The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Interfaith hosts Katrina roundtable

Did God play a part in Hurricane Katrina? If not, why did He not prevent it from happening?

SMU students and faculty gathered in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center on Friday to discuss different religious perspectives on the subject of divine mercy in disaster situations.

The discussion marked the first meeting of the 2005 Interfaith Talk Series, organized by the Interfaith Dialogue Student Association, or IDSA.

The IDSA promotes discourse among major religious groups, with emphasis on Abrahamic faiths, and encourages tolerance and empathy. Three speakers led discussion and each represented three different faiths.

The first speaker, Dr. Serge Frolov, represented the Jewish faith. Dr. Frolov teaches courses on the Hebrew Bible and Judaism in SMU’s Religious Studies department and holds the Nate and Ann Levine Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies.

Dr. Frolov stated that the Jewish faith believes that God’s actions, or “Divine Judgment”, never acts against innocent people.

According to Dr. Frolov, if one innocent person existed in New Orleans (and he assumed that there definitely was) then Hurricane Katrina did not come from God to punish New Orleans.

Dr. Frolov said that when faced with disastrous situations, people should be asking “What can we do to help other human beings?”

Michelle McCarty, from the Master of Divinity Program in the Perkins School of Theology spoke for the Christian faith.

Ms. McCarty brought up the question of why God may seem silent during catastrophe situations. Ms. McCarty stated that Christians believe God chooses what to disclose to humans and that all must trust his judgment.

Studying the Bible may help people understand God’s will and “mystery”, but ultimately, “God is God”.

The final speaker, Dr. Alp Aslandogan, represented the Muslim faith.

Dr. Aslandogan serves as a representative of the Institute of Interfaith Dialogue in the DFW area and as an editor and writer for “Foundation Magazine,” which publishes quarterly articles on interfaith dialogue.

Dr. Aslandogan stated that Muslims gain spiritual growth through patience and endurance and “patience through hardship is a form of worship”.

Dr. Aslandogan also said that suffering can function as a reminder of humanity’s limitations; God has all power, and any power humans obtain comes from God.

Dr. Alandogan attested that suffering plays many roles-an opportunity for growth, reflection, worship and patience.

The group participated in a question and answer session after the speakers finished.

Most questions aimed at discovering why God seems silent in times of distress.

The speakers continued to stress their somewhat similar beliefs that God remains present-but He may not give us the answer we desire.

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