Mary Kate Linehan

The Center for American World Cultures hopes to promote positive religious exploration to the students, faculty and staff of Miami University through hosting an Interfaith Panel Forum at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in 112 MacMillan Hall.

The Interfaith Circle held a similar event last semester discussing “Why are we here on Earth?” from Jewish, Atheist and Christian perspectives.

However, this semester’s event will investigate the question, “What is the purpose of our time here on Earth?”

Angie Chan, president of the Interfaith Circle, said the purpose of the event is to observe various religious views on one specific topic.

“We wanted to hold another one with different speakers from various perspectives from the last time,” Chan said.

Panel members at this semester’s forum include Miami professor Michael E. Dantley, Father Jeffrey Silver, a pastor at St. Mary’s Church, Bonnie Beverage, a Dharma Teacher and founding member of the Buddhist Dharma Center of Cincinnati and Anna Levin Rosen, a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.

Each of the panel members represents a different religious affiliation, the affiliations being Black Theology, Catholicism, Buddhism and Judaism.

Participants will have the chance to discuss the topic with the panel experts in a question-and-answer format.

During the forum, Chan and Falke will provide the audience with index cards so they can write down specific questions for the various panel members. Each panel member is then allotted five minutes to respond to readers’ question as well as each other’s comments.

“The panel members address each other’s thoughts and views while they answer the question,” said Dorothy Falke, program associate at the Center For American and World Cultures. “It is very discussion based. Each member addresses various points of their beliefs.”

Falke and Chan hope students will be open-minded and take into consideration each of the different religions’ ideologies on humans’ purpose on Earth.

“It is a pretty broad topic, and realistically the basic Miami student probably doesn’t know that much outside of their own religion,” Chan noted. “This provides a short or general background to the audience members of where other people are coming from.”

Chan and Falke said a reception with food and drinks will follow the panel and encourage audience members to continue the discussion with panel members during the reception.

The event is sponsored by the Center for American and World Cultures, Interfaith Circle, the Office of Diversity Affairs and the Parent’s Fund. Admission is free.