Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Henry Co: Religious Melting Pot?

Really cool article from today's Martinsville Bulletin. Spiritual leaders from local Jewish, Christian and Muslim congregations held a public forum Monday at Patrick Henry Community College to answer questions and discuss religious pluralism. Some good quotes:
Talking about Jews considering themselves the chosen people of God, Socol said, “This chosenness does not mean we are better than other peoples but that we are obligated to lead an ethical life” to inspire others.

“We are the classic example of ‘You don’t have to be wrong for me to be right,’” she added.


Wolfe asserted that religious tolerance is only the beginning.

“Freedom comes and is asserted at its best when we move beyond just tolerating somebody” to learning from others, he said.
I wasn't there, so I can't speak to the overall crowd dynamic, but other than one guy who took issue with the whole concept of tolerating non-Christian beliefs, it seems to have gone quite well. This type of dialogue is very encouraging on many levels. I must confess I was not aware of this much religious diversity in my hometown. 

I don't pretend to know as much about theology as Dem Bones, but I've always gotten the impression there is more common ground than division between what these three faiths basically believe--monotheism, shared prophets such as Abraham, and the like. I think most religious violence stems from a lack of understanding, and it would do us a great service to learn more about those who see things differently. 

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