Last Tuesday, February 29, Newcastle University’s Students’ Union hosted an open faith discussion in Venue.
The event featured representatives from the Atheist and Secular Humanist Society, CathSoc, ISoc and the Christian Union, however the Jewish Society were unable to attend.
Over 50 people attended the event that aimed to give students of all religions the confidence to discuss their beliefs openly with others.
The event was introduced by the University Chaplain Catherine Lack and chaired by Sophie Harris, the faith and belief officer.
During the discussion, the audience asked such questions as ‘how does your belief system affect you in daily life?’, ‘both the Bible and Quran claim to be the inerrant word of God, yet there are contradictions. Please comment’, ‘what do you think your faith has brought to wider society in the past and what do you think it is bringing in current times?’ and ‘what aspects of the other faiths here do you admire?’
Activities officer Hannah Goring said: ‘We were keen to host an event with a more relaxed, conversational feel, as the whole purpose of these events is to equip students who have different belief systems with the confidence and language to openly discuss their beliefs with others.
‘We presented ‘big questions’ to the room and then had them discuss the question themselves before feeding back to the panel.
‘We had some really enlightening responses, both from the panel and the attendees. One student summed it up perfectly when she commented that people are afraid to talk opening about religion and beliefs and it is through talking with each other and gaining an understanding of each other’s beliefs that we can create an ultimately more peaceful and loving inter-faith global community.
‘Following this feedback we received on the night, we are keen to try and organise another inter-faith event before the end of the academic year.’
President of the Athetist and Secular Humanist society said: ‘We recognise that while not everyone shares the same views on this subject, we all must do our best to understand one another and live harmoniously.
‘This event was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about not just the the beliefs that others hold, but more crucially why they hold them.’
Despite being unable to attend, president of the Jewish society and a member of last year’s panel, Anna Ehrlich said: ‘In a world where there is still so much racism and hatred, inter-faith events are just one tiny thing we can do to prevent conflict and bring people together.
“We all must do our best to understand one another and live harmoniously.”
I hope the event went well last week and I am disappointed i couldn’t make it, but if it was anything like last years event I’m sure it was a really positive, educational experience which was enjoyed by everyone. It also enable the building of bridges between the faith societies at the university