Interfaith Issues
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How religions are working together to build a better world.
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Why people of different faiths are painting their houses of worship yellow

Why people of different faiths are painting their houses of worship yellow | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
Divisions along religious lines are deepening, and we're doubting more and more how much we have in common. How can we stand boldly and visibly together? Inspired by an idea from her collaborator Yazmany Arboleda, place-maker Nabila Alibhai and her colleagues created "Colour in Faith," a social practice art project that unites people of different religions by getting them to paint each other's houses of worship yellow, in a show of solidarity. "We've proven that the human family can come together and send a message far brighter and more powerful than the voices of those that wish to do us harm," Alibhai says.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"Though fear is infectious, we are showing that so is hope."
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We've Reached the End of White Christian America

The United States is no longer a majority white, Christian country, and that is already beginning to have profound social and political implications. At 4
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
The main take-away:,"The United States is no longer a majority White Christian country", is addressed here from a partisan political viewpoint. Is this the most significant aspect of the change? What about changes of world view in the socioeconomic and ecological dimensions, for example?
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Does religion cause wars?

Does religion cause wars? | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
Is there evidence that religion causes war?
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Religion is by far the most powerful social force, as it has its roots in the deepest fibers of the human heart. However, like any tool, it can be used for good or evil. Accordingly, religion has been coopted to legitimize war and justify atrocities, and used as a shield behind which to hide the true political and economic drives behind war, and a scapegoat to blame instead of questioning the true motivations.
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Rethinking religion in Germany

Rethinking religion in Germany | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
In Germany, a changing social and cultural landscape is giving rise to a dialogue on the place of religion in society.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"It seems that the conversation needs to move beyond interreligious dialogue, beyond issues of theology and rituals, to allow for a more rich discourse on religion's contribution to the betterment of society and the common good."
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UN recognizes role of religion in protecting human rights | Bahá’í World News Service (BWNS)

UN recognizes role of religion in protecting human rights | Bahá’í World News Service (BWNS) | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
A conference organized by the United Nations in Beirut last week explored the fundamental contribution of religion to the promotion of human honor and societal harmony.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
“The essential purpose of the religion of God is to establish unity among mankind. The divine Manifestations were Founders of the means of fellowship and love. They did not come to create discord, strife and hatred in the world. The religion of God is the cause of love, but if it is made to be the source of enmity and bloodshed, surely its absence is preferable to its existence; for then it becomes satanic, detrimental and an obstacle to the human world.”
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It's time to reclaim religion

It's time to reclaim religion | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
At a moment when the world seems to be spinning out of control, religion might feel irrelevant -- or like part of the problem. But Rabbi Sharon Brous believes we can reinvent religion to meet the needs of modern life. In this impassioned talk, Brous shares four principles of a revitalized religious practice and offers faith of all kinds as a hopeful counter-narrative to the numbing realities of violence, extremism and pessimism.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Religion is the single most powerful force to influence the human heart. That this power has been misused to serve political and economic vested interests there is no doubt. That it can be harnessed and cultivated to serve the harmonizing and healing of humanity is our greatest hope.
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Jews, Muslims and Christians to build a joint house of worship in Jerusalem

Jews, Muslims and Christians to build a joint house of worship in Jerusalem | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
In an attempt to turn away from polarization and politics, a group of Jews, Muslims, and Christians will be setting up a joint house of worship in Jerusalem. The prayer hall will be open to the public between September 5th to the 11th.

Via Jim Manske
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
The essence of all religion is one - a relationship of love with the supreme Creator, who has sent messengers from age to age to guide and inspire humankind towards an ever-advancing civilization.
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Jim Manske's curator insight, August 3, 2016 4:06 PM
I feel inspired by the courage of these folks who are walking the talk of unity and brotherhood/sisterhood!
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Symposium reframes dialogue on secular society, religion, and the common good - Bahá'í World News Service

Symposium reframes dialogue on secular society, religion, and the common good - Bahá'í World News Service | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it

VANCOUVER — Leading Canadian scholars, public servants, and civil society actors gathered here for a symposium at the University of British Colombia from 22 to 24 March to explore the meaning of building a "whole society" and the constructive role of religion in the secular, public sphere.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

   Religion -- in its essence a love affair between God and Man -- is the most powerful force for social change, because it moves the deepest fibers of the human heart.

