Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pluralism in Loyola

During Eboo Patel’s visit, he focused on the main point of his book, Pluralism. What he means by pluralism is respecting each other’s beliefs, not only of religion, but also in areas such as politics or races. He told us about being part of something bigger like participating in community service events. Even if we are people of different religions, we should all work together, and we should not care if we have different gods because there is always a common purpose in every religion, and that is to give service to others. When a diverse group of people works as a community, they learn about other religions and also reinforce all the knowledge they have about their own, it makes them closer to their own beliefs. Pluralism is a special quality that should be included in every area of our lives.
Here in Loyola pluralism plays an important role, for example everybody has respect for people of other religions, races and sexual orientation. This idea has been enforced by the Jesuit community and faculty, especially by providing us with Eboo Patel’s book “Acts of Faith”. After reading this book and going to Dr. Patel’s conference, I realized how important Pluralism is in our society, it is something that has always been there, but we have not given it thought. We need it to connect with people of other religions and make our environment healthier. I remember reading the first chapters of his book in which he talks about terrorists and how older people go to them in moments of confusion and convince them of doing the most terrible things that one can ever imagine. We as people in school, who have big futures ahead of us and we should provide service in order to prevent these bad people from influencing those in moments of crisis. In one of the stories in “Acts of Faith” One of the teenagers was unsure about his religion until he met someone who through Islam teachings told him to bomb a train, and that is what he did. We want to prevent this to protect our future society and Dr. Patel tells us how to do it, through Pluralism.
In Theme for English B by Langson Hughes he talks about who we are and what defines us. In Dr. Patel’s book, he talks about identity through Pluralism by getting to know other religions, but deciding what we like about our own and having our own identity. This is very important in society because it makes every single person original and special for their qualities and values. We should not let others define who we are or what we like, this is part of the Jesuit education at Loyola.
Also in Queens 1963 by Julia Alvarez, she tells us a story of how she and her family came to Queens in New York and it was a very diverse neighborhood and because people of different races lived there, the price of the houses was decreasing. She thought of how this free country would be if it had not foreigners, it would be wild. This is one of the reasons why we should respect other religions and have no prejudice. We want to live in a free country, but we have to get rid of intolerance between races, religions and other beliefs.
The Jesuit education here at Loyola helps us understand other religions as well as ours, because if we know about others, we develop our own identity. This idea is what Eboo Patel talks about in his book Acts of Faith and Langston Hughes in his poem Theme for English B. Also in Queens 1963 by Julia Alvarez, we see how important it is to respect others for whom they are and not their race or their religion. We provide service and we are part of something bigger, like Dr. Patel said, we are all bricks and if we all work together, we can all make a bridge.

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