How Faith Can Unite Rather Than Divide
Talking about religion can lead to disagreement and conflict, but Colby’s new Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life Kurt Nelson is hoping a new initiative, the Multi-Faith Council, will instead lead to understanding and community.
Nelson recently invited students representing Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions, as well as agnostics and atheists and others with no religious or spiritual affiliation, to gather regularly, share food, and learn from one another.
Jimmy O'Leary ’15 and Jennifer Breau ’16 participate in an open gathering of the Multi-Faith Council in the lounge in Lorimer Chapel. Photo by Sarah Asif '16.
His hope is that dialogue about issues of faith and spirituality will help students understand the diverse belief systems on campus and help to resolve conflicts. The conversations, which initially attracted about 20 students, cover pertinent issues on campus, personal stories about faith, and planning for future service projects.
The idea for the Multi-Faith Council is “to help build a vision of community across lines of difference,” Nelson said. It is about “helping the community understand that we can build relationships and discourse even when we disagree on important matters, and without ignoring that difference.”
Nelson hopes his efforts to help Colby students engage in meaningful conversation about faith will provide an opportunity for the Colby community to allow religion and spirituality to unify instead of divide.
Photo by Sarah Asif ’16