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Charles Bonney

A Brief History of the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions

This brief history is reprinted from the Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology edited by William Wildman. This excerpt is the opening section of an entry that also surveys the themes of the Parliament and its legacy. You will find a bibliography there and footnotes for the various quotations.

Rev. Jennifer Bailey – What Defines a Millennial Interfaith Leader?

Often in the interfaith movement, we speak about the changes in the religious landscape and the impact these sociological, religious and political shifts have on the movement. Rarely, however, do we get the chance to hear from young leaders of the movement who spend time thinking about and challenging our expectations of what it means to be a leader in the interfaith movement today.

John Henry Barrows: Producing the First Parliament of Religions

Charles Carroll Bonney has been properly credited for coming up with the idea of a World Parliament of Religions. But it was John Henry Barrows who made the historic 1893 event a reality. Bonney’s idea was that the World Fair in Chicago and its great exhibits should be accompanied by a series of “congresses” or parliaments to provide a forum for discussing the state of anthropology, art, commerce and finance, education, labor, literature, medicine, philosophy, temperance, and religion. The most important congresses to Bonney were about religion. He, therefore, established a committee to organise them and appointed Rev. Dr. John Henry Barrows the chair.

Making it Happen in an Interfaith World

The interfaith movement is full of high hope and good intentions. But as T.S. Eliot put it, “Between the idea… and the act falls the shadow.” After enthusiasm and inspiration die down, the heavy lifting (and real satisfaction) comes in actually embodying our visions, working seedtime to harvest, and sustaining our commitment over the long term. TIO’s stories this month are about interfaith activists with those qualities, people who “get it done” and “make it happen” in a variety of contexts.

Charles Bonney and the Idea for a World Parliament of Religions

The 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago is often regarded as the birth of the interfaith movement. But whose idea was it? The answer is Charles Carroll Bonney.

Interfaith and Peace, Social Justice, and Respect for the Earth

“War no more.” That was the hope that inspired Charles Bonney as he explained in his opening address to the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions. Bonney believed that a major cause of conflict was “because the religious faiths of the world have most seriously misunderstood and misjudged each other.”i One hundred years later, Hans Küng declared that there would be “No peace in the world without peace between religions.”ii