Conversations about Faith at Davis

A Christian, a Muslim and a Satanist walked into a bar at Sheridan’s Davis Campus.

Rap artist Yohan performing in the Den on last  Wednesday afternoon

Rap artist Yohan performing in the Den on last Wednesday afternoon

Steven Martins, an evangelical Christian, Hamid Slimi, a Muslim, and Sheridan student Luciana Belea, a Satanist, comprised a panel of speakers at Davis’ Den as part of a conference held by the college’s Christian Connect club last Wednesday.

The Conversations of Faith 2015 conference was created in an attempt to start a dialogue between people of different races and religious beliefs, according to Cylinta Hasfal, the event’s organizer and head of Sheridan Christian Connect.

One of the main goals was to dispel discomfort people feel about talking about faith and the misconceptions people have about belief systems like Satanism and Islam.

“We wanted to get people talking about their faith, as well as have a little fun and have some food,” said Hasfal.

Hamid Slimi is the Imam, resident scholar and founder of the Sayeda Khadija Centre in Brampton. He believes the future of his religion to be bright, despite the attacks his faith has faced.

“People across the country, millions, are standing up and saying, ‘That is not my faith!’ when looking at the extremist actions of the militant group ISIS,” Slimi said.

“I want people to understand that our savior Jesus Christ is a part of us and that no one is above sin or the moral judgment of God,” said Martins, an evangelical Christian.

Martins, who is currently working on a master’s degree in Evangelical Studies, is part of an outreach group that speaks publicly on behalf of his faith at colleges across the country.

He stressed how forgiving his Lord was of those who have been lead astray from Christian teachings.

Sheridan pride member and Satanist Luciana Belea was also clear about her goals for the evening.

“I was trying to clear up some very common misconceptions about my beliefs and Satanism in general. Many people confuse Satanism with Luciferism or believe that we commit animal or blood sacrifice and these things are just simply not true,” Belea said.

The panel was pegged as a discussion despite the fact that two of the participants had formerly participated in a debate at York University.

“I would have liked to have seen an actual debate as opposed to just a discussion,” said Roya Behboodi, a 20-year-old second-year Paralegal student at Davis Campus.

There were also some questions about whether or not the event had enough representation from faiths that are not considered to be mainstream.

“It was pretty diverse [event], but I think it could have been better. There are a lot of Hindu people here [at Sheridan] and a lot of Sikh people here,” Jas Gill, a 23-year-old Architecture student and a practicing Sikh.

“I would have liked them to have made more of an effort to come and learn about my culture just as I have come here and made an effort to learn about their culture and beliefs,” Gill said.

“We reached out to all of the groups and clubs at Davis looking for a larger representation, but this was the best we could do,” said Hasfal.

Entertainment for the event was provided by Yohan, a Toronto-based Christian-rap artist, who is also a friend of Hasfal’s who she met while a part of the York University gospel choir.

Admission to the event and provided food was free, courtesy of Sheridan Student Union and Crosspoint Christian Reform Church.