“Conversations between believers and nonbelievers are our only way to understand each other.”
This was what Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Philosophy Dept. faculty member Dr. Jade Principe told his audience during the Conversation on Faith and Non-Faith Experience held today, July 26, at the Ricci Hall, Community Center.
Principe, the lead discussant, emphasized that the event was not conducted to debate about the existence of God but to provide an avenue for participants to share their “faith or non-faith journey.”
“The importance of this simple conversation is to listen to the personal reasons people give as to why they believe or don’t believe,” he said.
Two students were also invited as discussants. One of the discussants, Elaine Laguran, a fifth year Accountancy student who claimed to be an agnostic, shared her faith and non-faith experience.
“There is no dramatic exit from faith,” she expressed. “I’m not mad at God but neither am I happy.”
She explained that she used to be so religious when she was younger but when she entered college, she started questioning God’s existence.
Philosophy student Andrew Monzones expressed that as early as six years old, he already had questions about God. He said that exposure to different theories and philosophies in high school and college led him to questioning the existence of a higher being.
“Having faith is a personal journey,” Andrew said.
The students and teachers who attended the conversation were also given the chance to ask questions and share their own faith and non-faith experiences.
“I find the conversation relevant,” Julius Catague, one of the students who attended the conversation-dialogue, said. “It gives the students the opportunity to reflect.”
He said the conversation was different from other activities conducted at school, for participants are expected to be more open to opinions and ideas, and personal experiences are discussed.
The conversation was spearheaded by the Theology Department in partnership with SAMAHAN Central Board and Ateneo Center for Leadership.