GCC philosophy and world religions department host’s seventh annual “God and Truth” event

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GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Glendale Community College philosophy and world religions department held its seventh annual “God and Truth” panel discussion in the student union, Wednesday, Oct. 22.

The topic for this year’s discussion focused on “Philosophical and Religious Views on Immigration and Community”. Three panelists were featured; GCC philosophy professor Derek Ayala, philosophy and world religions department chair Peter Lupu, and Ratio Christi chapter director Richard Klaus. Each gave a unique religious or philosophical perspective on immigration and community.

A fourth panelist, Dr. Ibrahim Naim, was also scheduled to attend, but was unable to make it.

Around 20 people were in attendance at the start of the event, but more filed in as the afternoon went on.

Ayala began with a discussion on the role of religion in community, titled “Buddhism: The Middle Path of Community and Immigration”.

“In order to be as compassionate as possible, countries that are able to provide education and resources have a moral obligation to do so. In this way these countries, by educating refugees and providing them with life skills, start a ripple effect that would lead to reducing dukkha (suffering) within the world,” Ayala said.

For background, Ayala detailed the history and beliefs of Buddhism. These include the three universal truths of reality, four noble truths and the eightfold path of behavior; right seeing and understanding, right thought or intention, right speech, right action, right work or livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

Klaus discussed immigration from a Christian perspective, in an address titled “The contours of Community: Christians as Resident Aliens and Natural Citizens”.

“Now, the scriptural text and Christian virtues should inform our political reasoning, but we need a keen sense of an exegesis, or an interpretation of both the ancient text and our cultural moment, and that’s going to obviously change as the cultural moment changes,” Klaus said.

Klaus said that Christians are engaged in two worlds; as citizens of nation-states and in the kingdom of God.

Lupu’s talk, titled “What does Faith and Reason have to do with Immigration” centered on three arguments: the political perspective, the evangelical Christian perspective, and the philosophical perspective.

Lupu offered criticism of current U.S. immigration policies, such as discontinuing aid to South American countries, and separating children from their families.

“Let me be clear as I can be on this matter, several of these policies are clear violations of international law. All of these policies, and the intentions behind them, are utterly and absolutely immoral, without qualifications,” Lupu said.

Once each panelist finished speaking at the podium, the discussion was opened to questions from the audience.

Ayala organized this year’s event, taking over from professor Lupu.

“I think it’s immensely important that students come across new ideas that they wouldn’t have encountered other wise, and I think college is one of the better places for that,” Ayala said.