Talk focuses on religious diversity
Posted May 8, 2009

Richard Rose, professor of religion and philosophy, gave a lecture about religious pluralism in the 21st century on Tuesday. The University’s philosophy club, The Most Greatest Club Ever, hosted the event in the West Dining Room.

The lecture focused primarily on the topics of religious acceptance and introduced to students the Parliament of the World’s Religions. This forum, held annually, allows people of different religions to gather as one, where the issues of religion are brought up and discussed.

“In our contemporary world, cultural exchange on a global scale, has resulted in religious pluralism becoming an important topic among philosophers of religion and people of religious faith,” Rose said.

Rose used a PowerPoint to introduce religious exclusivism, inclusivim, and pluralism.

“Exclusivism affirms the possibility of salvation and liberation through one and only one particular tradition. The inclusivist theory explains the efficacy of any religious tradition (through) the acts of one particular faith,” Rose said.

His introduction of these different theories led to the discussion of the pluralist theory.

“Pluralism, then, is the view that the transformation of human existence from self-centerdness to reality-centerdness, is taking place in different ways within the context of all religions,” Rose said.

Along with the slide show, Rose showed videos documenting the various locations of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The videos portrayed people of different religious backgrounds in their natural settings, along with their everyday work environment.

The conclusion of Rose’s PowerPoint led to his drawing of a diagram, all too familiar to his students. The diagram portrayed two different faiths, juxtaposed, enclosed in two separate circles.

“To understand what’s going on from here to there, you need to step out of the circle to understand the other,” Rose said.

The circles served as theoretical worldviews.

“We need to move persons from individual selfishness to worldly, universal acceptance,” Rose said.

Immediately after, Rose was open to discussion, allowing students and faculty to ask questions.Parliament of Religions, but it seemed as if the yearly conference that takes place in various locations around the globe, only opens discussions between the different religions, but doesn’t really solve any problems or conflicts. If there really were conflicts between the two different worlds of religion, east and west, then this would be an ideal place to put these problems to rest,” said Justin Mora, junior communications major, international studies.

“However, I do understand that the idea of the Parliament of Religions is to open up discussions, I feel like 115 years is enough time to now take those open discussions and begin to solve the world’s problems,” Mora said.

Erick De Luna, sophomore philosophy major at Citrus College, accompanied Mora to the lecture.

“The annual (Parliament of the World’s Religion) seems like a great opportunity for college students to attend. It would open them up to a number of different cultures, enlightening them of the many religious beliefs,” De Luna said.

Marla Bahloul can be reached at

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