BSM Blog: A Catholic Perspective
“May the wisdom of God help us to know how to welcome and accept those who think and act differently from us.”
We know through Scripture and our tradition that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of all other teachings of the church. And, if we uphold this primary teaching, then we will live lives of holiness, thus creating a just and peaceful world.
As a Catholic community and an institution with high academic standards, we approach dialogue with the primacy of respect for and dignity of people with perspectives, experiences and opinions different than our own. This can be challenging when discussing complex issues both in and outside of the classroom.
Using the principles endorsed by National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) we strive to challenge students to think critically and analyze thoughtfully while participating in respectful discussions of complex issues. But what does that look like at BSM?
The Religious Freedom Center (RFC) defines respectful dialogue as a process of seeing multiple perspectives while embracing an encounter with difference. Also, they assert that respectful dialogue is not a debate with a winner and loser. It is not a choice between two things.
The RFC encourages thoughtful, academic and respectful dialogue that seeks complexity instead of conflict. What’s the difference? Seeking conflict is characterized by a willingness to consider only one position, selectively picking and dismissing information that conflicts with your opinion.
They go on to say that seeking complexity starts with honest curiosity that encourages meaningful questioning that allows students to understand the many facets of a complex issue. Learning can only take place when you are willing to truly listen with a willingness to re-evaluate your position. Does this mean we have to agree on everything? Absolutely not. Intellectual exploration of the reasons why someone would have a different perspective than you can help you uncover the complexity of people and issues.
At BSM, we are always striving to offer our students opportunities to engage in meaningful conversation. By not only using their critical thinking skills but also being informed by their faith, students build the Kingdom of God in their everyday conversations.
If you are interested in the Religious Freedom Center click here.
If you would like to learn more about the National Catholic Educational Association and their professional development webinars click here.