Presented by the Interfaith Council of Thanks-Giving Foundation, Perkins School of Theology, and the Dallas Institute

Religion is almost always a community affair, not merely a private practice. And religious communities always exist in some relationship with the wider society of which they and their members are apart. Yet religions vary in their understanding of what role their communities and members should play in the larger society, and why. They have different understandings of how their members should address the greater community and its needs. We could say that they have different theologies of social engagement, or different ideas about how faith is put into practice in a social setting.

The 2020-21 Faiths in Conversation Series will explore what different religions teach as the guiding principles and goals for their participation in social life beyond their own religious community. Aimed at offering people of all cultures, faith, and traditions opportunities to learn about the religions of their neighbors, the monthly sessions will approach relevant topics of faith from academic–and accessible–perspectives, with audience participation encouraged.

The Fall series, all online, will focus on “Religion in Society” from the perspectives of the major faith traditions, featuring Shinto, Islam, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Hindu, and Christian traditions.

Session 1: Shinto Religion in Society
Monday, September 14, 4-5:30 pm

Session 2
Monday, October 5, 4-5:30 pm

Session 3
Monday, November 2, 4-5:30 pm

Session 4
Monday, December 7, 4-5:30pm

Free admission; donations appreciated!



Monday, September 14, 4-5:30 pm


JAMES MARK SHIELDS is Professor of Comparative Humanities and Asian Thought and was Inaugural Director of the Humanities Center at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA). Educated at McGill University (Canada), the University of Cambridge (UK), and Kyoto University (Japan), he conducts research on modern Buddhist thought, Japanese philosophy, comparative ethics and philosophy of religion. He is author of Critical Buddhism: Engaging with Modern Japanese Buddhist Thought (Ashgate, 2011), Against Harmony: Progressive and Radical Buddhism in Modern Japan (Oxford, 2017), and co-editor of Teaching Buddhism in the West: From the Wheel to the Web (Routledge, 2003), Buddhist Responses to Globalization (Lexington, 2014), and The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics (Oxford, 2018).


DR. SHIRA L. LANDER (B.A., Yale University, M.H.L., Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is Professor of Practice and Director of Jewish Studies specializing in late antique Judaism and Christianity. Her book, Ritual Spaces and Religious Rivalries in Late Roman North Africa (Cambridge, 2016), explores why religious groups competed over and destroyed sites considered holy. Lander previously was the Anna Smith Fine Senior Lecturer of Jewish Studies at Rice University, where she taught in the departments of Religious Studies and History. Before moving to Texas, she taught at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Delaware, and Princeton University. Her areas of interest include Jewish-Christian relations, sacred space, martyrdom, religious violence, and material culture. Her current research project explores images of synagogues in medieval manuscripts.