversion journey itself was the catalyst for this choice. It was not. I had lost my faith in Christianity years before the onset of Project Conversion, and in fact held great animosity toward Christians. Project Conversion cured me of that hatred toward Christians and members of other faiths.

You also misquoted me, saying that I had no faith and that I've blended them into something that leans toward Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist. The examples I used were in describing my position toward the existence of a God(s). The philosophy I follow today is independent of the faiths I followed for a year and is born from that experience.

Again, I appreciate your attendance at the talk, but please be sure to accurately portray your findings in future blog posts.


Andrew Bowen

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Hi Andrew,

I'm sorry I misquoted you about leaning toward Buddhism. I'm still pretty sure when a member of the audience asked, which religion you were now you said it would have to be most like Buddhism. That's what I consider leaning toward - maybe I chose the wrong term.


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