At university, we are regularly confronted by myriad ideas which make us question the world and our place in it. It’s a hotbed of freedom, curiosity and enquiry. However, markedly absent from the discourse has always been a meaningful engagement with the institution of faith. Its rejection in public discourse has resulted in a crude, black-and-white and superficial arguments. Outside the various clubs and societies dedicated to specific faiths, it is no secret that religion is a topic which most students are indifferent to.
Religion is not a monolithic institution. It is a force that has moulded different societies in countless ways, over millennia. As a result, it means many different things to the 68% of Australians who identify as religious. Besides the reductionism replete in discussions of religion as a broad institution, it also manifest when we address specific religions. There’s more to Buddhism than meditation. Not all Christians are evangelists. By the same token, people who identify as atheists do not necessarily do so out of apathy, as opposed to a calculated decision.
The USU initiated Interfaith Week in 2011 to provide a platform which encourages meaningful discussion of religion. They have various forums to encourage a frank and respectful discussion of how ethical decisions are made, the role and relevance of religion in the 21st century and the broader issue of a greater purpose in life. It’s an exciting place to consider the super-natural without the antagonism that people perceive to be inherent to it. You should go.
Interfaith week is on September 2nd to 6th