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My Take: How real interfaith dialogue works
November 27th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: How real interfaith dialogue works

By Dave Schechter, CNN

I’ve thought for some time that if more Americans had personal contact, even friendships, with their fellow Americans who are Muslims there might be less mistrust and misunderstanding about the role Islam plays in their lives.

The years have convinced me that interfaith dialogue, particularly the one-on-one variety, is a more viable way to break down barriers between people than large-scale efforts.

Now, before we go any further: Yes, within a worldwide population of more than 1 billion Muslims (which include a few million in the United States) there are those who, for a variety of reasons, hate the United States, would do it harm or support such action.

But when the subject comes up, the American Muslims I’ve met - whether they were born here, emigrated from traditionally Muslim nations or converted from other faiths - remark how America, even amid the tensions of recent years, affords them the freedom to live, work, study and raise their children, as their neighbors do, and, importantly, worship in the way they choose, as their neighbors do.

Young people tend to be less-jaded and, as such, more open to getting to know “the other.”

As an example, I’ll point to our daughter (we’ll call her “M”), who recently made a trip home from college and brought along a friend (we’ll call her “A”).

“M” is proud of her Jewish heritage. “A” is equally proud of being Muslim; so much so that she wears a hijab. They make quite a pair and not just because they have a similar sense of humor.

Their friendship started when “M” and “A” were paired up for a project in their mass communications class at a small state university in the South. On their way to the library, “A” asked if “M” would have a problem working with her because, well, she’s Muslim.

We, “M’s” parents, figured she laughed and said something like, “Let me tell you, . . .”

There was the trip to Spain and Morocco that M and her mother took as part of a delegation of Christians, Muslims and Jews, which included visits to mosques in both countries. There was the visit to the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine that her parents subjected her and her siblings to while on vacation. There are her mother’s myriad interfaith activities, ranging from her work at a 24-hour faith-based cable television channel to a Jewish-Muslim women’s baking group.

That initial conversation lasted some two hours.

The two young women must have made quite a sight when they attended the Jewish festival in the city where they go to school. “M” wore a t-shirt that read “Shabbat. Just Do It” with the swoosh logo. “A” wore, well, her hijab. There were stares, but these young women did not care.

The point is that, as friends, they talk about each other’s religion and respect the role it plays in each other’s life.

“M” once declared interfaith activity to be her mother’s domain. Now we, her parents, chuckle at that memory and take pride in having a daughter who looks past stereotypes. When you get to know the “other” it becomes harder to accept generalizations and easier to look at the individual.

I hesitate to conclude with a comment by the President of the United States, knowing how his own religious heritage has at times been a point of controversy, but in India recently President Obama made the following relevant comment in a speech to college students:

“Whatever may be your religion we can treat each other with respect as per some of the universal principles. Young people like you can make a huge impact in reaffirming that you can be a strong observer of your faith without putting somebody else down. How you respond to each other is probably as important as any speech a president makes. It's necessary in a world that's getting smaller, where more and more people of different backgrounds, race and ethnicities are interacting, innovating and working.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Interfaith issues • Islam • Journeys • Opinion

soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. King James Bible Society

    King James Audio Visual Bible – and it is free at http://kingjamesbiblesociety.org

    September 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  2. Jon

    Good article. Hopefully more real relationships continue to build. We're trying to set up travel experiences to the Middle East based around relationship building across religious and ethnic lines. You might find it interesting. http://ow.ly/49dyM

    March 7, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  3. hypcracymuch...

    An interesting article about interfaith dialogue, followed by religious propoganda and advertisements, extremists for and against faith, and a whole lot of quoting from books and in general, childish bickering. Glad to see the article made such a difference......

    February 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  4. FendhifeTehes

    London escort agency providing the best details and VIP quality for London escorts

    February 8, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  5. Walter V Murray

    The sentiment of interfaith dialogue is truly an approach to spirituality that makes sense. The word interfaith is a word that in itself exemplifies the schism that is artificially contrived. There really is one faith in the discusiion of sprituality, and that is faith in God. Sadly we (humanity) have somehow come up with definitions of God and each group believes that their definition is THE only correct Definition to the exclusion of all others. Hence we have "interfaith". Mutual respect of each other's concept of God is the first key step in any interfaith. A mutual respect does not mean, "i respect your belief, even if you are wrong". Mutual respect is "your definition of God is just as right as mine". No single perspective of God can ifully describe God. However humanity can get a fuller view of God by COMBINING all perspectives rather than isolating these perspectives in a right vs wrong competetion of dogma and religous philosophies.

