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November 8th, 2006


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06:31 pm - Univeristy Interfaith?
I have just returned from my first Univeristy Interfaith Association meeting.

It was a very interesting experience.

Now, for some background, about four years ago, I made the following statement:

"I see interfaith debate as counter-productive to religion."

The reasons for that statement are rather varied, but in particular, it was a reaction to the various invitations to "interfaith" debate that was really an invitation to a "why aren't you Christian yet" debate, which were the only sort of "interfaith dialogues" I had ever had at the time.

Over the past three or so years, I've softened my stance on interfaith dialogue, been involved with Muslim dialogue groups, and become comfortable enough in my conversations with people to call them on things like the "why aren't you Christian yet" debate.

I serve as the primary contact for the University Interfaith Association at the Office of Information Technology at Ohio State. This particular facet of my job was one of the first things I was ever given full charge of when I started here. I never really thought much about it: it was a job task, one that I did because I had to.

But recently, I started looking into what they do. It seems that they're extremely accepting, and generally full of good people. I realized that I hadn't been treating this particular customer as well as I could have, and so I asked my boss if I could go to one of their meetings, which are open and have guest speakers.

Sara said yes, so long as I tell them I'm a representative from the campus Satanists.

Well, I didn't do that, but I did get in touch with my contact there and ask if I could show up, and where it was. He said I most certainly could, so I made the plans.

This morning, I walked in, was welcomed, and sat down next to my contact. I learned a lot about counseling from the nice lady who was speaking, and a lot about how the University deals with spirituality, religion, and religious diversity.

And I found myself wondering if I really ought to be working with them. . . more than just as their OIT contact.

There's more to come on this front, I think. New territory, new directions.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: "If the Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me", -JB

(8 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:sans_mal
Date:November 8th, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
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Sounds like it was an educational and "enlightening" experience.

And

It sounds like you are gonna have get a bigger plate - cause I know you keep the one you have full :-)

Will
Love

Ron
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From:singingwren
Date:November 9th, 2006 03:17 am (UTC)
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I still don't understand if this is a group for students or a group for faculty and advisers.
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From:chronarchy
Date:November 9th, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
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Neither. It's actually mostly a group of clergy who have no affiliation with the university but work with the surrounding churches, individual student groups, or communities of students within the university.
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From:singingwren
Date:November 9th, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC)
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Ahh, that would explain my confusion at their website. :)

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From:ramona66
Date:November 9th, 2006 09:34 pm (UTC)
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so, why aren't you a christian yet?
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From:nontacitare
Date:November 9th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
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I've found that Interfaith organizations tend to more tolerant than the Pagan community in general. They take seriously the idea of respect for all religions, Christian or not.

"I see interfaith debate as counter-productive to religion."

I agree with this statement. Interfaith debate boils down to "Why my religion is right and yours sucks." I prefer interfaith dialog, when people can share their beliefs without trying to convert or belittle others.

I suspect you'll enjoy working with University Interfaith.

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From:gothicdruid
Date:November 10th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
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I've found that Interfaith organizations tend to more tolerant than the Pagan community in general. They take seriously the idea of respect for all religions, Christian or not.

Of course, "the Pagan community in general" isn't an interfaith organization, so the comparison as you've worded it here (which I've sort of seen from time-to-time over the years) is specious at best (interfaith orgs being--rather by definition--given to tolerance as a core principle). If you're comparing "Pagan interfaith organizations" to "interfaith organizations in general," then I'd say my own experience has been rather different and leave it at that...
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From:nontacitare
Date:November 10th, 2006 04:44 am (UTC)
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Of course, "the Pagan community in general" isn't an interfaith organization, so the comparison as you've worded it here (which I've sort of seen from time-to-time over the years) is specious at best

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the Pagan community is an interfaith organization. What I've noticed over the years in my involvement with several university interfaith organizations is that a number of people outside those organizations (not just Pagans) assume that interfaith organizations are comprised of Christians trying to proselytize, which has not been my experience. I was trying to re-emphasize Mike's observation that interfaith organizations tend to be made up of accepting, open-minded people who most likely will not discriminate against Pagans or any other religion, and encourage him to follow through, because I think he'd enjoy the experience and find it rewarding.

I do think a case can be made that any time Pagans of different religions gather for some common purpose related to faith (Pagan meet-ups, Pagan Pride Day, PSG, Witches' Balls, etc.) that they become on some level de facto (if not not necessarily recognized by the participants) interfaith groups.

But you're right, "the Pagan community" is very broad and vague, and I apologize for my use of it.

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