Worldview as guiding philosophy
is basis for interfaith cooperation
By Benjamin Thornberg
Last Thursday at the Snow College Convocation Series lecture, Ellie Thompson, who is a member of the interfaith roundtable in Salt Lake City, spoke of her story and how she came to establish an interfaith dialogue at West Texas A&M.
Thompson had a clear ambition for starting an interfaith organization from a time in her earlier life in Europe, where she was struck with a sudden and powerful urge to pursue this seemingly new idea.
“In my experience, I don’t know a lot of people who exactly know what their passion is or what their purpose is.” Thompson says. “But in that moment I knew, I knew what I was supposed to do.”
Thompson had no clear idea for how to approach this goal; much less how to make a living or career out of it. As a student attending West Texas A&M, she looked for ways to begin an interfaith group. Eventually she started a club with the help of the club office. While starting out rough, the club soon picked up and is now being carried on by new generations of students. Thompson had no knowledge of the existence of interfaith outside of her club; when she discovered it, there was a relief and push forward to spread her story.
During her presentation, Thompson explained that interfaith, as defined by Eboo Patel, founder of interfaith youth core, is the relationship between humans and how that relationship influences our world view. Thompson further defines worldview as our guiding philosophy that is crafted by religious and non-religious influences.
According to a short video shown by Thompson, there are three events that are considered to be interfaith. The first of which is reconciliation meaning to re-connect after a division of different beliefs. The second is sharing ethics and seeing the importance of tradition. Third is cooperative social action where a community may come together to understand other religious beliefs and come together rather than appose each other.
Another term that Thompson expresses the importance of is pluralism: A community that openly accepts and respects all religious within that society.
“We need pluralism, not to just be different, but to be engaged with one another.” Thompson says.
After her presentation Thompson gave a few sources to reach out to for those who are interested, such as pluralism.org, ifyc.org, and Badger Creeds. She now works to promote interfaith awareness at Utah Valley University.