I’ve done a lot of jumping around between religious affiliations. I was raised in the Christian trinity of Protestant, Catholic, and Greek Orthodox. Later, I got into Unitarian Universalism. After that, I became interested in a friend’s blend of faiths, a mix he calls “Zen Druidism.” A little bit of Hare Krishna influence was thrown into the mix as well. These days, I am mostly Jewish, with an emphasis on the “ish.”
I’ve required a lot of room for religious exploration. Unfortunately, I have realized each of the groups I have been a part of have been isolated. Religious groups rarely talk to each other.
This is incredibly unfortunate. I strongly believe there are valuable lessons to be learned from every faith tradition. Individuals are selling themselves short if they cloister themselves in one school of thought.
Ohio University is lucky that such a small town has so many faith traditions present in the community. I hope that by focusing on our similarities, different faith groups (and people without any faith tradition) will set aside some of their barriers and create lasting friendships with each other. We don’t need to agree on everything, but there needs to be dialogue amongst religious groups.
Rachel Whitman is a senior at Ohio University majoring in International Studies with a focus on Russia. She is the Hospitality Officer on the Ohio University Interfaith Steering Committee, and an active member of OU’s Hillel Chapter and the Jewish Women of Ohio.