Monday, April 25, 2011

Walking in Their Shoes

(I should have included this post a while back. The article was originally published on the Rollins website on November 02, 2010.)

Walking in Their Shoes

On October 21, 2010, three members of the Rollins Interfaith Living Learning Community, along with Professor of Philosophy and Religion Yudit Greenberg, attended the 7th Annual Dialogue Dinner hosted by the Nile Foundation.

The Nile Foundation is an Orlando not-for-profit aimed at creating stronger ties and understanding among the Turkish and American Central Florida communities. It places a strong emphasis on inter-faith and inter-culture dialogue, appreciation and acceptance.

The theme of this year’s dialogue dinner was “Empathy: Walking in Another’s Shoes!” This theme was truly realized as Rollins Interfaith students got to know members of the Orlando Turkish community. Dinner was followed by two keynote speakers and live Sufi music.

Orlando City Commissioner Robert Stuart brought into question our use of the term “tolerance.” He asked why people different from us had to be tolerated, as if we were better than them. He suggested that to instead think of others in terms of mutual respect.

Elvan Aktas, professor of finance and representative from the Istanbul Center, shared his own personal experiences. One story was about a picture his son had drawn. The drawing was of different colored people, some even blue and green. Aktas wanted us to learn from his son’s easy acceptance of everyone, even green people.

To find out more about the Nile Foundation and other events and programs they offer, visit

By Ariane Rosen (Class of 2011)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Golden Rule and World Religions

As an Interfaith blog I though it would be nice to share something I found. The Golden Rule and variations of it can be seen in countless religions. I think this is a great example of how we're not as different as we might seem. We all have a couple of the same core values and should use these beliefs to work together and get along. 

The list below is from A longer list with religions like Native American Spirituality and Wicca as well as philosophers such as Plato and Kant and ethical systems such as Humanism can be found here.  

Bahá'í Faith: 
"Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not." "Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself." Baha'u'llah

"And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself." Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.

Brahmanism: "This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you". Mahabharata, 5:1517 "


"...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?" Samyutta NIkaya v. 353 

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18


"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12, King James Version.

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.

"...and don't do what you hate...", Gospel of Thomas 6. The Gospel of Thomas is one of about 40 gospels that circulated among the early Christian movement, but which never made it into the Christian Scriptures (New Testament).


"Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you" Analects 15:23

"Tse-kung asked, 'Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?' Confucius replied, 'It is the word 'shu' -- reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'" Doctrine of the Mean 13.3

"Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence." Mencius VII.A.4

Ancient Egyptian:

"Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do." The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 - 110 Translated by R.B. Parkinson. The original dates to circa 1800 BCE and may be the earliest version of the Epic of Reciprocity ever written.


This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517

Islam: "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."


"Therefore, neither does he [a sage] cause violence to others nor does he make others do so." Acarangasutra 5.101-2. 

"In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self." Lord Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara

"A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. "Sutrakritanga 1.11.33


"...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.", Leviticus 19:18 

"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31a.

"And what you hate, do not do to any one." Tobit 4:15 


Friday, February 4, 2011

Religious Landmarks #1: St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church

Over the weekend the members of the Interfaith LLC attended a service held in St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Orlando, near I-Drive.

The Mass which we had the opportunity to experience is usually referred to as the Divine Liturgy meaning "a work of the people." It is carried out in a community-like atmosphere;
all participate and have a role in the ceremony including the bishop, the priest, the deacon, the cantor, and all the people of God.

Click on "comments" to see what the members had to say about their experience.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Peaceful Coexistence: The Interfaith Living Learning Community

(Originally posted Sept 1, 2010 at

Inclusion and respect for all faiths—a hot topic in the media these days. It’s nothing new, however, for Rollins’ Office of Multicultural Affairs, which aims every day to foster inclusion and equality and enhance students’ understanding of and comfort level with diversity.

For a small group of Rollins students, the concept of cultivating a climate of inclusion means more than merely adorning their car with a “COEXIST” bumper sticker; it means integrating respect for all faiths into their everyday lives including the choice to live and learn alongside people of various religious affiliations.

Fall 2010 marks the unveiling of the Interfaith Living Learning Community, an initiative that represents a historical first for the College. Eight students will call Interfaith Hall, a two-suite living space in Sutton Place Apartments, home for the 2010-11 academic year. Here they intend to learn about one another’s customs and beliefs. They also hope to foster a mutually respectful and inclusive community that will influence the greater Rollins community.

“To me, it’s a social experiment to see how people with various beliefs can live together,” said Michael Barrett (Class of 2013), a resident of the Interfaith Living Learning Community. “I think that the Interfaith household and club can serve as a microcosm of Rollins because we’re representing different people and groups within the College. Our initial goal is to increase awareness and acceptance amongst ourselves and then spread that to the greater community.”

The students of Interfaith Hall—comprised of believers and non-believers—are also the founding members of Interfaith Club. Interfaith Club is not limited to students who live in Interfaith Hall, but any student interested in promoting and participating in interfaith initiatives. What they learn together will be shared with the larger Rollins community via collaboration with faculty, staff and students and through events such as community dinners and faith-based celebrations. Students will also be encouraged to attend worship services outside their faith and challenging them to be informed, independent thinkers rather than simply regurgitating opinions from the news.

“The work that we do at Interfaith Hall is important because we live in a world where there is a lot of uncertainty about spiritual beliefs and out of that uncertainty comes a lot fear,” said Anna Montoya (Class of 2013), another resident of the Interfaith Living Learning Community. Montoya hopes that this initiative presents a model of what our world is capable of being.

Dean of the Chapel Patrick Powers, a founding member of Interfaith Club, sees this initiative as something both idealistic and realistic. “If we are going to have a world where people are tolerant of each other, then we have to learn to sit down and talk with each other, eat with each other, pray with each other and live with each other,” said Powers.

Mahjabeen Rafiuddin, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs believes it’s important to give Rollins students a diverse set of experiences that move them beyond ordinary interactions with people of their own faith and ethnic group. “Our perceptions of the world come through our experiences,” she said. “Diversity education creates a learning environment where students can discover all the cultures that represent the United States. Unity is only possible through understanding, accepting and valuing diversity.”

The Office of Multicultural Affairs focuses many of its initiatives on fostering inclusion and equality for Rollins’ multicultural and minority students and provides experiences that enhance students’ understanding of and comfort level with diversity.