    January 31, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  6. Iqbal khan

    (64) And if only the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) had believed (in Muhammad SAW) and warded off evil (sin, ascribing partners to Allâh) and had become Al¬Muttaqûn (the pious – see V.2:2) We would indeed have expiated from them their sins and admitted them to Gardens of pleasure (in Paradise). (65) And if only they had acted according to the Taurât (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), and what has (now) been sent down to them from their Lord (the Qur'ân), they would surely have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet. There are from among them people who are on the right course (i.e. they act on the revelation and believe in Prophet Muhammad SAW as 'Abdullâh bin Salâm[] radhiallahu'anhu), but many of them do evil deeds. (66) O Messenger (Muhammad SAW)! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. Allâh will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allâh guides not the people who disbelieve. (67) Say (O Muhammad SAW) "O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! You have nothing (as regards guidance) till you act according to the Taurât (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), and what has (now) been sent down to you from your Lord (the Qur'ân)." Verily, that which has been sent down to you (Muhammad SAW) from your Lord increases in most of them (their) obstinate rebellion and disbelief. So be not sorrowful over the people who disbelieve. (68) Surely, those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh, in His Messenger Muhammad SAW and all that was revealed to him from Allâh), those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians, – whosoever believed in Allâh and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.[] (69) Verily, We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent Messengers to them. Whenever there came to them a Messenger with what they themselves desired not – a group of them they called liars, and others among them they killed. (70) They thought there will be no Fitnah (trial or punishment), so they became blind and deaf; after that Allâh turned to them (with Forgiveness); yet again many of them became blind and deaf. And Allâh is the All¬Seer of what they do.

    The above Aya's are from Surah 5 Listen and read quran in many languages...
    http://www.Quranexplorer.com

    December 27, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • Hana

      Amen! It is amazing how many people believe and teach that Islam denounces Christians and Jews as going to hell. When it does the exact opposite. It only denounces those who do not truely believe and follow the true messages of their faith. Islam is about submission to God/Allah. If you submitt to the message that he has sent as you know it to be true (whether the Torah, the Gospels or the Quran) and do good deeds and live a good life and believe with all of your heart... then you will see Heaven/Paradise.

      Yet, even if you sin and make mistakes, the Quran says that God is forgiving as he chooses. There is a part in the Quran where it says that after everyone has been judged, God will look down on those in Hell and take pitty on them and scoop out many and forgive them of their sins (paraphrased). We as human beings can not know what is in the heart of others. We do not know what path they are on in life that may or may not lead to submission to God. Thus, we will not ever know how God will judge a person. So, we should not judge them ourselves or else we may carry the sin of false judgement.

      Sure, there are many people who claim to be Muslim that will make judgements and condemn others without taking into account all that the Quran teaches. But, there are also a great many who do read the Quran and accept that it is not their place to judge others and that Christians and Jews can also reach heaven/paradise. Just like in any religion, you have people who pick and choose to interpret to justify their personal opinions and political agendas. But, the fact is that it is clearly written that Muslims are enouraged to not judge, to treat Christians and Jews equitably, and not push to convert them.

      And this is exactly why interfaith dialogs are so useful. You might learn something new that corrects the misleading accusations that are tossed around by people with a political agenda (from both sides).

      Personally, my husband and I are Muslim. I am a convert (not because of the husband, met him years after I made my choice). My family is a mix of Right Wing Concervative Prodestants, Moderate Prodestants, Atheists, Jehovas Witness, Catholic, and Jews. My friends are just as diverse adding in Agnostics, Catholics, Mormons, non-designated faiths, and Pagans.

      I am a practicing Muslim. Family and friends are practicing members of their faith. We are not holiday followers. But, we respect each other, love each other, support each others practice of their faith, and discuss religion openly. And it all comes down to accepting the basic underlying premiss that everyone is responsible for their own soul and their own actions, you are not responsible for other peoples souls if they have heard the message and choose to follow something else, that is between them and God alone. We are people that choose to follow our various faiths by living by example, and that includes being a good human being and living with respect toward others. After all, treating others with anger or disrespect only adds to the sins of our own souls.

