UCD chaplain Fr Leon Ó Giolláin is hosting an inter-faith meeting to discuss the afterlife in St Stephen’s Chaplaincy Centre on November 17th.
This will mark the third event of this kind, with the first having taken place during International Week last year. The evening consists of an informal gathering of members of different faiths on campus in which they discuss their respective beliefs.
Catholics, Muslims and Jews were among the representatives of religions attending, with about 30 people attending in total.
Fr Leon explains that “we have a lot of international students who come from a variety of religious backgrounds. We’d like to reach out to them and show that we’re interested and that we respect their faith and would like to know more about it”.
The second meeting centred on the themes of peace and tranquillity and appropriately enough, it was held in a period coming up to exams. Members of the Baha’i faith led the dialogue, while members of other religions read from their respective devotional texts, such as the Qur’an, the Bible and the Bhagavad Gītā.
The topic of the afterlife was chosen as “it’s the month of November and in the Christian faith, that is when we remember our dead,” says Fr Leon.
The two meetings were a great success as Fr Leon explains: “What emerged, after particularly the first meeting was that there are lots of lines of convergence in the many religions; we saw that there is a link between living life on earth and reward in the afterlife – it varies in different religions.”
Fr Leon added that similarities were found in the value of prayer, in the belief in the importance of justice and peace in the world and in “the golden rule: treating others as you would like to be treated yourself”. These are all seen as possible themes for future gatherings.
Fr Leon addressed the idea of clashes between various religions, saying that “there was a focus on what unites us rather than what is different”. He sees great importance in the coming together of different faiths; he believes that “we need to build a united world, where there is strength in unity”.