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January 17, 2016 – World Religion Day: Celebrating Our Unity

BahÁ’i-Sponsored Celebration Invites Us All to the Table “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until, its unity is firmly established.”– Bahá’i Writings

The Most Difficult “Religious Other”

Confronting the religious ‘other’ has been a core theme of the modern interfaith movement. The ability to identify and approach the other and discover a friend has become a cottage industry, generating conferences, academic research, and workshop curricula, particularly since the ugly rise of Islamophobia following 9/11 and recurring anti-Semitism.

Interfaith Collaboration – Walking the Talk

Principle 11 of the United Religions Initiative (URI) Charter says that “we seek and offer cooperation with other interfaith efforts.” The diverse community that met during URI’s formation in the late nineties envisioned that URI would be a different kind of organization in many respects.

Democracy and Good Governance

Sub-Themes at World Assembly

Dealing with Religion’s Messiness

Several years ago during a guest lecture on Islam, one of our Evangelical seminary students asked the president of a local mosque if Muslims did not feel any remorse over what al-Qaida had done on 9/11. He also wanted to know if Muslims did not cherish freedom and affirm human dignity. The mosque president immediately reacted to the student, pointedly calling to mind what he saw as American imperialistic policies that supported dictatorial regimes in the Middle East. The Muslim leader argued that America and Western Christianity had filth on its hands, too. The mud-slinging from both sides got us nowhere. It only exposed how messy our religions are.

How to Survive Well with Religious Diversity

Despite popular slogans, we do not dwell in a world characterized by unprecedented diversity, whether religious diversity or other kinds of diversity. There has always been a great deal of religious diversity on the planet, perhaps even more in the past than at present. Many smaller indigenous religious have been swallowed up by the so-called “great world religions.” But we do live in a world in which knowledge about such diversity cannot be avoided, both because many societies are now more religiously diverse than was usual in the past and because modern methods of communication make such knowledge unavoidable.

A ‘Dialogue of Life’ Approach to Interfaith Peace in West Africa

Children in Ghana are being raised in a ‘dialogue of life’ that makes religious differences a source of friendship, not conflict. [Source]

A religious revolution has emerged in many local African communities and nations as a whole in the last one hundred years or so. Within the period, various religions have come to live in closer proximity with one another than they had during the previous century. African towns and cities now collaborate with churches and mosques and to a lesser extent traditional/primal religious activities.

Subsequently, at the present time, people of different faiths encounter one another more often in both structured and unstructured ways. For example, in many homes across Ghana and the Gambia, it is common to find followers of African indigenous religions, Christianity, and Islam –  with all the different groups of Christianity and Islam living together. By extension such relations are carried to the larger village or town community.