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The Parliament of the World’s Religions: 1893 and 1993

Contemporary reflections about interreligious institutions and practices commonly highlight an ambitious meeting in Chicago in 1893, termed the World’s Parliament of Religions, as a starting point of the modern interfaith movement.

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.

Parliaments Past – A Personal Journey

“Were you there yourself?” a student asked me after I had given a talk about the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions. “No” was the answer, but Mary and I have taken part in all the modern Parliaments of World Religions.

Recovering Interfaith History, Recovering Ourselves

The sad wisdom claiming “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it” is much more interesting turned upside down: Those who remember the best of the past are freed to live into a better future. Choosing interfaith history as TIO’s second theme had to do with reclaiming remarkable stories, mostly unknown, of men and women building friendship among strangers centuries, even millennia ago.

How the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions Changed My Life

The 1993 Parliament was a watershed event in the interfaith history, following in the footsteps of the first Parliament in 1893. Both events forged new ground and introduced new interfaith possibilities. In addition to making history, the 1993 Parliament transformed my life.

Foundational Documents of the Interfaith Movement

It is no longer news that we live in a growing diversity on an ever-shrinking globe. Whether the subject is crime or economics, politics, entertainment, or almost everything else, strangers from different parts of the world are in dialogue, interacting personally and becoming ever better connected. Along with international communication, travel, and diversity in our neighborhoods comes the growing awareness that a thousand different flowers bloom in the same soil that grows ‘my’ faith, ‘our’ faith, or, we might say, ‘our faiths.’

Crossing the Ocean & Changing the World

The story line is utterly improbable – an unknown, uninvited 30-year-old monk from a small monastic community in India provides the spark which lights the modern interfaith movement at a world fair in Chicago 118 years ago. All true, though, and it gets stranger.