Divinity’s Secret Love Song: An Investigation Into The Relationship Between Humanity and The Divine Through The Lens of Sacred Narratives

Kevin Poe head shot

Name: Kevin Poe
Major: Religious Studies, Philosophy
Minor: South Asian Studies
Advisors: Mark Graham, Elizabeth Schiltz

Research Supported by the Copeland Fund

In December of 2022 I traveled to Bodh Gaya, India to interview pilgrims on their relationship to the Divine through the lens of the stories they hold dear. What I discovered was a rich tapestry of personally meaningful narratives that point to the important role which sacred stories play in their spiritual lives. I participated and observed in Buddhist pilgrimage to sacred sites, attended talks with sacred people such as the Dalai Lama and Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, and interviewed 13 individuals from diverse backgrounds on their relationship to the Divine. These interviews and experiences reveal that narrative is an innate part of religious experience. In this presentation on chapter 6 of my senior IS, I analyze this ethnographic research to argue for two main themes to how religious narratives influence people’s personal relationships to the Divine. First, I argue that it is through stories that we are situated within a narrative world in which we find ourselves in relationship with the Divine. Sacred narratives situate us in a world where we are able to interpret the Divine nature of self and others. Second, I examine how stories act as the glue which binds sacred times, places, and people together in a web of meaning. This paper is just a small piece of a much larger project which argues for a way of doing comparative philosophy of religion with a focus on shared value of narrative.

Best Incorporation of Study Abroad Experience Award

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 14, 2023.

One response to “Divinity’s Secret Love Song: An Investigation Into The Relationship Between Humanity and The Divine Through The Lens of Sacred Narratives”

  1. Mark Graham says:

    Hey Kevin — I think this turned out really well! Your project with the videos is a great sample of your work, and how IS works. Thanks for doing this!

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