By Dion J. PierreStaff Writer
One of the most surprising things about Hofstra University in today’s secular culture is the abundance of religious faith present on our campus. College is usually deemed as your arrival at the gates of a secular utopia. It is often a world of sex, parties and liberal professors who try to enlighten us as to why religion may actually be the root of our societal problems. But in this utopia lies a major problem that is destroying our generation from within.
On March 9, the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship organized the 30-Hour Famine to raise awareness for child hunger in developing countries where the average child goes about 30 hours without eating.
In their time of fasting, the group participated in community service projects that included delivering care packages for terminally ill children at Winthrop Hospital, picking up trash in Eisenhower Park and playing Bingo with senior citizens at the Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility. As I observed their actions, I realized how happy they were just to stand up and make a difference.
I then realized that the lack of faith in today’s culture is seriously impairing our ability to care about anything. Our generation lives a fast-paced lifestyle of instant gratification and inauspicious apathy. We have put so much energy into distancing ourselves from faith that we have forgotten its benefits: love, values and community.
Yet, here were college kids just like us, who were seeking to empathize with children suffering thousands of miles away. They will probably never meet these children or have to wait 30 hours for a meal, but their faith drove them to bring compassion to a higher level.
We believe more in the gospel of celebrity Twitter feeds than in the Gospel that preaches charity, compassion and common sense. We stand for nothing, and when we do share an interest in something, it is all in the name of likes and retweets. Not caring has become the norm, because to care is to think, and to think is far too complex. It is much easier to read your newsfeed than to actually examine the world around you. Secularism has wired us to shy away from one of the fundamental values of faith: helping fellow man. Why else do we ignore the local derelicts who hound us for change? Why else do we ignore the fact that we sit in an institution of higher learning that resides in the middle of one of the most destitute towns in New York?
I can only imagine a university-wide fast, where we all stand up for something again. Not because it will get us 100 likes on Facebook, but because we believe that somewhere inside us lies an inner good.
As a result of their efforts, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship raised $3, 576, which is enough money to feed 10 children from developing. At the conclusion of the event, the starving crusaders were rewarded with a plethora of foods from Lackmann and homemade dishes from the members’ families. Before enjoying their banquet, they participated in a beautifully quiescent prayer to remind of what a blessing food actually is. As much as I admired their efforts, I equally appreciated the paradoxical reality that our secular city had a core of faith after all.
I spoke to Intervarsity President Maria Berruti after the event to get one last glimpse into how her beliefs motivated their mission. I wanted to know where the overall message in faith was rooted. What do people need to know about her Christian faith that could provide a means to unify our generation? “These [beliefs] aren’t just random ethics that we’re talking about,” said Berruti. “They are grounded in something greater than ourselves; [they are] grounded in love.”