Edinboro University Interfaith Council sponsors mission work discussion

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at 5:42 PM

Edinboro University’s Interfaith Council sponsored a student-led discussion on “The Great Debate on Mission Work” Tuesday in the Frank G. Pogue Student Center.

Edinboro sophomore Caitlin McCarthy led the discussion, sharing her missionary experience and the criticism that often comes with fulfilling missionary work.

“It’s hard to explain it (missionary work) to people that don’t agree because the reasons we do it are because of our beliefs. There are a lot of difficulties with it, but the benefits that have come both for me and those I have reached are far greater than any difficulty I faced,” said McCarthy.

She continued: “There are 1.2 billion people in the world today that live on less than a dollar a day, while there are 40 million children worldwide that don’t have adequate shelter. They are all incredibly important, but I believe the most important reason for mission work is that there are 3 billion people today that do not know about Jesus.”

McCarthy also explained that a common issue in the mission field is proselytizing.

“Proselytizing refers to the act of attempting to convert people of another religion. Missionaries shouldn’t be forcing Christianity on to those they serve, instead they should be helping them and in the process teaching them about God’s love.”

She continued, “Teaching the Gospel is completely different than proselytizing, because it involves teaching beliefs with respect for the person they are teaching it to.”

Edinboro English and philosophy professor and interfaith co-founder Dr. Stephen Sullivan organized the event because he wanted to sponsor more student involved interfaith council events.

“The topic — the interfaith council, religion, different faiths — mission work of course involves different faiths interacting, so I thought it would be a good idea.”

He continued: “I chose Caitlin because she was such a terrific student, and she wrote a paper about this (mission work) in English 102 and I thought I want to sponsor students, especially for the interfaith council. She did a good job.”

Sullivan also shared that, from these Interfaith Council events, he wants students to gain “a better understanding of these issues in religion and a better understanding of the diversity of perspectives in religion.”

McCarthy shared that she plans to continue her work in the mission field.

“I do plan to continue (mission work). I’m going back to Nicaragua in about two weeks, and next year I plan on going to Nepal for a month. If all goes well I plan on giving a year in Nepal.”

“My goal is to share the love of God. You can’t expect people to learn the love of God by not loving.”

Macala Leigey is a managing editor for The Spectator and can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com. 

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