GOD SLIPPING IN NORTH POLL
A new survey shows that almost one-fourth of Canadians say they don't believe in God. What's the right term for such folks, Canatheists?
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THE BLAIR FAITH PROJECT
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is on a campaign to make sure religion is used to unify and improve the world, not divide it. In fact, he's now created the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Do you think this will have more -- or less -- appeal because it's coming from a politician and not from some member of the clergy, for instance?
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MORE INTERFAITH OPPORTUNITIES
As regular readers of this blog and my column know, I'm a strong advocate for interfaith dialogue. But I try to make it clear that I think the goal should be mutual understanding. Which means the goal should not be conversion -- at least that should not be the primary goal; if conversion somehow happens because of this kind of dialogue, fine.
There are lots of ways these days that interfaith connections are happening, and Martin Marty, one of the best observers of religious trends in the country, has taken note of one of them involving seminaries.
Marty is pointing out examples of people of one faith studying at the seminaries of other faiths. Again, the goal is not to learn the enemy's secrets so as to destroy an opponent, nor is it to modify one's own faith in order to be acceptable to another's.
Rather, it is learning in detail about another faith so as to avoid the kind of misunderstanding that leads to hatred and even violence. Beyond that, it's learning how to work and live together in harmony.
As Marty points out in this peace, the truths of one religion aren't compromised when this kind of interaction happens in healthy ways.
I'm not sure why this kind of cross-connecting is so threatening to some people. Perhaps they simply aren't sure about their own faith and worry that they'll abandon it.
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P.S.: Westport Presbyterian Church of Kansas City has created a nice niche for itself in the area of the arts with its Westport Center for the Arts, and on Sunday, June 15, it will be the site of what promises to be a wonderful concert you might want to attend. It's a "Concert of Hope & Peace."
* * *click here. (My Saturday column this weekend is about the ways the media cover religion.)