University of San Francisco (USF), premier Catholic and Jesuit institute of higher learning in USA founded in 1855, offers various classes in Hinduism.
Courses include “Hinduism” (ancient, classical, medieval, modern and contemporary), “Trialog: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity”, “Religion and Spirituality in Asia” (which includes Hinduism), etc.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, described USF’s approach as “a step in the right direction”.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that religion was a complex element of our lives and religion comprised much more than one’s own individual experience or specific tradition. God, as a sign of God’s munificence and benevolence, constructively wished presence of different faiths.
Rajan Zed urged the schools/departments of religion and philosophy of major world universities to strengthen their Hinduism sections. Hinduism being the oldest religion with rich philosophical thought and a vast array of scriptures needed more exploration. Zed especially asked the Harvard, Cambridge, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Stanford, Columbia, McGill, Australian National, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, Uppsala, and Utrecht universities to further enrich their Hinduism resources.
USF, whose about 87,000 alumni live in 111 countries, offers 100 degree programs to over 9,000 students. Its sports teams have won eight national championships since 1949, including four in men’s soccer, three in men’s basketball, and one in men’s tennis. Its MBA program is rated as one of the best 100 in the world. Annual tuition can be up to $40,464. Father Reverend Stephen A. Privett is President, while Lois A. Lorentzen is Chair of the Theology and Religious Studies Department.
Roman Catholics, headed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, are the largest denomination of Christianity with about 1.17 billion adherents out of which Jesuits form the largest single religious order of priests and brothers. Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about a billion followers and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.