      At least that is how I see it.

      February 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  7. Billy F Pitts, II

    Dear Readers,
    Here are a few things in Scripture I would like to share because I believe it is correct first in the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus is explaining things about the temple he says look at all of these buildings not one stone shall remain on another they all shall be thrown down at the end of the age and as a sign of his comming but the wailing wall is still there I belive when we see that wall and the rest thrown down we better heed Jesus' warning and leave toward the mountains. Next item in one of the Gospels Jesus and the Apostles are asked if they should pay the taxes and Jesus told Peter to go and the firs fish he looked would have a 4 dracma coin to pay the tax this might be prophecy about sometime in the future of the Church paying taxes Fish symbol and Church symbols similar
    Thank you and may God Bless
    Billy Pitts

    December 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  8. 3rdMLNM

    Jesus has already returned,
    as he had promised he would do so herein (John 6/27-40),
    in the beginning of this Last and Third Day (=Millennium)
    together with Moses and David and Muhammad,
    herein, now, for the real Peace of the world, and Eternal Salvation of all believers:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    December 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  9. Muneef

    Jesus Christ in the Traditions of Islam
    http://www.light-of-life.com/eng/sources/

    December 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  10. Muneef

    Mashallah the sisters love for the prophet is an example to follow.
    May be its time we ask our selves do we really love the prophet as we claim to?

    Kenyan Flight Attendant found Islam

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eXGLBZrDtA&w=640&h=360]

    December 1, 2010 at 6:58 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Muslims is quite easy!!!

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent seventeen-thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      December 1, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • Muneef

      @Reality.

      What's your faith? How do you want life to be? How do you intend to control the masses as one nation? What will be your laws if not that of the holy commandments and holy scriptures as a base?? What will your bases of judgments be if not of those were depended on from religous grounds? Science can cover some angles and aspects of human life but not every thing? Unless you want to convince me that morals and laws can be of science? What Neo Tech do you have that you prophesies?? Guess you can be the first prophet that is not sent by God??!

      December 1, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  11. Muneef

    The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] was carried in body from the Sacred Mosque in Makkah to the Distant Mosque in Jerusalem on a horse called Al-Buraq in the company of Gabriel, the archangel.

    http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/SM_tsn/ch3s2.html

    November 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  12. Frogist

    I'm glad these women get along. I'm glad that their religious differences aren't the only thing they choose to define each other by. I think a lot of us forget that no matter what philosophy we call ourselves we are still individuals with more similarities than differences the majority of the time. You probably go to work with a muslim person, an atheist, a gay person etc and you don't even know it. Why? Because you get on with your day and do your job and your differences don't come up. We get along just fine without knowing. But if they say they're mormon or jewish etc, then should all the stereotypes pop up so that we only see those differences and forget we've been living and working with them for years? Hopefully not. It's a shame that people stare at these women. But maybe if they look hard enough they will learn something important.

    November 30, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  13. Moishe3rd

    Nice.
    I do wonder how seriously either girl or the parents in this article takes their faith.
    I suspect that both are "cultural" Jews and "cultural" Muslims as opposed to being a dedicated Torah observant Jew or a serious follower of any particular Muslim school or sect.
    We can all get along if we don't believe "too" strongly that G-d is actually serious...

    November 29, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
  14. marconi darwin

    Seriously, if inter-faith dialog worked, we wouldn't have religious conflicts. All inter-faith dialog does is make meek people of different faiths feel good about themselves

    November 29, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • Gary

      marconi darwin....I totally agree !

      November 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
    • Jason

      The hell? That's like saying "if diplomacy worked, we wouldn't have any wars". A rather trivial approach to the issue...

      December 20, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  15. Darlene

    @David Johnson
    David Johnson

    @Darlene

    Of course it does, Darlene! Freethinkers love all people!

    But, if your idea of friendship is to post a ton of bible verses, then maybe not.

    Fundies always want to start the conversation with two assumptions: 1) There is a god. and 2) The bible is this god's word.

    Let's start by establishing that there is indeed a god.

    Love and Prayers

    My heart is touched! 🙂 Love and All Good Wishes to you David! We are friends. 🙂 Thank you for being so kind to respect me like that, I hope you find my return as acceptable as well.
    You have made my day happier! Cheers!

