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Unity in Diversity: Connection despite misconceptions

Religion has been subjected to many forms of misconception, brought by the misunderstanding of belief among people. We constantly argue about which is the right god or what is the correct religion, and it has cut deeper wounds in our ties among ourselves. To address these misconceptions, the DLSU-D Communication and Media Society (COMMSOC) held an event called “Unity in Diversity: Exploring Religions” at Parent’s Organization of La Salle Cavite (POLCA) Event Hall on Friday, September 26 to educate and widen minds toward understanding other religions and to enlighten the Lasallian community.

According to Rica Peñafiel, COMMSOC VP for Activities and one of the project heads of the event, since DLSU-D focuses on Roman Catholic teachings, they want the students to grow and gather more information on other religions. “Ang purpose talaga nitong event is yung magkakaroon ng understanding yung mga estudyante ng DLSU-D at para magwiden yong utak, yong pag-iintinding mga students sa other religions.” Peñafiel stated.

Removing gaps and creating harmony

Bro. Ron Angeles from the DLSU-D Campus Ministry discussed Roman Catholicism and its divine religious teachings. For Roman Catholics, the bible and its scriptures have been their basis on their everyday lives from the past until now.

He concluded that God Himself is a mystery, as his existence solely depends on the person’s sincerity to learn more about Him. He also stated that the human understanding is just limited in the manner that if people do not study, they cannot obtain information. For him, there’s a right time to learn the other teachings.

On the other hand, Rev. Laurence Gatawa of Presbyterian Theological Seminary (PTS) College and Advanced Studies clarified certain aspects of Born Again Christian as well as its differences from Roman Catholicism. He added the importance of interfaith experiences on other religions, such as experiences on doing lectures about the diversity of religions, having seminars with pastors and imams in the world. Aside from these, he also discussed the Doctrine of Grace, Saving, and Common Grace which serve as the representation from the love of Jesus Christ, their identity as Born-Again Christians, and the redemption of the “chosen ones.

“We may have differences in some aspects but we can still be united in other aspects,” said Rev. Gatawa, as he believes that people can still be unified regardless of our beliefs if we only acknowledge them as who they are.

After contrasting the two religions with almost the same concepts and beliefs, the third discussion turned to Islam. Bro. Ibrahim Mata from the Muslim Community addressed the issues that non-Muslims should know about Islamic teachings and for them to fully understand their religion.

Mata discussed the five terminologies that explain Islam and its components which every non-Muslim should know.  He clarified the distinction between Allah and Muhammad; the latter is their prophet while the former is their god. Mata also emphasized that Islam is the religion, Muslim are the people, and the Qur’an is the book. Other facts he presented were the five pillars and six beliefs which are the foundations to be a true Muslim.

This event compelled the audience to broaden their knowledge and expand their perspectives, being connected by abolishing those gaps in traditions and beliefs. Events like Unity in Diversity cater spirituality which make us more connected with other people especially with the variety of faith that we reckon. By making these events, we can be more connected and unified with each other, despite being diversified.

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Through talks, engagements, ice breakers, and open forums, new perspectives were birthed with cultural differences in the mindset among the audiences.

Regardless of whether we share the same language, our common core of respect eradicates the imposed gaps. After all, we may not all be on the same page, but we all bear the same story.