Many people are very discouraged by the current climate of anti-Muslim and anti-"other" rhetoric that so fills the airwaves. However, the larger reality is that we are progressing as anation towards a more positive appropriation of our rich religious diversity.
Because I work with an Imam at Georgetown University and have a number of personal relationships with Muslims, I am asked every time an act associated with Islamic extremism occurs, "Why don't the Muslims condemn the violence?"
At first glance, the idea of having an interreligious prayer might seem disingenuous and perhaps even insulting; one might ask whether or not the prayer is truly "meaningful": does the language used reflect how one understands their idea and conceptualization of the divine?
We are not flawless and the Hindu past is not unblemished. The future of our tradition, however, is not contingent on a perfect past or on immunity to criticism in the present. It depends on its ability to address human problems and to promote the flourishing of all human beings.
Academic roundtables should be considered by top academic leaders as a very useful way to inspire, challenge, and encourage a younger generation of scholars, exposing them to a range of top and senior scholars and their ideas.
They shared meals at which kosher food was provided, and the rabbi recited the special Jewish prayers marking those holy days in the Jewish calendar. This was, perhaps, the first time a pope celebrated these Jewish festivals with a rabbi at the Vatican.
Recent pastoral letters and press conferences from Roman Catholic Bishops are demonstrating an increasing intolerance for other faiths and beliefs. These statements suggest that individual Catholics are not capable of knowing the strength of their own personal faith.
In religious circles, tolerance, at best, is what the pious extend toward people they regard as heathens, idol worshippers or infidels. It is time we did away with tolerance and replaced it with "mutual respect."
Religious faith has a major part to play in shaping the values which guide the modern world. It can and should be a force for progress. I also think that understanding our increasingly globalized world today requires an understanding of religion and people of religious faith.
The most important translation of our holy texts is the translation into daily life -- in acts of kindness, generosity, courage, humility, justice, self-control, respect, reverence, fidelity, and compassion.