   Too often, however, this power has been coopted by political and economic interests that hide behind and leverage this vital human faculty to promote their selfish aims.

   Besides rallying the support of unsuspecting masses, this ruse also serves to divert all blame from the true culprits when the people realize they have been deceived, and lays the blame on religion and its social structures. 

   Public discourse should concentrate, not on how to abolish religion (as impossible as eradicating thought), but rather on how to unmask and oust the wolves that are hunting under its guise.

   One area to explore more deeply is how to wrest the discourse-building power of the media from the clutch of vested interests and restore its investigative, critical role in service to the common good.

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President Obama at National Prayer Breakfast

President Obama at National Prayer Breakfast | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it

"And so, as people of faith, we are summoned to push back against those who try to distort our religion -- any religion -- for their own nihilistic ends. And here at home and around the world, we will constantly reaffirm that fundamental freedom -- freedom of religion -- the right to practice our faith how we choose, to change our faith if we choose, to practice no faith at all if we choose, and to do so free of persecution and fear and discrimination."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

The acts of violence perpetrated by political, economic and other vested interests in the name of religion and faith are offensive to God and humanity. Denouncing those acts of violence is not offensive to any faith, but rather a necessity if we are to purge our hearts, minds, actions, and societies from that violence.

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'To Light a Candle': A Testimony on Severe Condition of Baha'is in Iran

'To Light a Candle': A Testimony on Severe Condition of Baha'is in Iran | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
'To Light a Candle' unveils decades of repression, persecution and intimidation against a peaceful community of Iranians whose lives have been dramatically undermined by religious intolerance by the Iranian ruling class....
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

"In this chilling documentary, Bahari features five former Iranian prisoners who were hunted by intelligence forces and forced to confess against their uncommitted crimes before national TV. As newspapers and activists cannot speak publicly of the use of "forced confessions" against prisoners, judiciary and intelligence agencies have continued to employ this method--intimidating the public and justifying the arrests of political and cultural figures, notably Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."

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Berlín construye la primera "iglesia-mezquita-sinagoga"

Berlín construye la primera "iglesia-mezquita-sinagoga" | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
El edificio se llamará "La casa de Uno" y será una sinagoga, una iglesia y una mezquita bajo un solo techo; cada una de las tres áreas será del mismo tamaño, pero de distinta forma
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

El movimiento hacia la unidad en diversidad de las religiones es un hecho tan claro, aunque inicialmente tan imperceptible, como el amanecer de un nuevo día.

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Islamic prayers to be held at the Vatican

Islamic prayers to be held at the Vatican | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it

"For the first time in history, Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran will be heard at the Vatican on Sunday, in a move by Pope Francis to usher in peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Interfaith prayer is a growing socio-spiritual phenomenon that has the potential to unite hearts and minds. Kudos to the Vatican!

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Faith leaders call for release of Iran's imprisoned Baha'is

Faith leaders call for release of Iran's imprisoned Baha'is | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it

The program included prayers and reflections delivered by representatives of the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian communities. After the contributions, seven of the faith leaders each lit a candle, representing a prisoner.


Parliamentarians, government officials, civil society actors, academics, and representatives of interfaith organizations were also in attendance. Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of the Baha'is group, said that the event was taking place "in the context of an ongoing deterioration of the human rights situation in Iran".

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

One more example of the religions of the world uniting in support of each other and of global justice.

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Bahraini King’s Declaration of Worldwide Religious Tolerance Unveiled at Historic Simon Wiesenthal Center Interfaith Event - Iran Press Watch

Bahraini King’s Declaration of Worldwide Religious Tolerance Unveiled at Historic Simon Wiesenthal Center Interfaith Event - Iran Press Watch | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
Arab diplomats from across the Middle East, along with representatives of 15 nations from 5 continents and 300 Interfaith leaders from around the world represented Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Baha’i communities, at the historic gathering.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"...representatives of 15 nations from 5 continents and 300 Interfaith leaders from around the world represented Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Baha’i communities, at the historic gathering."
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Transcending differences, treasuring diversity | Bahá’í World News Service (BWNS)

The Baha’i House of Worship in New Delhi was the venue for a thoughtful and profound exchange on overcoming differences and building social harmony.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
“It’s ironic,” said Dr. Visvanathan, “While people considered religion to be the cause of the problem, I found that religion taught you the power to heal.” “For religion to fulfil its responsibility," said Dr. Fazli, "it needs to meet certain conditions: it should instill a profound consciousness of the oneness of humankind, should be in harmony with science and reason and distinguished from superstition and blind imitation, should promote the independent investigation of truth, and should acknowledge the oneness of all religions.”
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How do you build a sacred space?

