Coming to public television stations around the country is the documentary “The Asian & Abrahamic Religions: A Divine Encounter in America“:
“The Asian and Abrahamic Religions: A Divine Encounter in America” explores the beliefs, practices and rituals of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism. Examining the similarities and differences with the Abrahamic religions, how they perceive each other, confront prejudice and stereotypes and how they can understand and respect one another. The primary aim of the documentary is to demystify the Asian religions; the misconceptions and stereotypes that many Americans have about them, and to show the deep historical roots of the Asian religions in America.
Jerry Krell, producer of the film said, “Appearing in this documentary are: Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany, who is the father of fiber optics and collector of important religious Sikh art.
Jerry told that the team photographed the impressive works, which have been exhibited worldwide and are in the permanent collection at the Asian art museum in San Francisco. Also, they videotaped noted author, and columnist Jessi Kaur, who speaks as well in her interview about the importance of the turban in Sikh religion. Dr Jasbir Singh Kang, prominent Yuba City physician and author of “Punjabi Migration to the United States” was also interviewed. In Stockton, California, at the oldest Sikh Gurdwara in the United States, Dr. Bruce La Brack, Professor of Anthropology and International Studies at University of Pacific and author ‘the Sikhs of Northern California’ and ‘Sikhs in the United States’ was also interviewed.
While the primary aim of this is to educate Americans on these faiths, I find their secondary aim to be very significant:
The documentary is also meant to help audiences find greater understanding of these religions as ways to refine and deepen their faith in their own religions; and clarify how they define their own identity.
It is not just about educating Americans about ourselves, but about ourselves learning what it is to be American.