Interfaith Friday goal to bridge gaps, create understanding

By Jordan Smith News Editor

SDSU is offering an interesting opportunity for students to gain insight on nine different religious traditions. Students, faculty, staff and guests are invited to the Interfaith Friday panel discussion that will be held this Friday, April 18, from noon to 1 p.m. in The Union in room 169A.

Nine panelists from Lutheranism, Islam, Indigenous Peoples Faiths, Catholicism, Hinduism, Judaism and Baha’i will be in attendance to answer students’ questions and facilitate discussion.

According to Dean of Students Sam Jennings II, all panelists are volunteers, and no individual will be expected to represent an entire community or belief system.

“If you look at what is going on around the world, it is a great time to discuss diversity,” said Diversity Director Jamie Nolan.

The goal of the seminar is to offer a place of education and understanding of different faiths.

“The goal is to highlight education about different faith communities on campus,” said Philosophy and Religion Instructor Arthur Murphy.

The structure is meant to be a question and answer session between the panel and students. The panel consists of adults of faith from the community. Murphy will serve as a professor of religion on the panel. Students should feel free to ask questions. The goal is to be a student-oriented and an open faith environment.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to have dialogue and conversation amongst different religious groups,” Nolan said.

Interfaith Friday is an opportunity for students, staff and community members to sit around a table and talk about different religious themes and shared beliefs and shared values to better inform the public.

“The goal is to foster a sense of civility,” Murphy said. “The purpose is not to convert or spread one religion but truly to educate and formulate a sense of community.” 

According to Jennings, future panels can and should include other belief systems not in attendance at this discussion.

“If anyone is curious about other spiritual beliefs, it is a place to create a better understanding,” Nolan said.