World Religions Panel

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By: Dayton Bissett

A celebration of diversity and unity took place at the world religions panel in Blum 222 last Wednesday.

This was an important event that helped anyone who wanted to come get a more broad understanding of four different religions and how those religions play a role in our community.  

Dr. Jay Lemanski explains what the world religions panel is all about.

“This event is designed to encourage understanding between communities of different faiths,” Lemanski said. “Given that there’s so much conflict, sometimes based on religious principles and reasons, a better understanding of different faith communities is very important.”

Four people of different religions came and spoke at the event. The four religions that were spoken about were Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

Student Leo Grantham gave an introduction at the panel.

“We’re aiming to build community between these different religious groups and to the different religious groups on campus,” Grantham said. “The point of this panel is to give a better understanding of people outside of our own circle and even to people inside our own circle.”

The speakers representing their religions were asked questions in which they did not have a long time to answer. Lemanski would ask each of the heartfelt questions and all four of the speakers would answer one right after another.

“What is the purpose and role of religion in your community?” Lemanski asked.

President of the Islamic Society of Greater St. Joseph, Ramadhan Washington had one minute to give his answer.

“The moral teaching of Quran teaches us that the religion of Islam should consist of a community of people calling to all that is good, enjoying the good and fighting the wrong,” Ramadhan said.

This was a very important panel because it gave different perspectives and gave a reason to appreciate diversity. It gave everyone who attended a chance to come together and listen to four people with different views talk about those different views and community.

Grantham explains why people need to know about different religions and point of views.

“We’re part of a cosmopolitan world,” Grantham said. “We can no longer afford to be isolationists. We’re living with one another. Part of living together is understanding one another and appreciating one another, even if we don’t agree. That appreciation can occur only through education.”

Lead pastor of the First Christian Church of St. Joseph, Brian Kirk gives his answer of what the purpose and role of religion is in his community.

“The purpose of religion is to create a community where we support one another,” Kirk said.