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American Academy of Religions

From: M. K. Krishnaswamy (
Date: Wed Feb 07 2001 - 07:59:29 PST

Dear members,
I join in offering congratulations to Smt. Vasudha Narayanan.
Information regarding the American Academy of Religions is available from their web-site. I was much impressed by the statement of their objectives which is given in the section "Overview" in the web-page:
"AAR members find the academic study of religion intrinsically interesting because people often express their deepest values in forms of religious symbolic behavior, whether in ritual settings, creedal statements, or in their ordinary ways of living. Throughout history religion has been a vital source for some of our greatest artistic and literary achievements. The religious imagination can give us access to insights which could not be garnered in any other way, insights that can play an important role in helping to foster social harmony, especially in times of rapid social change. It is also the case that many of the world's major conflicts have religious differences ingredient in them. Making sense of these conflicts requires understanding the role religion plays in them and the resources religion may bring to their resolution. 

The study of religion is a tool for understanding and appreciating people whose beliefs and practices often seem strange and threatening. While religious studies helps make those who are different more familiar, it also helps us learn more about who we are. By studying religious traditions that are near at hand, our own world emerges more clearly and becomes more meaningful. 

This desire for a more nuanced appreciation of others and a keener understanding of ourselves provides part of the rationale for the AAR's development from a small group of scholars in 1909 to its current status as the largest, most comprehensive association dedicated to promoting the academic study of religion. The AAR welcomes inquiry into all religious traditions, as well as all human activities associated with religion. It is inclusive of the whole range of methodologies and theories in the human sciences. "  

M.K. Krishnaswamy

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           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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