The Chicago based Interfaith Youth Core founder and executive director, Eboo Patel, urged students on Nov. 1 to mobilize for interfaith cooperation during the annual Lund-Gill lecture in the Rosary Chapel.
“Twenty-first century religion can be a bubble of isolation, it can be a barrier of division, it can be a bottle of destruction or it can be a bridge of cooperation,” Patel, this year’s Lund-Gill Chair, said. “Those of us who seek to advance the bridge have to be proud and have to be proactive.”
Patel argued that a cooperation of interfaith literacy in the United States serves as a means to create smaller communities of peace to serve as role models for the world.
Patel, recalling an era of anti-Catholicism before and up to John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, described the negative religious attitudes of the nation. The question presented — “What would you think, if the only thing you knew about Islam is 9/11, if the only thing you knew about Catholicism are the headlines over the past ten years?”— harnessed the thought-provoking ideas Patel related to the formation of negative attitudes.
“Appreciative knowledge and positive relationships open up peoples’ attitudes and as people have a more open attitude towards other religious traditions and religious communities they seek more positive knowledge, they seek more proactive and appreciative relationships,” Patel said.
After his lecture, he answered Donna Carol’s question which asked, “why college students?” Patel said college students have the most energy and motivation to inspire others to participate in interfaith cooperation.
In 2010, Dominican entered into a formal, multi-year partnership with Patel’s Interfaith Youth Core. The goal of this partnership is to advance a culture of interfaith cooperation and understanding on campus.