The Importance Of Interfaith

The Importance Of Interfaith

Now more than ever.
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Currently I am in a class about interfaith and bringing the different religious communities in my city together. The goal is to gain a better understanding of one another and build new meaningful relationships within our community. Interfaith is important because we live in a society that shuns the “other,” we disregard what we don’t know and look down on those who don’t share our same beliefs. With the hateful atmosphere that surrounds us more and more every day, this idea becomes crucial.

Now more than ever it is important to attempt to reach across the boundaries of where we feel safe and comfortable, and form bonds with those we maybe don’t understand. There is an immense amount of religious diversity in the United States, and lately we’ve seen the way people of certain faiths are treated based on the actions of a few and the preconceived notions we’ve been conditioned to believe.

People make up their minds about a group of people without even knowing them. What we need to do is gain the knowledge about people of differing religions, once we have the knowledge our attitudes will change, and then we can form meaningful relationships that will change our perspectives forever.

The question then arises: how do we get people to bridge the waters between assumption and hatred, to inquiry and understanding? It takes keeping an open mind about things and those we don’t understand, it takes being open to the opinions and beliefs of others, and it takes the efforts of many. This kind of movement cannot be done by the few, the only way to measure the success of interfaith and pluralism is to gain the support of many.

We need to be respectful of the fact that not everyone will believe the same things as one another, we need to use inclusive language in regards to religion and religious holidays, and we need to remember that the actions of a select number of people do not reflect the group as a whole.

What does interfaith look like? It is people researching and learning what other religions are about; the first step to removing the feeling of the “other” is to understand them. This could also mean visiting different religious gatherings, seeing what their services are like, seeing how they worship, and finding the similarities we all share.

People are drawing lines between one another and picking sides. We are a country split by the most trivial things that could be overlooked by a basic knowledge and understanding of one another. We need to change our attitudes about those that are different than we are and bridge the gap to form crucial bonds. The climate our country is currently in begs us to come together as a community more than ever.

So lets stop blaming entire groups of people for the actions of a few, lets stop shaming things and people that are different than we are, and lets get to know one another. There doesn’t have to be an “us” and a “them,” we don’t have to live that way. Embrace difference and educate yourself on what you don’t understand. You could be missing out on valuable relationships just because of fear of what you don’t know.

Cover Image Credit: Abel Tan Jun Yang/Pexels.com

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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5 Reasons Jesuit Teachings Apply To Your Life

How we can all apply Jesuit values to the modern world.

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Oh, the acclaimed Jesuits. The Catholic order renowned for their emphasis on education and their attention to social justice. Jesuits (or the Society of Jesus), however, also promote specific values that are applicable in the changing times we live in. After four years at a Jesuit high school, I took away these lessons from what I learned in the Jesuit tradition.

1. Discernment

It is so necessary for everyone - children, teens, and adults - to have a solid foundation for a decision-making process. Today, we are faced with more choices than ever and can become so caught up in the short-term results that we lose sight of important factors along the way. The Jesuit value of discernment aims to take into consideration each possibility and to truly reflect on each option as honestly as possible. This decision-making process of recognizing and reflecting is an essential step that not only advocates for Ignatian spirituality, but also for a healthier mindset.

2. Finding God in all things

Often, we become so lost in our media-centered world that we disregard the good that is all around us. In the United States, it is so divided that, many times, it is difficult to see any good in others who disagree with us, but it is so crucial to recognize the need for love in every community. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, we can take this value and use it to remind ourselves to always acknowledge this necessity. To even attempt to find God in all things can go a long way in solving issues that plague our society today.

3. Magis

"More." To be magis is to be above the status quo - which may be hard, especially for young people in the social media age we are in, however it is so heavily pushed in the Jesuit tradition because it is a call to not only be more, but to love more. It is so easy to find fault with others, but the Jesuit idea of magis pushes for us to look past our differences and reflect on our own need for love. We must keep in mind this mission to love more in all that we do.

4. Cura personalis

"Care for the Whole Person." In the society we live in, we often forget to keep in mind our need for health - and not just physical. We forget that our mental, emotional, and spiritual health are just as important. In our social media and political-focused society, it is important to remember that we must, first and foremost, take into consideration our personal health in mind, body, and spirit in order to fully engage in our world.

5. Men and women with and for others

Most, if not all, organized religions strive for this concept: serving the less fortunate. The way Jesuits differ in this ideal is that even though we are called to serve those who are less fortunate and give to those who need it, we are also called, at the same time, to stand with these people in their struggles. And while many religious orders present this common theme of solidarity, Jesuits make it a point that it is not enough to give to charity and look at "the poor" as people to throw money and volunteering time at, it is imperative that, by standing with these groups, we reflect on our own lives and how we can fix social structures to make life better for everyone.

"Go forth and set the world on fire." - St. Ignatius of Loyola

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