A new bi-weekly, discussion-based television show titled, Exploring Religions, produced by Outreach Video and Media Services is aimed at showing members of the Norman community various sides of religion. So far, guests have included those from the Islamic faith, the Church of Christ, and the Church of the Nazarene.
Leading the discussion each week will be Joe Ted Miller, who retired in 2002 as pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church after nearly 40 years in the ministry. Miller was interested in participating in the show because of the content, his own interest in where religion came from, differences in religious beliefs, his own experience with ministers from different churches and questions from people from denominations other than his own.
Because a growing number of people today ask questions such as “Why religion?,” “What is religion?” and “What could substitute for religion?” this show is important, as well as in helping people know more about different religions, Miller said.
The next show will air at 7 p.m. on Sept. 4 on Channel 125 and will feature David Spain of the First Christian Church of Norman. The newest episode will then be aired at 7 p.m. each night, with earlier episodes airing 5-7 p.m.
“I think the community has a strong interest in learning about different religions, and even about their own faith they might learn something in an interview that hadn’t occurred to them before,” said Angela Nicholson, studio director and project coordinator for Video and Media Services. “As part of Outreach, I think it is our job to keep people informed.”
The slogan for the show is “Open Mind, Open Heart,” and Nicholson said she thinks starting off the show with Islam was “the best thing” they could have done because it underscores that slogan. Miller hopes to examine other religious and spiritual traditions, including secularism, naturalism, Scientology, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
The timeline for how long the show will continue is currently undetermined, but Video and Media Services is booked to film a new episode every other week through Thanksgiving, according to Nicholson, who expects the filming to go beyond that date. The idea for the show came from Dr. James Pappas, vice president for University Outreach.