Building religious understanding

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Many students call Utah Valley a ‘bubble,’ but in reality there are 40 different faiths represented in the Utah Valley area.

The Interfaith Student Association was founded at UVU 15 years ago to promote religious liberty and expel religious misconceptions. Anyone college age can join. The association exists to support students to live their faith. The ISA met on Wednesday. The topic was: “Charity: The Golden Rule.”

The group spoke about generosity and kindness. Chaplain Linda Walton spoke about how homeless people are often misunderstood. She said we should cultivate greater understanding and good will towards all people. She recommended giving thank you cards, flowers and performing small acts of kindness to those who are less appreciated and loved. She said that often she send cards to her local police officers and government officials who often receive negative attention.

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Religion can be a sensitive subject. For the Interfaith Student Association, it is a discussed topic which allows greater understanding.
Although ISA has members from all types of beliefs, the group members agree on basic moral principles.

“We all agree to disagree,” said Walton. “We talk about our common values, such as the golden rule. There is some form of the golden rule in every religion.”

All members agreed charity is important. Acts of charity are therapeutic, reduce stress and enable one to have a better attitude said Walton. By giving one receives, she said. Walton encouraged the group members to be courteous especially in uncomfortable situations.

“I learned that I need to put myself out there a lot more,” said Kenna McKay, majoring in Fine Arts at UVU. “I would like to learn about customs of other faiths. I don’t want to offend anyone.”

The ISA provides greater cultural sensitivity for students. It also seeks to provide resources about all types of religions for the decisive college years. It features different religions at the meetings and website to allow for greater understanding.

“I am interested in getting to know about other faiths because I want to be more accepting of other faiths,” said Paul Peterson, UVU student majoring in Behavioral Sciences.

Learning about other religions and beliefs is insightful according to the members of ISA.

“We want to get on all campuses and expand to the whole state,” said Walton.

 

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