Christianity for the Rest of Us

Christianity for the Rest of Us

Buddha, Shiva, Muhammad and Moses: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

My daughter is finishing sixth grade at a school that teaches world religions to middle schoolers.  This year, they studied Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam.  Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) comes next year.  The program is wonderful, designed by a passionate young teacher who is working on her Ph.D. in religious studies at the University of Virginia.  The children learn about world culture, politics, geography and history through the lens of religious beliefs and practices.  
For fun, I wanted to share one of her final exam questions: “If Buddha, Shiva, Muhammad and Moses all had dinner together, what do you think they would talk about? Write a creative dialogue between these four religious figures. Each should speak at least once and his words should show an understanding of his beliefs.”
How would you answer?  What do you think Buddha, Shiva, Muhammad and Moses might talk about?
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posted June 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

They would talk about how everybody wants to look at the finger pointing to the moon instead of looking at the moon itself; how people focus on the messenger and not the message. They would discuss what to do about this problem.

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Diana Butler Bass

posted June 10, 2010 at 7:55 pm

On my Facebook page, I loved the following comments:
“I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t invite Shiva to dinner!”
“They were gossiping about Jesus because he wasn’t there.”
“Mohammed: ‘I said NO pictures!'”
“I love forcing the Buddha to talk!”
“Probably a more civil conservation than would be had by Luther, Calvin, Cranmer and Zwingli!”

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posted June 10, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Your daughter’s curriculum sounds like what my children received when they were growing up in the UU church. Am glad your daughter is getting this education. IMO it is important to understand more religions than the one a person belongs to. Wish more children had a chance to get this information early in life. Maybe it would help with tolerance for other’s beliefs.

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posted June 11, 2010 at 3:35 am

One point of criticism: Shiva is a Hindu god, while the other two are human figures on the “prophet” or “founder” level. Shiva does not really fit in this company. The question should have included Krishna or Rama instead of Shiva.
Moses: “Is this kosher?”
Muhammad: “And halaal?”
Krishna: “Is there a vegetarian menu?”
Buddha: “”
Moses: “Sid, are you OK? You seem awfully quiet?”
Krishna: “Ssssht, he’s meditating.”
Muhammad: “Meditation is overrated, if you ask me. I got my message directly from an angel. How about you, Moe?”
Moses: “I’ll see your angel and raise you. The boss appeared to me directly as a burning bush. Krish, what’s your spiel?”
Krishna: “I am an avatar of Vishnu, remember? That was me in the bush.”
Moses: “In a sense.”
Krishna: “In a sense.”
Buddha: “All dinner is suffering”
Muhammad: “He’s back. Come on, Sid. Drop the pessimism for once and let’s enjoy dinner”
Moses: “Hear, hear … that’s not shellfish, is it?”
Buddha: “Enjoyment is impermanent. There’s no real point to any of this.”
Krishna: “True. But let’s pretend there is, anyway. Something to keep us busy for the next billion years or so.”
Moses: “Krish, sounds like you’re still involved with that Maya character?”
Muhammad: “Isn’t Sid’s mum called Maya? Oh, sorry Sid, I forgot she died when you were young.”
Buddha: “No relation. And we all die sooner or later.”
Krishna: “What a party pooper.”

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posted June 11, 2010 at 4:06 am

religion was made up by man to control and gain power of the world.. god doesnt need a religion or a book to explain himself.god is everyone and everything.its not that god can move a mountain its god is that there free will? no sorry ..god makes himself into a man say jesus and plays with all his toys who believe there is free will,like a child playing with his little green army men.. well yes this game feels very real to we are only forced to play.. i will now play or i mean god is playing……if all these holy people showed up for dinner they would say what ever the people who wrote thier religion would want them to say.. religion is a middle man made by thieves… you dont need religion to talk to god just talk to him

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posted July 11, 2010 at 11:32 pm

The kind of education that your daughter is getting should be the way what everyone else should be put through. When we know our own religion, understand it and trust our religion, it is only then will be able to understand and relate to others belief in their religion. We’ll be able understand the feeling of the person regarding his religion. If you are look with a broader mind you can always learn something good from all the religions.
christian discipleship

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posted August 12, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I believe they would taste and eat mindfully and bathe in the divine radiance that pervades “what is.”

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posted April 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I love to read these posts!

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