    November 29, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  16. Darlene

    Reality, You siad:
    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology grad school notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    That, first of all is just a grad school persons note, or his opinion.
    It is wrong, it is more apostacy.

    and:
    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    Watch out for that, it again, is a lie. I am not shocked the pope said it, as it is in his jurisdiction to be able to rewrite and change things as he see's fit. They believe he is approved by God to do this, but thats not true.

    November 29, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • Reality

      "That, first of all is just a grad school persons note, or his opinion.
      It is wrong, it is more apostacy."

      Actually, it was copied directly from the Catholic professor's white-board presentation!!!

      Repeat this five times: Heaven (if it exists) is a spirit state. No bodies possible!! i.e. no resurrection, ascension or assumption!!!

      November 29, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
  17. Mark from Middle River

    "at some point the smarter people in any cult figure out that they must support other cults because once one cult falls, it's only a matter of time before their cult is exposed also." You mean like the cult of Atheism.? Wow, you define hypocrite as you continue to run on Christians.

    November 29, 2010 at 1:08 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I can see how you might see atheism as a cult, and especially like the negative connotation, but given that atheism has little or no "infrastructure" (no buildings devoted to non-existent man made gods, no books of man made silliness, no head charlatans running around in pointy hats abusing children, no systemic denying of other's rights, etc, etc), it hardly compares to any number of religions.

      I don't think you'll find atheists hypocritically cozying up to other cults at interfaith dialogues 'cause our basic belief is there are no gods (not even just one, for the pedantic...), so the conversation is a non-starter. But I can't say for sure because I don't belong to an athiest organization and won't speak for others. But I do plan to send money to http://richarddawkins.net for a "Scarlet A" in support of his "Out Campaign."

      Finally, *you* asked me for my opinion about christians (and their support of not burning someone else's book -of-silliness)! If you had not asked, I would not have said anything. You can hardly accuse me of running on about christians! Anyway, you seem unprepared for my answer – your problem, not mine...

      November 29, 2010 at 2:20 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Seem unprepared for an answer ..... Sounds more like a person that can not answer or is un-willing to answer. It is a simple tactic and it is you .... like many whose hate is almost all consuming that fell into and will continue to fall into such a trap over and over again. You see that is what separates someone such as Christopher Hutchins to folks like yourself. He is intelligent enough to disagree but see that there are difference's in Christians. He even categorized them in three groups where as you can only hold groups in single.

      That is because you, in the end are very single minded.

      Sorry kid, if it is you that can not work towards tolerance and dialogue because you, Ace, are unprepared for the day that maybe folks of all races and beliefs and cultures finally learn to tolerate one another. Until then, all folks like me can do is to continue to offer the hand of friendship and peace.

      November 29, 2010 at 7:14 am |
    • Reality

      The "curing solution" for all Christians in single step which also only takes two minutes to digest.

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology grad school notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      The single Step continued:

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      November 29, 2010 at 7:45 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Dear Mark,

      Please clearly indicate which question I did not answer.

      With regard to my single-mindedness, you are somewhat correct. I am single-minded about my total disbelief for religion, of any kind – go ahead, make the claim that atheism is a religion, but you know that I'm talking about the one's that require blind faith in a supernatural being and often require the blind following of a male-dominated power structure. Anyway, I am 100% convinced that there are no gods – none. But! I actually do recognize and support everyone's right to believe anything. Where I draw the line is when believers push their beliefs, prejudices and violence into the public domain, which is happening more and more. Believe and do what you want in private – no problem. Put it into the public domain – be prepared to be challenged – regardless of the variety of religion, sect, cult. And of course, "you" in the preceding is not meant to single out you, Mark.

      November 30, 2010 at 1:18 am |
  18. Mark from Middle River

    "How can we truly accept that another religion is as equal to and as true as ours? "

    Easy Patrick. You are saying exactly what the extremist within the faiths are saying. That "we, which ever group, can not talk, sociallize or work together with any other group because we can not get past the issue that they do not believe exactly like we do"

    This is something that happens not only within those of faith but with many groups in society. Patrick, think how many in the black community have issue with whites in society. Think about how they turn like rabid jack-dogs on any African American that is seen as being friendly to someone outside of the race. What your statement is weakly attempting to do is echo the negativity of those on the fringes. Most of us are tired of the voices from within and those on the outside who seem to be ultimately afriad of losing something in their lives if folks do not refrain from establishing tolerance.

