Religious Diversity

Eboo Patel 07-26-2016
Rittikrai Pix / Shutterstock

Rittikrai / Shutterstock

I SPEAK ON about 25 college campuses a year, which affords me a front row seat for current trends in identity politics. One of the things I’ve noticed is that when people say they are engaged in “diversity work,” what they often mean is that they are busy mobilizing their preferred identity groups toward their approved politics. The main role they see for those on the other side is to be defeated.

But the real challenge of living in a diverse democracy is not dealing with the differences you like, it’s working with the differences you don’t like.

In his excellent new book, Confident Pluralism, John Inazu, a professor at Washington University Law School and board member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, takes a long look at how to do this, with special attention to religious differences.

Disagreements with regard to religious matters are some of the most challenging ones around. That’s because religion is about ultimate concerns. Not only do faith traditions deal with issues—creation, salvation, morality, human purpose—that are inherently ultimate in nature, they imbue matters that may otherwise be viewed as mundane with a sense of ultimacy. That’s not just a random group of people over there, that’s the church, or the umma. That’s not just any old piece of land, that’s the place where the Second Temple once stood, or where Lord Rama was born.

Inazu opens his book with a sobering quote from the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “It is impossible to live at peace with those we regard as damned.”

He is reminding us right off the bat that the stakes could not be higher.

Eboo Patel 10-02-2013

How did a skinny, shy, middle-class Indian come to lead one of history's great liberation struggles?

Dirk G. Lange 05-29-2013
Frontpage / Shutterstock.com

Stained glass window at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Frontpage / Shutterstock.com

In the aftermath of violence, a deep-seated illness of broken minds and spirits, a possibility toward healing always exists. The vicious anti-Semitic attack on a northern New Jersey synagogue exemplifies this possibility. Violence – religious intolerance – was not to have the last word, nor was forgiveness to be blindly shared. A searching for truth was to be engaged. This searching began in the blurring of demarcation lines between different faiths.

Eboo Patel 05-11-2013

Bridges don't fall from the sky; people build them.

QR Blog Editor 01-02-2013

In November, Americans elected the first Hindu and Buddhist representatives to Congress. They represent a growing number of religious minorities who are becoming more and more visible. The Washington Post reports:

Now that Protestants are no longer in the majority – as reported in a study released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in October – even the term “religious minority” will need fresh definition in our newly minted minority-majority nation.

Read more here.

Glen H. Stassen 11-02-2012

Excerpt from A Thicker Jesus: Incarnational Discipleship in a Secular Age, by Glen H. Stassen

Adnan Silajdzic 09-17-2012

As told to Rose Marie Berger

09-07-2011

I just returned from a very moving convocation at the Claremont School of Theology where I am on the faculty. We were celebrating the historic founding of a new interreligious theological university that brings together institutions representing the three Abrahamic faiths, along with our newest partner, the Jains. The Jains are an eastern religion founded in India over 2,500 years ago who are perhaps best known for their deep commitment to the concept of no-harm or ahimsa.

While each partner institution will continue to train religious leaders in their own traditions, the Claremont Lincoln University will be a space where future religious leaders and scholars can learn from each other and collaboratively seek solutions to major global issues that no one single religion can solve alone. The CLU's founding vision of desegregating religion was reflected in the extraordinary religious diversity present at the convocation held in a standing room-only auditorium. I sat next to a Jewish cantor and a Muslim woman who had tears flowing down her face as we listened to the prayers offered in all four religions along with a reflection from a Humanist speaker.

Jim Wallis 03-11-2010

As some of you may know, I served on President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships for year one of his administration. Our one-year term is almost up, and yesterday we issued our final report to key members of the administration.

Eboo Patel 11-05-2008
Religious conflict is the great global challenge of the 21st century. America is the most religiously diverse country in the world and the most religiously devout nation in the West.

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