YOGYAKARTA – Discussion of religious plurality for the young is very important to be encouraged, particularly if this is done by the young generation from different faiths and countries, such as done by students of Universitas Gadjah Mada and Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana (UKDW) with nine U.S. students on Thursday (27/9) in the Faculty of Philospophy UGM.
Hastangka, coordinator of the programme, said the Pancasila Study Club annually holds a discussion in cooperation with Center for Pancasila Studies, Faculty of Philosophy and SIT Study Abroad. In his opinion, the target of the discussion is to build better tolerance among believers globally and to establish cooperation through dialogues between students from different countries.
Boydo Rajiv Hutagalung, student of Theology Faculty of UKDW, said that as a student he felt it necessary to participate in interfaith discussions as these will give people the values of other religions which are very beneficial for life. In his faculty he learned more about all religions in Indonesia. “We learn various religions, respecting rather than comparing them with each other,” he said.
Helena and Lauren, two U.S. students, said that the American society consisted of different elements, from the irreligious to the very religious. Many religions develop in the U.S. because the state gives freedom to its citizens based on their own beliefs. “The state does not give limitatitons,” Helen said.
Currently, interfaith discussion and debate do not withdraw student’s interest very much. They are more interested in other themes, including immigration, marriage, abortion, politics and economics, because U.S. public schools are not given doctrines on religions. “U.S. public schools are not given doctrines to know God closer, they are purely trained academically,” Selena said.
The UGM and UKDW students from religious student units agreed that Pancasila as state identity should become the stepping point in the interfaith dialogue so that different religious ideologies can be bridged by Pancasila as a unifying ideology. Pancasila is an ideology that gives common structure to bridge differences and opener of a halt in a dialogue.