Spirituality explored among students

By Carol Dwyer
March 23, 2011

A discussion focusing on faith and spirituality took place on Wednesday, March 16, from 3:30-4:20 p.m. on the 2nd floor conference room at Holy Spirit Library, hosted by the Student Diversity Office. A small group of students attended to share their thoughts, beginning with a question of what religion and spirituality meant to those present.

Felicia Melvin, junior communication major, said she felt like religion is more standardized, while spirituality is what a person makes of it.

“I’m Catholic and have been Catholic all my life, and have had experiences where I felt God’s presence,” Melvin said. “I don’t need to be in church to have that kind of spiritual moment.”

This is an example of how people can have their beliefs and be religious or spiritual to the degree they choose, while not physically at a formal place of worship.

Many people may choose to follow their beliefs at home as their faith feels more personal to them that way.

Regarding the idea of doing good throughout life, the importance of doing so for the right reasons came up during the discussion.

“Most people do it out of fear of God,” Mary Jacobs, junior English and communication major, said. “I find that to be a falsehood of good.”

This reflects the idea that when people do good, it should really come from the heard and be a genuinely good act on their part.

If someone volunteers, there is different meaning behind if he or she does it just to add to look good for a college or an employer, or if it is something they really believe in helping with.

“I do believe that there are a lot of people who are not religious, but do a lot of good,” John McDevitt, senior sociology major, said. “Those are the kind of people we want to associate with in this world.”

In modern times, we have witnessed people such as Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) and Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005). The Mother Teresa website states that she was deemed a saint in October 2003. According to AOL News, Pope John Paul II is to be named a saint on May 1.

“I like saints because they’re very tangible for me,” Jacobs said. “I feel that it’s very admirable, what they do for their god.”

This reflects the idea that people may sometimes find it difficult to believe in something that they can’t see. Therefore the symbols of a religion are objects are important to people as they help to strengthen what they believe.

Student Diversity Office staff Melissa Morris said that most people want to do the right thing.

“I think there’s a discipline in morality,” Morris said.

An example of this could be if a person started their life going down a path of crime. Before going too far and getting into more and more serious offenses, that person realizes that he or she needs to change and really works at it to live better. Maybe he or she takes efforts to a higher level and pursues a field of study that translates to a career in helping others in troubled paths.

“I think that the world religions have a lot of core principles that they share in common,” McDevitt said.

According to a comparison chart on religion facts, the Buddhist belief system includes the avoidance of suffering. This is similar to the 10 Commandments of Christianity, as it lists the bad things that followers should not do.

The Religion Facts website states that Hinduism also has a similar list, called the 10 Commitments, which include “do not harm” and “do not lie,” yet do good deeds.

Religion Facts states also that Islam’s Qur’an is against greediness and that those who are better off should help those in need. In Judaism, the Religion Facts chart states that people of the Jewish faith believe in “living ethically.”

These examples reflect the common beliefs in doing good that different religions share, as well as common deeds that people should not do.

According to Cabrini’s mission statement, the college respects the beliefs of other religions so that all will feel comfortable and welcome on campus.

Also, the Student Diversity Office is available to add to the college community’s openness to people of all faiths.


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Carol Dwyer

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