Religious Traditions Share Common Bonds at Interfaith PanelFebruary 6, 2015

The panelists at Rockhurst University’s third interfaith panel might be coming from different religious backgrounds and traditions, but they found that they have a lot in common, as well.
Students representing the traditions of Protestant Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Catholicism, Hinduism and Islam related their own experiences and traditions to both each other’s faiths and to the mission and values of Rockhurst University.
Maureen Walsh, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of theology and religious studies and the moderator of the panel, said the event coincided with the U.N. Interfaith Harmony Week, which provided a parallel to the aim of the panel.
“Interfaith Harmony Week was premised on the idea that all religions can agree on love of the good and love of the neighbor,” she said.
Each of the students in the panel were asked to answer three different questions, one of which focused on the Jesuit core value of cura personalis, or care for the whole person, the University’s chosen core value for the current academic year. Each tied the concept to their own faith experience, along with a quote from a religious text. One of the panelists, Faye Temrutrynit, said she found much in the Buddhist tradition that spoke to the idea of cura personalis.
“I think it’s so great that it reflects the idea that you don’t focus on yourself; that you focus on the people around you, that you all come together to form this world that we live in,” she said.
Following a brief round of comments from the panelists, audience members were given a chance to ask their own questions. Bill Kriege, assistant director of campus ministry, said providing that opportunity to draw comparisons is part of the reason that the University started the panel tradition.
“We wanted it to be a respectful discussion of what we share and what makes us different,” he said. “And people have easily adopted that spirit. Everyone who comes to the interfaith panels is eager to learn more, so this has really been a great exchange of religions.”

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