.sqs-featured-posts-gallery .title-desc-wrapper .view-post

December 2015

Finding the Light

The struggle to find consensus in addressing a warming planet, the violence that infects our lives so many ways, the tempting xenophobia that fuels more violence, the growing flood of refugees … Mother Earth and her peoples are having a rough go at living together these days.

In the Face of Proselytizing

Messianic Judaism is a Biblically based movement of Jews who believe in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah of Israel. According to web statistics, from 2003 to 2007, the number of Messianic houses of worship in the United States grew from 150 to as many as 438, with over 100 in Israel and more worldwide. As of 2012, population estimates for the United States were between 175,000 and 250,000 members, for Israel, between 10,000 and 20,000 members, and an estimated total worldwide membership of 350,000.

Does Protecting the Right to Proselytize Violate Religious Freedom?

One of the more complicated religious freedoms, the right to proselytize has both supporters and detractors. Proselytism can be defined as the attempt to persuade another individual to change his or her religion.

URI India Holds it Sixth National Assembly

This report was written and edited by: Dr. Abraham Karickam (URI Asia executive secretary), Biswadeb Chakraborty (URI national coordinator), Subhi Dhupar (head of Reporting Committee CC, liaison officer, North Zone, India, Asia), P.K. Ramachandra (CC member, South Zone), and Savita Malpani (CC member North Zone).

You Cannot Redeem Proselytism

Last March the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Development, and World Affairs published a series of short papers about proselytism in their publication Cornerstone. Each author was invited to respond to the following statement:

Nagging Tensions Around Development and Proselytizing

Last March the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Development, and World Affairs published a series of short papers about proselytism in their publication Cornerstone. Each author was invited to respond to the following statement:

Freedom to Proselytize Associated with Lower Religious Hostilities

Last March the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Development, and World Affairs published a series of short papers about proselytism in their publication Cornerstone. Each author was invited to respond to the following statement:

Taste-buds and Interfaith Bridge-building

The holiday season is upon us, which means we are all twice as busy as we were before. The family schedule becomes more complicated, mail-order boxes arrive almost daily on our doorstep, and every time I walk through the living room I find myself picking up a strand of tinsel that somehow jettisoned itself off our tree. And then the holiday meals to plan… Menu items scurry around in the back of my mind like sand crabs on the beach as I drive my kids around and run errands. Who’s bringing the green bean casserole on Thanksgiving? Full-fat or low fat-egg nog? Christmas ham or Christmas turkey?

Don’t Forget the Mystics

The recent Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City has been called the “123rd birthday of the international interfaith movement,” which is often said to have had its origin at the Chicago Parliament in 1893. It was a time to celebrate the global growth of the movement and its growing maturity. The emphasis was no longer on the need to talk to each other but on what we should be doing together.

Women Powerfully, Silently Walk Together For Peace

Voices fell quiet as hundreds of women of different faith traditions filed silently through the busy throngs at the Salt Palace Convention Center on the opening day of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The gathering that happens every five years brings together thousands of religious and spiritual people from around the world.

Shedding Religious Exclusivism in the College Classroom

Dakota grew up in a Baptist church in Lawn, Texas. Her first trip to India with McMurry University precipitated a crisis of faith. Though friendly, accepting, and open to others, Dakota’s religious upbringing taught her that non-Christians “go to hell.” She never questioned this teaching until she went to India. There she met, served alongside and was served by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and Christians. The dissonance between the faith of her childhood and the new people she met kept her awake at night talking to peers, other leaders on the trip, and me.

The Christmas Narrative Revisited

On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth with joyful carols, special liturgies, festive meals and gifts…Yet, what are the origins of Christmas and how did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday? Contrary to popular belief, celebrations of Jesus’ nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts, and no hint is offered about a specific date or time of the year related to his birth. In fact, a careful analysis of scripture indicates that December 25 is an unlikely date for Jesus’ birth. Instead of being derived from any event in the Christian narrative, Christmas likely has pagan roots that trace back to the third-century Roman festival of the rebirth of the “Invincible Sun,” celebrated around the Winter Solstice when the increased darkening ends and the lengthening of the daylight hours begins.

Responding to Global Violence in Montgomery County, Maryland

The following letter was sent last month to local leaders in Montgomery County, Maryland. It came from Rev. Mansfield Kaseman, the Interfaith Community Liaison of the Office of Community Partnerships. OCP is a unique government-sponsored interfaith program that will be profiled in the January TIO.

Obama’s Interfaith Challenge to 3 Million Collegiate Students

The administration of President Barack Obama has generously fostered interfaith cooperation, especially through the inclusionary language of public speeches and gestures and the day-to-day work of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the 14 agencies with faith-based offices.

Bidi-Smoking Muslims and Miracles

During a trip to India in the summer of 2001, my mother made a pilgrimage with her cousin to the city of Shirdi, home to the shrine of Shirdi Sai Baba (1835-1918), a holy figure revered by both Hindus and Muslims.