August 16, 2013

“On Common Ground” Now Available Online!

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Pluralism Project! I am delighted to share with you the launch of an online and updated version of On Common Ground: World Religions in America. You can view the press release on our website at www.pluralism.org.

For fifteen years, the CD-ROM version of On Common Ground (Columbia University Press) has been a go-to resource on religious diversity in America for teachers, professors, students, clergyClergy are the body of ordained men (and in some cases women) who are authorized to perform the priestly, pastoral, or rabbinical duties of the community—as distinct from the laity whom they serve., community leaders, and media professionals. Over the years, many of you have expressed your hope for an online version of this wonderful resource. We’ve echoed your excitement and are pleased that this new version of On Common Ground is now online and available free of charge.

In the new online version, the time-tested educational structure of the On Common Ground CD-ROM is replicated and enhanced. We have:

• added new sections on HumanismHumanism is a belief system that values reason, compassion, and hope. Emphasis is placed on human concerns and that which can contribute to human flourishing. Dogmas or creeds that in any way impede these foci are disregarded and humanity is thought to be... and Unitariana belief in one God that rejects the three persons of the Trinity that has much in common with the belief in the early Christian church about the superiority of God over Jesus and the Anti-Trinitarian writing that emerged during the Protestant Reformation... UniversalismUniversalism is a belief in universal salvation, that is, that all people are eventually reconciled with God and united in heaven. Universalists began organizing as a denomination around this core belief in 1793. They merged with the Unitarians to form th... to America’s Many Religions and developed new content on the experiences of Muslims and SikhsSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... post-9/11;

• expanded America’s Changing Religious Landscape by including interactive maps of religious diversity in select cities across the U.S. which incorporate both census data and information from the Pluralism Project Directory of Religious Centers (a database that now includes well over 10,000 entries);

• explored new versions of old challenges by integrating new materials and weblinks into Encountering Religious Diversity, further building on a rich cache of historical examples, documents, news stories, and videos that highlight the many ways in which Americans experience our new multireligious reality.

We invite you to take a brief survey about your experience of the new On Common Ground Online. As our thanks, we will randomly select to two survey respondents to receive a Pluralism Project t-shirt and a copy of the DVD Fremont, USA. Those who complete the survey and wish to be considered for a prize are asked to please respond to the survey by 5pm EST on September 3, 2013.

The Pluralism Project is grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. which was a major funder of the original On Common Ground CD-ROM as well as the new version On Common Ground Online. This project would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and dedication of generations of Pluralism Project affiliates, researchers, staff, students, and the communities we both study and seek to serve. Thank you.

We look forward to hearing your responses to OCG!

With all best wishes,

Diana Eck