On Wednesday February 8th, Sacred Heart University and Peace Islands Institute of CT hosted Interfaith Conference with the theme “Sacred Texts that Unite and Divide” from the perspective of the three Aabrahamic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
After a brief introduction by Dr. Michelle Loris, Associate Dean of College of Arts and Sciences of Sacred Heart University who introduced Dr. Ayse Kubra Coskun of Yale University, Father Anthony Ciorra of Sacred Heart, and Rabbi Herbert Brockman of Congregation Mishkan Israel of Hamden, the three started their presentations.
Rabbi Brockman, explained to the audience how each person tries to understand and perceive text in his or her own way and how exactly deals with scriptures. Later, he mentioned how there was so much distress and conflict in the Middle East, because of this ideal. He underlined how text is revealed to us in human terms.
Secondly, Father Ciorra started his presentation with explaining how one cannot possibly begin to understand Christian scripture without first understanding Jewish scripture. Later tying it in with; “All three Abrahamic religions have sacred texts and this is what unites the most.” Despite this he mentioned, all scriptures are quite like a bumpy road and hence, there’s a gradual understanding throughout the years of how we understand good. Father continues with “When we read the text, we are invited into a relationship. Communities gather to listen to the good word and made relationships with each other and grew together.”
Finally, Dr. Coskun presented the Islamic perspective and introduced the four main pillars when Muslims use to deal with the texts: Qu’ran, Hadeeth, Scholars & Good Examples and Logic & Deductive Analogy. She mentioned that a Muslim’s most important aspect of their life is to pray five times a day. Due to this, Muslims learn from the example of prayer. Later, she explained how the Qu’ran was revealed to the Prophet over the course of twenty-three years, yet was mainly memorized and recited during the Prophet’s life. After the death of the prophet, it was finally compiled as a book and sent out throughout the world.
At the end of the night, the three gathered and answered questions from the aAudience, and shared real-life experiences and even those from the past. Altogether, they showed how exactly the three Abrahamic religions could be in unity especially, in the times of division we are currently living in as a whole.