Discussions have an important place at the Global Youth Village international summer program. Participants are encouraged to speak freely about their thoughts, learning more about about each other’s beliefs and cultures. In 2011, youth engaged in the exercise “I Believe”. Below is an engaging compilation of their thoughts by workshop instructor Elliot Leffler.
You believe in diversity, in humanity, in life.
You believe in forgiveness, equality, and freedom.
Many of you believe in God.
You believe that when we look at the sky and the ground and the morning and the night you can know that there is a great power to make all of this.
Some of you believe that we are all equal in God’s eyes, that all religions lead to peace.
Some of you believe that God created us to worship him.
Some believe that life is an exam. You believe that humans are tested by God on a daily basis, and that we will never go through some difficulty which we will not be able to handle.
Some of you believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Some believe in the Virgin Mary and her miracles. Others specified that God works alone, without partners.
Some of you believe in the prophet Mohammad, and in the Holy Quran.
Some believe in Love.
Some believe that the world is a wet mud in which you can create whatever you want —
But some of you believe that it takes more than one person to make a difference.
Some of you believe in holding fast to community and to tradition.
But you believe that you don’t have to go to church every Sunday to have God with you.
Some of you believe that there is no God.
You believe (some of you) that the Old Testament is not always true, that it’s different from the New Testament. The old stories, you believe, are just symbols.
You believe that every religion has their own rules and beliefs, and that all religions have equality before God, but that you have chosen the right choice.
You believe that the words found in Quran are God’s words, and they are the only valid laws for the human race.
You believe that it is everyone’s job to save the planet.
You believe that in every thing and every moment there is a truth to be learned.
Many of you believe that all religions see the same God from different perspectives.
Some of you believe that a person is born good.
Others believe that human beings are bad, that when we are born in this world we are destined for hell.
Others believe that every man has the power to be good or bad. Some believe in two types of human beings: good and bad.
One of you believes that everyone ends up going to heaven.
You believe in miracles – some of you.
You believe everything is connected.
You believe in equality between men and women, and between races.
Some of you believe that Jesus died on the cross, to save you from your sins, in order for you to go to heaven.
Some believe in praying five times a day, in fasting for Ramadan, in expressing your faith in your God and his prophet, in making pilgrimage, and in giving money for poor people.
Some believe that our purpose on earth is to leave a positive impact on the lives of others.
You believe in the pursuit of happiness.
You believe that your country will be better one day.
You believe that someday all war will end.
You believe that some day all people will live together.
You believe nothing is impossible.
You believe in dreams.
You believe that you have to believe.