Tomorrow (Saturday), a student group at CWRU will be hosting an inter-religious program at the Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom, followed by a panel discussion. The first part from 5:00-6:00 pm consists of some kind of inter-religious celebration led by people from Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu traditions and includes a dinner. From 6:00-7:00 pm, the campus Catholic chaplain and I will join those four for the panel discussion
The organizers have asked students to submit questions. Here are the questions submitted so far:
- What are some ways to create dialogue among inter-religious groups?
- When and how did ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ religions branch off from one another?
- Why would you choose not to believe in God? Is this an unanswerable question?
- Can science and religion co-exist?
- What are the best resources for learning about other religions?
- What are the specifics for each religion on community service?
- Do Hindu people have a weekly service the same as many other religions?
- How similar are all religions? Are we all practicing the same thing and just calling it something different?
- How does science affect religious belief? Why do they conflict??
- If someone is not affiliated with any religion, can they be religious?
In general I find the Q/A sessions after a talk more interesting than the talk itself. The questions submitted by the audience also tend to be more interesting because they are usually more concrete and are often of real concern to people, rather than abstract ones of the kind that appeal to more academic types. After a talk once, I had a student ask me whether he should tell his religious grandmother (whom he was very fond of and she of him) that he had become an atheist and if so, how he should go about it without creating a rift between them. This sounds like a very specific question but often such concrete questions can give rise to quite deep insights.