FARMINGTON – Jonathan Swift once said, “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
History shows that religion has divided nations, families and neighbors, but Maria Decsy, instructor of world religions at Manchester Community College, doesn’t see faith as a partition at all.
On March 23 and 24 she’ll present The Common Ground of World Religions at Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center.
The presentation, she said, is to help people become aware of the similarities all religions have.
“Religions, on their best behavior, already supply the foundation for better individual and global order,” she said.
The course description reads, “During this program, we will look at the common threads of world religions that unite us and awaken us to the universal call to compassion, kindness and justice.”
The world, Decsy said, is in the midst of ecological, economic and political crises. She blames the “lack of grand vision.”
She added, however, that more and more people are beginning to see the commonalities between their faiths and are embracing those connections rather than dwelling on the differences.
“People are coming together, talking,” she said.
For example, during Ramadan Decsy witnessed Christians, Jews and Buddhists celebrate the breaking of the fast together with Hartford’s Muslim community.
Sister Ann Rodgers, program director at OLC, said many people have shown interest in the class.
The retreat center recently discussed “Three Cups of Tea,” and Rodgers felt the need to host something with a stronger academic component, which is why Decsy was invited to facilitate the upcoming course.
“We needed something that would touch people’s hearts to look at how we are alike and try and bring people together,” Rodgers said.
The course will be March 23 from 7 to 9 p.m., or March 24 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. You can register by calling (860) 677-8519, though pre-registration is not required. The registration form can be downloaded here. There is a $15 offering. The course will be held at the retreat center, 31 Colton St. in Farmington.
Decsy will be teaching this course more in-depth at The Mercy Center, starting today, and continue weekly through May 6. You can find more information here.