The ESU Global Week event, “misBELIEF- Beyond Stereotypes,” captivated a crowd of students in Beers Lec-ture Hall on Wednesday, April 5 at 7 p.m.
Hosted by Director of Student Engagement, Fernando Alcantar, the evening proceeded with a discussion amongst religious beliefs.
Initially, the religions discussed were narrowed down to three: Judaism, Christianity, and Atheism.
Additionally, as anticipated by Alcantar, the discussion was divided into four specifics categories: homosexuality, the role of women, extremism, and a topic of the speaker’s choice. Throughout the night, students were educated within these religions. Also, opportunities were given to ask any un-answered questions and receive clarification on specific beliefs.
The same opportunities were given to speakers amongst each other.
On behalf of these religions, a group of five ESU students spoke, each one equally partak-ing to the discussion.
Representing Judaism were: Sophomore and President of the Jewish Student Organization Helene Albertson, Freshman and Treasurer of the Jewish Stu-dent Organization Alyssa Ziner, and Junior and Vice President of Kappa Delta Rho Garrett Stromfeld.
Representing Christian-ity was Senior and President of Christian Fellowship James Osinski. Representing Atheism was Junior and Station Manager of 90.3 WESS FM Jillian Deiley. With no time to waste, Alcantar directly centered his at-tention toward the categories.
As he and the speakers went through each one, hands were held up high for questions and answers. Several students showed a deal of interest in the discussion, whether it may be for their religion or for another.
Frequently, speakers cited the Bible’s say in the subject matters. Sometimes in defense of their own.
Yet, each speaker gave a clear explanation of their knowl-edge toward the categories.
Albertson shared of how Judaism does not accept homosexuality, however it is not en-tirely forbidden. They may get involved in pride parades, alike American citizens. Osinski notified the audi-ence that Christianity does not accept the sexual belief.
“The misconception here is that ‘Christian’s hate homosexuals.’ That is not the case. We still love people, we still care for a lot of people. When we talk to someone. The first place we go is telling them what the Bible says, through Jesus,” said Osinski. He continued, “We still care for the people despite that we don’t accept it.”
On the contrary, the fac-tor that Atheism does not have a standard or a scripture leads to them not having anything against homosexuality.
All the same, there are still Atheists who are against it. Onto the next subject, the role of women received a lot of viewpoints.
Initially, Deiley began stating how a person can be Atheist, and still be sexist. “For me personally, the role in women should be the same as in regular society. That is in progression. Right now, we are in an interesting phrase in women, and I think the goal is to keep that going,” shared Deiley.
Moreover, in Christianity, the first question that is asked amongst women’s roles is: “How are they valued?” In the discussion, the audience was informed of how the Bible values men and women equally. “The first people Jesus ap-peared to were women.
Women in that time didn’t have value in society. So, all the people that Jesus could first appear to, to announce his return, he goes to women,” said Osinski. On behalf of Judaism, Ziner discussed how women are not entirely disrespected, but they are limited (compared to men). Usually, an orthodox woman may either be covered up, or ordered to return home, despite the occasion. The reason being that women were required to care for their families, which in defined having to cook, clean, and care for the children.
“Speaking from the first-born woman in my family, I have done all of that. Like, I have been taken out of school to take care of the house. To just make sure the home is where it’s at: 100%,” said Ziner. Additionally, women can speak to God whenever they so choose.
On the contrary, for God to hear men, there had to be a certain number of men praying.
A member from the audience asked the Judaism group, “Where do you find your power as a woman in your religion? Are you able to speak to God clearly, do you find him some-where else, or do you feel like you are at a disadvantage?”
Ziner responded, “I find the advantage of being able to pray to God. In my experience, I have never felt degraded being a woman in Judaism.” Most women in the audience viewed it as an advantage, and that they were all right with get-ting pulled out of school. Due to how it was for God, they accepted it.
A question Osinski asked Ziner was: “Why is it that women can pray directly to God and men cannot?”
Zinner responded, “There is not one reason. It is also that when we go to the Torah, men can touch it too. So, there are so many things that men can do, like they could wear anything they want. For a long time, they tried to separate us in a way that we can reach God. So, we get the vow to talk to him.”
Other questions consisted of the possibility of having a female priest in the future and women having certain rules. Continuing the discussion, the topic ‘extremism,” was spoken of. During this category, the audience was informed of how often people take things from the Bible out of context.
As stated by Osinski, people are screaming out to others, ‘We are going to hell, you are going to hell.’
“If any of you are upperclassmen, there is always this one lady who would come here once a year, and she would do that. She would go around cam-pus and be like, ‘you are going to hell, you are going to hell,’” said Osinski. He continued, “I tell her, ‘you are not helpful. I am a Christian on this campus. I run a Bible study and we are talking to people. You should not be doing this.’”
In Atheism, extremism content will always exist.
“Number is power,” shared Deiley. She added, “Whenever you hear any sort of information, it is your responsibility to analyze it correctly. It is a responsibility on humanity to do the research and to take the time to understand. Not to believe the first thing that you hear.”
In Judaism, a very orthodox community exists.
As the discussion ended, everyone wandered around the lecture hall, each one anxious to exchange thoughts and feelings toward the chosen categories.
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