A pamphlet away from tolerance

February 2, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Religious tolerance starts with breaking away from the impatience that often plagues skeptics.

Aaron Grierson

The Silhouette


Last week was World Religions Day. Between hearsay and personal attendance, the event seemed rather busy throughout most of the day. Unfortunately due to my class schedule I missed most of the events. But hearing about the list of events that took place, it sounded like attendees were not disappointed or bored. The passing of the Day brought the question of faith to the forefront of my mind. Not so much as a question of my personal belief but the question of people and religion. The student body, faith and MASH aside, it seems like most people couldn’t care less about religion or faith, at least as far as their days on campus are concerned.

That may be one of the primary issues though: that many people may take faith so seriously that they’re not comfortable expressing or exploring it at school. Open Circle, one of the non-denominational groups that contributed that day, facilitating their own event, Try on a Spiritual Practice. The event embodies one of the major elements of Open Circle, as they welcome and aid in the exploration of one’s spirituality, that is religion, if you like, or any interaction with other people or the world around us. This is one of the many groups on campus that help facilitate exploration of broad, important and personal issues.

Each of these factors makes me wonder why it is that faith is so taboo. We live in a country with a great number of freedoms and a student and faculty body that provides all kinds of support and, at least in my experience, a safe and welcoming environment to deal with personal issues. Yet the idea of having a personal belief in something, anything at all, or perhaps nothing, seems widely characterized as a stereotype between the fervently religious and staunch atheists. But anyone that knows any religious or atheistic group, inside of or outside of Mac, probably knows that this dichotomy is false in a lot of cases. Most people seem to be fairly level-headed, if a little excited about their personal faiths, save for the few that make the stereotype come true.

As the stereotype is well seated in our minds though, one has to wonder why it got there the way it is.

If so many people feel so strongly about the portrayal of a certain religious group, due to popular figures in the media or excited randoms, does that mean, in some way, they have a positive view of faith on a personal level?

Even if that is a strong inclination to some unexplored agnosticism or a bunch of unanswered questions, it seems as though those views should be pursued in some reasonable manner. Perhaps not as dinner table conversation but at one of the many open groups on campus, amongst friends or maybe just randomly one day with one of the Campus For Christ representatives who seem to quite plentiful. They won’t have all the answers, but it could be enlightening for both people.

It might seem like one more item on the pile of homework we’re all going to be getting soon, but if you have questions about faith, religion or spirituality, try asking them.

If four years in university have taught me anything, it’s that asking questions can be the best way to learn anything. Even if it’s asking multiple people the same question to see the variety of the world that we live in.

Besides, the worst that can happen is a disagreement, or that you get an advertisement you’ll never read, and walking away from both can ensure the use of the proper receptacle.

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