Interfaith and Dialogue at Pacific
The following words of Hans Küng, a leading theologian and religion scholar, in many ways summarize why we take dialogue seriously at Pacific:
"No peace among the nations without peace among the religions. No peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions."
At Pacific we are passionate about dialogue. Dialogue is not about debate, point-scoring, apologetics, or proselytization. Dialogue is about listening to and speaking with the other, in the hope of learning and coming to a place of mutual understanding. Further, it is important to note that dialogue is not necessarily an attempt to find or only focus on things upon which we agree, or to reduce things to a lowest common denominator. True dialogue is about working through our deepest particularities with the other, and it need not mean that we lose them or become less committed to our own positions. However, it must be said that it is impossible not to be changed in some way or not to have gained understanding through the process. If not, such activity was more likely a monologue, and we have talked past each other.
At Pacific we are also passionate about interfaith. Interfaith, like religious dialogue, often has misconceptions associated with it, and the word interfaith can mean different things to different people. At Pacific, interfaith is not to be confused with starting a new religion that combines all others, or an attempt to promote the idea that "we really all believe the same things." Interfaith work and dialogue recognizes that we share some common goals and interests as people of faith (and those interested in faith and religious issues), even while it recognizes that we have, and will very often keep, our religious distinctives. Further, when Pacific offers interfaith worship services, it does so in a sensitive manner, knowing that not all people will join in every aspect of the service, and students should feel free to engage in such services and its components to the level that they feel comfortable. We encourage all people, even those of no faith or of no religious tradition, to join us in exploring questions about, and learning from, the diversity of faiths, religions, and viewpoints that collectively make up Pacific and our world.
A note about the Better Together Campaign
The Better Together Campaign is an international campaign that originated with the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC). Better Together promotes more than just interfaith cooperation. Through this campaign, students of various faith traditions, and non-faiths have come together to promote justice through ACTION in their local communities.
Pacific students were sent to a conference in Washington D.C. in October of 2010 to be trained to bring this campaign to Pacific. Our students were given the tools to be interfaith leaders on campus. During the 2010-2011 academic year, Pacific students collected school supplies and non-perishable food items to create care packages for current and former foster youth of San Joaquin county who were attending college. Our students understand that continued support in college is key to success. The majority (90-99%) of former foster youth attending college, will not graduate. The care package is a message from the Pacific Better Together Committee to the student who receives it, that they have support and resources, and that we are better together.
In the summer of 2012 Pacific sent a delegation of two staff, two undergrads, and one graduate student to the Interfaith Youth Core's Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago, IL. For five days, the Pacific delegation joined other delegations in learning about interfaith dialogue and how to take our current campaign to the next level.
The Better Together Committee will continue to provide support to the community of Stockton and the greater San Joaquin county area... how they do that is up to you!
If you are interested in being an integral part of this committee, contact the Office of the Chaplain at 209-946-2325 or Email us!