Interfaith

Material about a variety of faith traditions

Baha’i backs Christianity in schools

The Baha’i backs Christian teachings in state schools. “There are many positive sides to it,” said Baha’i chairman, Afoa Titi Nofoagatotoa.

Late last year the Government announced Christian teaching is to become part of the curriculum in state schools. It shows the Government now realises there is a “big gap” in the lives of children when they grow older and leave teachings in Christianity by pastors at Sunday school, said Afoa. They then concentrate their whole lives on secular teachings.

It shows the Government knows of the need for lessons in Christianity in schools to help solve difficulties in society, said Afoa. “Because even in schools there are … fights when there are sports,” he said. “The question is why?

“Something is missing.” Technology develops quickly and influence the minds of youth, said Afoa. More people whose lives are founded on spiritual teachings would reduce crime and thus the work of the police, reduce the number of people taken to hospital and the number of prisoners to be taken care of in jail, he said.

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Atheism, Humanism or What?

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The Journal for Interreligious Dialogue has some thought provoking commentary about atheism and humanism. The first comes in an excerpt from Samir Selmanovic's book, It's Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim, Atheist, Jewish, Christian. Selmanovic argues that atheism represents a blessing:

Atheism at its best participates. It does not simply dismiss religion but engages with it constructively so that the world is better for it. It is an expression of faith in humanity, even faith in religious humanity—however misguided they might be, religious people are human too!—asking the difficult but legitimate questions that religious people dismiss, about scientific evidence ignored by religion, about historical facts forgotten by religion, and about suffering produced by religion. Atheism at its best questions religion while acknowledging the good it brings…

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The second comes from an excerpt of Greg M. Epstein's book Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe. Epstein argues for the relevance of humanism:

Religion is a profound source of meaning and purpose for many people—…… But a Humanistic approach to life can provide nonreligious people with a profound and sustaining sense that, though there is no single, overarching purpose given to us from on high, we can and must live our lives for a purpose well beyond ourselves…

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The Muslim Network for Baha'i Rights - About

This project is developed by a group of Muslim interfaith activists who believe in tolerance, coexistance and freedom.

Our mission is to ensure that Baha'i citizens will have equal opportunities and the ability to practice their faith freely without facing any form of discrimination.

We rely on our creativity and new media to make people in the Muslim world aware of Baha'i human rights abuses, and then together we take effective action against abuse of innocent Baha'is in our countries.

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How broad is the gaze and welcoming embrace of God?

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Two Sundays ago I invited some members of our monthly inter-faith group to share, during our Sunday worship service, their tradition’s appreciation of Jesus. The readings from their holy texts about Jesus were deeply affirming, moving, even adoring. The Story of the Magi inspired the invitation, they likely Zoroastrians, who come to “pay homage” to Jesus but with no hint in the text this is a conversation story. Many worshipers wrote to express appreciation. But others wrote to express their dismay, their feeling that Sunday worship was not the right setting for words from other religions, and that I should have reminded all present that Jesus is the only way to God and eternal life. My pondering inspired this blog posting.

The massive and magnificent Baha’i World Center located in Haifa, Israel is octagonal in shape, a magnificent door centered at each of the eight sides, one each for visiting pilgrims of the eight major world religions. Visitors are invited to enter the temple, the presence of God, by “their” door – Jews and Muslims, Christians and Hindus, Jains and Buddhists and so on. In fact, if I am not mistaken, one can become a Baha’i and remain an adherent of their present faith. (I am a “quiet appreciator” of the Baha’i faith, but that is for another time).

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Every day is special - 17 January 2010

Today is World Religion Day among the Baha’is in the United States. World Religion Day was initiated in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, the US Baha’i governing body, to address the need for religious unity. It is observed on the third Sunday in January by Baha’is in the United States and increasingly by people around the globe. The day is celebrated by hosting interfaith discussions, conferences and other events that foster understanding and communication among the followers of all religions.

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