Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Comparative Religion

Rev. Dale Furr

A person never realizes how much they don’t know until they pursue knowledge. I’m not sure if that statement has ever been made in exactly that context before, but it is the key impression that I am left with after participating in the Comparative Religion course presented by Rev. Kythera Ann. This feeling is also being reinforced by my participation in other ULC Seminary courses. 

I must mention that each step taken with ULC has been extremely tentative. The greatest hurdle for me to overcome was determining the legitimacy of the product offered by ULC. Indulging my curiosity was the foremost reason for any of my investments in the student courses. So from a position of speculation, I began a journey into a very surprising and rewarding experience. Immediately, from Lesson One, I was captivated by the accuracy and the depth of the course. Throughout each of the following lessons there remained a consistent and very thorough quality to the information. The massive topic that is Comparative Religion obviously cannot create experts from merely 20 lessons. But a key, and wonderful element to this course was the recommended reading, links and activities suggested by the instructor. The amount of information shared with the students and the unbiased presentation also greatly enhanced the validity of the course. I enjoyed being able to find and research literature made easily accessible by Rev. Ann. Returning to a point made earlier, each step I have taken with ULC has been made tentatively. The moment I became a minister, I was, and perhaps still am, moving in a direction opposite to the religious teachings impressed on me in the past by a multitude of sources. In my own heart, moving towards a more scientific view of the universe, pre-history, the future, and my own existence, seemed in conflict with becoming a minister. It was from that conflict that sparked a curiosity into what other belief systems existed. Thus leading me to engage in this course. I feel as if I am being drawn into this experience. What was not being taken seriously before is now a very important part of my weekly activities. Although my own deductions about why we are here and what lies ahead do not match the established mega-religions philosophies I have been able to glean several helpful ideas in my search for truth. I was simply impressed with the course construction, subject matter, and impartiality.

There are a couple of things that may be useful in enhancing the experience of taking this course. There was such a wonderful and vast amount of literature made available throughout the course that perhaps a short book review, report, or opinion paper could be required beyond the final essay. For example, I treasure the acquisition of a couple books I previously knew nothing about that actually were quite famous. I would not have purchased them had they not come up through the ULC courses. They have greatly added to my knowledge, and out of simple appreciation for mentioning the literature, a paper could be justified for at least one of the mentioned books.

I am looking through all the different lessons I received at this very moment. It is with pleasure that I remember the time invested in following up on Rev. Ann’s research and delving into totally foreign topics. With the aid of this course, my understanding of the history, ideology, behavior and multi-faceted nature of human beliefs has been greatly expanded. The last lesson of Comparative Religion Part I may be in my possession but the usefulness of the material and research opportunities will keep me busy for quite some time.

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