We all have this desire and longing to
know more, to ask more and that’s something that’s really unique to the human experience. We still experience that transcendence
in some way. Those questions, that wonder that I think that really is at the core of
studying religion here at St. Joseph’s. I think anybody you ask that’s either
majored or minored in it, I think it does change you as a person.
I couldn’t imagine where I would be today if I didn’t have this program. What led my interest in religious studies was the fact that I was a imam by profession
before and I want to learn about other religions that exist in society. And I
thought that religious studies would be a common ground to find that information. I took Encountering God in
Faith with Petriano and from the moment I stepped into the classroom I
loved it. I loved every time I went to class. I was so interested in the
material. Growing up I was in the Catholic, I was in a Catholic family. I
guess and I’m still Catholic, but I like to branch out and do other things now
like I practiced meditation and I practiced mindfulness. I’m more open to
other religions now. We are constantly pushing away other people because we
think oh that religion is so different or that culture is so different.
Taking religious studies classes forces you to think that okay this is how we’re
different, but this is how we’re similar. The religious studies department at St.
Joseph’s, is is unique in a couple different ways.
I think first of all it has something for for everyone for people of any faith.
For people of all faith. For people of no faith. I think they feel comfortable
taking any number of our courses. Questions that religions ask are
universal to human being in this world. So what does it mean to be a human being? What does it mean to live a good life? What… is there any purpose? Is there any
meaning out there? How do we deal with questions of suffering and death? And
religions, whatever the context, whatever the background, seeks to answer some of
these ultimate questions and I believe that studying religion in whatever form,
whether it’s a believer or non-believer, can help provide some really important
resources as we answer those questions. We may call the higher power by a
different name God, Yahweh, Allah, Great Spirit whatever it might be, and yet
we’re all striving for and yearning for and hoping to achieve the same things. So I think it really helps to bridge gaps, helps broaden people’s understandings. I
think it makes them more sensitive to an accepting of other people and their
traditions and to realize that there’s more than one way that’s the right way.