Interfaith dialogue focuses on religious unity

Healing the Divide encourages acceptance among religions

Religious experts came together for "Healing the Divide: Interfaith Dialogue" on Nov. 16 at Lynn University. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and atheist beliefs were discussed during an open question and answer forum guided by Dr. Mark Luttio, associate professor of religion at Lynn.

"In a world increasingly marked by division, it benefits us to promote unity and understanding," said Luttio. "Lynn is committed to promoting an environment where religious differences are not simply tolerated but celebrated."

Religious leaders gathered in Lynn's Snyder Sanctuary
Religious leaders gathered in Lynn's Snyder Sanctuary for an interfaith discussion.

Over 150 guests gathered in the university’s Snyder Sanctuary, a space designed for people of all faiths and belief systems to visit for contemplative thought, spiritual exploration, meditation, music and celebration. Speakers included:

  • Rabbi Barry Silver (Reform Judaism)
  • Rabbi Mark Winer (Reform Judaism)
  • Rev. Warren Witter (Evangelical Christian)
  • Shaikh Shafayat Mohammed (Muslim imam)
  • Rev. Renwick Bell (Mainline Protestant)
  • Ken Loukinen (President of Florida Atheists)
  • Fr. Martin Devereaux (Roman Catholic)
  • Dr. Harika Rao (Hinduism)
  • Shokai (Zen Buddhist)

Silver expressed that all religions have unique theories. For example, Judaism has developed over time and revolves around the idea that there are no particular privileges to being Jewish, only specific responsibilities.

Shokai brought light to Buddhist principles of inclusivity, peace, love and compassion—qualities that all speakers agreed are important in serving others regardless of their beliefs.

"What students experienced here was true dialogue,” added Luttio. “What I wanted them to take from this event was sense of hope in making a change in the world since we have the ability to hold valuable conversations as we leave our differences behind."

Lynn will host a series of events in the Snyder Sanctuary, including An Evening of Chamber Music and Poems, The Labyrinth Walk and Guided Meditation.

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