In my spare time, I teach different philosophy classes, including a World Religions course, at a community college. Most of the students are young: 19 to early 20s. Some have children. Some do not, but a few things stand out to me.
The students open up when they realize the class is a safe space to explore ideas most other venues prohibit. Ideas like equality, interfaith opinions, respect for others, and even ideas such as choice are welcomed to the table.
The students enjoy creative dialogue. They want more information than what they have been given. They want options to think through and to come up with their own thoughts. They already have great thoughts; however, many of their venues do not allow them the space to discuss due to the “authorities’ ” views or input.
You see, what I am witnessing is a generation that is tired of oppression from the pulpit, from the marketplace, from the “authorities,” and they are waiting for us to get out of the way. This is a generation that realizes if the hate and exploitation, the oppression and fighting does not stop, they and their children lose. They have a point. Radically divisive politics and radically divisive religion, institutions built on systems of status quo and money, legislation of marginalization and prejudices, destruction of the earth and its resources will only lead to one path: demise.
Whether we agree or not, they have a point. The world is global. Our brothers and sisters of every shape, size, color, religion, no religion and language are coming together, and our task is to build compassion and bridges among us regardless of our faith tradition. We can honor the faith of one another without losing our own faith and the love we have for it. We can let go of the dogmatic belief that our knowledge of something beyond knowledge is the only knowledge. We can and we should. I think our lives depend on it. Or I suppose we can continue our current path and see what happens.