Campus & Community

Bridges speaker says connecting with others key to happiness

Religious expert José Casanova told a DU crowd of about 450 on April 22 that people can no longer isolate themselves for their own individual pursuit of happiness.

“We are all in this together,” said Casanova, a sociology professor and senior fellow in the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University and author ofPublic Religions in the Modern World (University of Chicago Press, 1994).

“The pursuit of happiness cannot be separated from everyone else,” he said.

During his speech, “Religion, Globalization and the Pursuit of Happiness,” Casanova said America has had more immigrants in the past decade from more countries with more diverse religious beliefs than ever before. Click here to watch the speech.

Casanova’s speech was part of the sixth year of Bridges to Future programming that was created by DU as a way to engage Coloradans in an exploration of American history, values and expectations in a post-Sept. 11 world.

Audience member Adam Westbrook, a religious studies master’s candidate, used to live in New York and decided to study religion after Sept. 11. He said before Sept. 11 people didn’t recognize the importance of studying religion.

“Now, people are starting to give [the study of] religion legitimacy,” Westbrook said. “The more we understand one another the better.”

Westbrook said he thinks diversity of religion in America will be the greatest challenge of the 21st century.

“America will be a microcosm of what the world will be like,” Westbrook said. “It will be an interesting experience.”

John Baker came to hear Casanova with his father, Ed Baker, a 1955 DU graduate who is studying religions. John Baker said he believes the U.S. is already a mix of religions.

“We are a melting pot of all religions,” Baker said. “We’re not going there; we’re truly there.”

Provost Gregg Kvistad asked the audience to continue the discussion on the Pursuit of Happiness by blogging on the Bridges Web site.

Bridges to the Future will continue on Sept. 23 with author, educator and activist Parker Palmer.

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