    I am talking of any group. In the few months that I have been here I have even seen athiest turn against atheist for dareing to even hold post type of conversation with those of faith that does not have the visiral laden attacks. In the end, I look back and I used to be on the extremes but it is not a challenge to be surrounded by those that think and agree over all the same subjects. After the 2008 elections where I did not vote I recieved angry calls from my Conservative friends for not voting for mccain and angry messages from my African American friends questioning how I could not vote for a African American.

    This is when I learned that it is easy to be on the extremes. I could have stayed at Foxnews but at the same time I found that it was way harder and more rewarding to be with folks that I might not agree with on every subject and have a higher quality of debate/conversation. Either by holding my view or enjoying watching another go mental when I listened to thier arguements and just simply disagreed.

    You and a few others have choosen to be people of non-faith and I am not a priest, rabbi or iman. All I am is a person who knows that something has touched his life. If you choose to believe it that is cool but it does appear that this thread was about interfaith tolerance and that I fully support.

    LaPeace. 🙂

    November 28, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Please read the (older) article about muslims savings jews during WWII I'm confident that you will find that believers shredded each other. Or just about any article saying anything positive about muslims.

      November 28, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      No doubt that those of faith shred into each other all the time. I have always thought it was hilarious when those outside of the denominations think that all people of faith march to the drum. Maybe better to think of it as maybe the same drum but not the same beat. Folks of faith are not lock step in how they view church doctrine.

      So yes I can see the issue with the thread you mentioned and maybe that's why I didn't go into that thread. Now on Muslims I was in the threads concerning the new York city mosque, the one I think in Kentucky and the pastor who wanted to torch korans. What remember was the conflict but as there were Christians saying burn baby burn there were those of us who were against it. Tese are the folks I like to deal with.

      So I ask what was you opinion of those of us Christians who were against the Koran burning? It appears you acknowledged the negative but what are your thoughts on the message that positive side latex down.

      November 28, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I believe than at some point the smarter people in any cult figure out that they must support other cults because once one cult falls, it's only a matter of time before their cult is exposed also. This mutual support might be part of believing and living "do unto others...", so my opinion of christians against burning books of silliness ranges from "very nice (but still deluded" to "hypocrite."

      November 29, 2010 at 12:51 am |
  19. Patrick

    So lets all get together and be accepting of our different religions. You know, the religions that teach us that our god is the one true god and all others are heretical. Looks like we have an unsolvable problem if we are to be true to our faith. How can we truly accept that another religion is as equal to and as true as ours? The one way this works is if we accept that our religions are all false and therefore on the equal footing of myth. Religion is a dangerous relic of human culture that appeals to our primitive animal fears and longings. Religion, ironically, is one of the least divine of human accomplishments. Our ability to reason and evolve our world view based on facts is what is truly god like about us. I can take a plant entheogen and have a religious experience if I want to. Putting the word god onto that which we do not yet understand is dangerous and confusing. That is for children, not adults. I suggest putting down your primitive mental comforts and cognitive ruts for something better before more people have to die because of your disagreements. I also suggest that the teaching of these dogmas to children under 18 be outlawed. We have such considerations attached to other harmful drugs, why not the "opiate of the masses".

    -Peace

    November 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • neuroticfaith

      I agree with the idea of cleansing our society of the indoctrination of children. A child is considerably more suceptable to influence than adults. The frightening thing is that the human brain forms ideas and personality for adulthood largely in childhood, when that human is not yet in a place to decide things for themselves and understand abstract thought as it applies to religious philosophy. Basically, who you become in your childhood is largely who you are as an adult. It is unfair to indoctinate a child, when they have no choice or capability to decide for themselves at the time at which they are exposed to a theology.

      November 28, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  20. Mark from Middle River

    Nathan – I do not think what interfaith groups are attempting to do is to discuss the tenets of each others fAith. That would reduce meetings to cage matches.

    The basics purpose of these types of meetings is to keep lines of communication flowing. It's to put human faces on to those that believe differently. It can be seen the opposite of dehumination.

    November 28, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.