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Exploring the Brain Through World Religions and the Ethical Care of Planet Earth

Exploring the Brain Through World Religions and the Ethical Care of Planet Earth


Religion can be a powerful motivator for people of faith to embrace and commit to a critical cause and stay with it. This class will introduce basic teachings of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism (along with a session on American indigenous religions) that persuade believers to embrace the creation and health of our planet and take action to protect it. 


We will explore:

  • basic beliefs of each major faith
  • its concept of the origin of the Earth
  • divine involvement in creating and sustaining physical life
  • imperatives for human care of the planet
  • examples of that care where we can see faith in action in current world history 
  • Students will have an opportunity to investigate and report on issues of personal interest provoked by our discussions.


  • Recommended for: Ages 13+ / Grades 8-9 
  • Instructor: Dr. Greg Richard, Georgia Bonney
  • Day and Time: Thursdays, 12:45-1:45 PM ET
  • Duration: 4 classes
  • Dates: September 14 - October 5, 2023


Dr. Greg is the founder and director of the Middle Grades Ethics Project, helping middle schools, parents, and law enforcement foster positive values and development for students and their communities. He studies and teaches on the character development and ethics education of young teens, including the influence of adolescent brain biology on moral judgment and risk-taking. ​


Greg’s interdisciplinary doctoral program examined the role of parents and other significant adults in nurturing core values and risk aversion. His doctoral dissertation, Measuring the Effect of Parent Involvement in a Middle School Ethics Curriculum on Parent-Adolescent Communication, was based on his research in developmental psychology, brain biology, and ethics education. 


Earlier, as a school chaplain, Greg developed academic programs in ethics for junior high and high school students and related education for parents. As a pastor in Beverly Hills, he founded a parent education and early childhood center.


He is the author of Ethics for Young Adults: A Workbook (Kazanjian Foundation) and When Someone You Know Is Hurting: What You Can Do to Help (Zondervan/Harper Paperbacks).  Greg considers the experience of raising two sons with his wife Debbie the foundational preparation for his work with young people, parents, and educators. 


Teaching style: lecture, current events, group discussion, student sharing, engagement with subject material


Student Reviews for Dr. Greg:

  • Dr. Greg is the best teacher I’ve ever had. He was prepared and organized and he presented the subject and story really well. He made it real and pertained to things that exist today and was very relatable. I really really enjoyed his teaching style, and I’m looking forward to next week. EJ, student

  • Dr. Greg is an awesome teacher. In every class, he thoughtfully listened to my questions, comments, and opinions. He cares about his students and shows it. His knowledge of psychology always amazed me, and my interest in the subject has grown significantly since taking his classes. I’m excited to sign up for another class with Dr. Greg! —Esther, student

  • I enjoy Dr. Greg’s classes because he is such a passionate teacher. I can tell he really loves his students and cares about them. He also has lots of knowledge of his subjects and can give very helpful and good advice. I loved how students used his Ethic’s workbook for classes and homework. —Abigail, student


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