Various religious organizations spread their knowledge on differing beliefs and traditions through interfaith dialogue

Members of different religious organizations at Trinity are making an effort to get closer to one another through interfaith dialogue, which is a fairly new practice.

“We realized that all of the religious organizations aren’t really communicating with each other that much,” said Adam Syed, a senior music composition major and co-president of the Muslim Student Association.

“We wanted to get people together to discuss other viewpoints and share their perspectives, as well as see how different perspectives can be similar even when they’re from different faiths,” Syed said.

Religious organizations such as the Muslim Student Association, Jewish Student Association and Catholic Student Group, engaged in their first interfaith dialogue session on February 15, 2016.

“I think people really enjoyed sharing opinions and hearing other people’s thoughts in a faith environment. It would be really good if this occurs consistently so that people have this outlet to share,” Syed said.

The interfaith dialogue event back in February was not only a great way for students to share their thoughts on their own perspectives, but also for them to learn  more about religions that are totally different from theirs.

“I thought it was a success. We were at a table with some Catholic Student Group members. They were all curious to know about the Jewish culture and we asked questions about Christianity,” said Ruth Lavenda, a junior psychology major and president of the Jewish Student Association.

Maintaining a space where different organizations can engage in interfaith dialogue has proved beneficial for students of several different religions.

“I have a varied religious background myself, so I have a really good sense of those differences and similarities between different approaches. I also see that every religion I am familiar with thinks helping and respecting others are good things,”  said Luke Ayers, a sophomore economics and religion major and member of Catholic Student Group and Intervarsity.

Although not every religious group on campus was present at the February session, many of them still welcome the opportunity to discuss different religious traditions with the hopes of finding a sense of unison with each other.

“Interfaith dialogue is important to RUF, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss with different religious traditions and groups on campus. We have not had much opportunity to engage in interfaith dialogue with other groups at Trinity, but we welcome ideas and invitations to dialogue,” said Erika Hochstein, a senior biology major and member of Reformed University Fellowship.

Even before this first interfaith dialogue gathering, some religious organizations did work closely with each other, such as Intervarsity and Catholic Student Group, to accomplish a mutual goal.

“Last year we were able to partner up with Intervarsity. There was a 24-hour prayer session, so people would go into Lightner Tea Room and there would always someone in there praying for something,” said Janett Muñoz, a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major and member of Catholic Student Group.

Trinity Diversity Connection has a number of events planned for the future, including discussions, so that organizations can continue sharing their beliefs and traditions with one another and spread religious knowledge.