Where can students and faculty from so many diverse backgrounds come together, respect each other’s opposing views, and learn from each other?
As I listened to A Dialectical Paradigm Shift in the Search for the Sacred, the presenter, M. Chet Mirman, PhD outlined what it means to be sacred, mentioned Buber, the supernatural, transcendence, and having a sense of awe and wonder at the mystery of the world.
I was under the impression that the room was filled with theists on a quest for God (i.e. the sacred). There were at least two Catholics in the room other than myself: a Jesuit pastoral counseling affiliate faculty member Fr. William Sneck S.J. PhD, and a Catholic nun in a full habit…
Then, someone in the audience raises his hand and asks this question, “What do you mean by keeping the baby of spirituality while throwing out the bathwater of bad metaphysical beliefs?”
Mirman replies, “Well, you know, God parting the Red Sea, bushes spontaneously bursting into flames, and other similar phenomenon. The inquisitor looked puzzled. Then the presenter offered, “Well, I guess I’d better come clean and tell you all that I am an atheist.” Mirman continues, “And I am trying to find my way back to belief.” You could have heard a pin drop. After a pregnant pause, the conversation continued with the theists and the atheist discussing metaphysical, philosophical, and theological theories and constructs.
I had taken four pages of notes and listened to his lecture for forty minutes before he disclosed that he was an atheist. I think he was courageous to transparently admit to his views in a room full of theists. And the fact that the discussion didn’t miss a beat with both theists and atheist learning from each other speaks to the brand of education found here at Loyola.
A Whole Brain Intervention to Instill Hope was another example of the strength of diversity in action. Anthony Scioli, an American, and Fr. Jen Charles Wismick, a Haitian, worked together in Haiti to instill hope in the survivors of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. We need each other and work best in community; we do not do pastoral care in a vacuum.
Loyola students are diverse, hailing from all over the world, representing every race, creed, ethnicity, and gender. Additionally, we are inclusive; we listen to, respect, and learn from each other.
And that is why I am proud to be a student at Loyola.