Starting a conversation with someone — ranging from your friend next door to God — can help with daily obstacles.
The Center for Religion and the Peter C. Hereld House for Jewish Life hosted Feeding Your Faith on Oct. 19.
It focused on an open dialogue regarding social justice amongst the Catholic and Jewish traditions.
Feeding Your Faith has been an active conversation for seven years, with each event focusing on different topics such as immigration, death and abortion. Its purpose is to promote religious literacy and learn how your peers interact based on faith. Feeding Your Faith brings perspective between religion and topical issues to light.
Executive Director of University Religious Life Jordan Lenaghan led the conversation with a couple questions.
“We hear (about) social justice so often in our world,” Lenaghan said. “All new questions were raised on ethics and justice. How does an individual relate to another individual? How does an individual relate to society?”
Lenaghan emphasized the book of Genesis is about the respect of human dignity. As individuals, we have different relationships from citizen to citizen and to society. People take the faith they learned and apply it to their everyday lives.
“Our religious perspective doesn’t rely on the system, it relies on the purpose,” Lenaghan said.
Rabbi Reena Judd explained there are times when the Jewish community struggled with its relationship with God. However, the Jews rationalized that God made all. Although a constant conversation with God might not be there for some, the values still remain.
“They (values and God) feed off each other,” Judd said. “We can have motivation without the direct impacts of religion.” Haley Organ, a sophomore theater major, shared her
experience at L’Taken, a program to expose public policy issues and explore Jewish values for advocacy according to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s website.
At L’Taken, Organ said she is passionate about climate change issues. However, her drive to promote advocacy does not come from being Jewish. Organ is motivated by religion and the sake of having positive intentions for our society.
“Beliefs are taught,” Organ said. “There is a driving force (from religion) for being a good person.”
There is an impression that religion is private, and people are bound to keep their religious views sacred. During the Feeding Your Faith conversation, Lenaghan said that there is no privacy when it comes to religion. There is a communication aspect — religion is how people relate to one another.
Currently, we see a decline in how in touch people are with their religion. According to a Pew Research study, 43% of Americans under 40 say that “religion is very important to them.” That is 17% less than Americans over 40.
We see people in our society passively involved in religion. It is more than a single society interacting with each other on a daily basis. People from different religions have linked together in many perspectives for today’s social justice issues. For example, people from a community may have different beliefs based on their environments.
“No two people have the same religion,” Lenaghan said.
Although there are thousands of people practicing one religion, their environments are completely different. The beauty of religion is that there is not one answer set in stone or a way of thinking. People are able to use their faith and interpret it in any form.