How do you build a sacred space? | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
To design the Bahá'í Temple of South America, architect Siamak Hariri focused on illumination -- from the temple's form, which captures the movement of the sun throughout the day, to the iridescent, luminous stone and glass used to construct it. Join Hariri for a journey through the creative process, as he explores what makes for a sacred experience in a secular world.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
A heart-felt sharing by the architect of an inter-faith sacred space bequeathed to the world by the Baha'i community.
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Resurrection did not happen, say quarter of Christians - BBC News

Resurrection did not happen, say quarter of Christians - BBC News | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it

"I think [people answering the survey] are being asked to believe in the way they might have been asked to believe when they were at Sunday school.
"You're talking about adults here. And an adult faith requires that it be constantly questioned, constantly re-interpreted, which incidentally is very much what Modern Church is actually about.
"Science, but also intellectual and philosophical thought has progressed. It has a trickle-down effect on just about everybody's lives.
"So to ask an adult to believe in the resurrection the way they did when they were at Sunday school simply won't do and that's true of much of the key elements of the Christian faith."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Happily, people seem to be moving away from the usual "silos of orthodoxy" and towards a more open search for new interpretations of age-old symbols in a way that is more consistent with science and reason.
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I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here's why I left

I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here's why I left | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
What's it like to grow up within a group of people who exult in demonizing ... everyone else? Megan Phelps-Roper shares details of life inside America's most controversial church and describes how conversations on Twitter were key to her decision to leave it. In this extraordinary talk, she shares her personal experience of extreme polarization, along with some sharp ways we can learn to successfully engage across ideological lines.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
An exemplary journey from intolerance to dialog.
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Leaders in Pakistan highlight urgent need for harmony of religion - Bahá'í World News Service

Leaders in Pakistan highlight urgent need for harmony of religion - Bahá'í World News Service | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
The Bahá’í World News Service reports on current Bahá’í activity around the world.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"In the human body, cooperation ensures the functioning of that system... Similarly, civilization can be seen as the outcome of a set of interactions among closely integrated, yet diverse components—components which have transcended the narrow purpose of tending to their own existence... 
"And just as the viability of every cell and every organ depends upon the health of the body as a whole, so should the peace and prosperity of every individual, every family, and every people be sought in the well-being of the entire human race." (BIC representative Chong Ming Hwee)
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What do you think when you look at me?

What do you think when you look at me? | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it

"When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: a woman of faith? a scholar, a mom, a sister? or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist? In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks us, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media -- and to choose empathy over prejudice."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"ISIS has as much to do with Islam as the Ku Klux Klan has to do with Christianity."
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Education Is Not a Crime | Join the Campaign

Education Is Not a Crime | Join the Campaign | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
Iran stops Baha’is from teaching and studying at university. But they do teach. And they do study. Experience their story and join #educationisnotacrime
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

The campaign against this blatant violation of basic human rights is one more component of a larger campaign to stop the genocide currently perpetrated against Baha'is and other minorities in Iran.

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Ghulam Mustafa Babar's curator insight, March 27, 2016 2:46 AM

The campaign against this blatant violation of basic human rights is one more component of a larger campaign to stop the genocide currently perpetrated against Baha'is and other minorities in Iran.

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2015 World Relgion Day in Second Life - YouTube

2015 World Religion Day Panel: “Multi-Faith Reflections on Prayer” 5:00 pm, Sunday, January 18 Library of World Religions, UUtopia, Second Life (http://maps....
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Promoting interfaith efforts through virtual worlds helps to reach people from all over the world who may not have the chance participate in real life, or who can then go on to seek out or foster such events in their geographical areas.

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New Religious Affairs Minister Supports State Recognition of other Religions

New Religious Affairs Minister Supports State Recognition of other Religions | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it

“The Constitution never mentioned official religions — it only said that people are free to hold a religion or belief and worship according to their religion and belief. The problem is with the Religious Affairs Ministry, which in this case being exclusive and discriminative.”

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

"Some years ago, a Baha’i was arrested in Lampung because he was accused of spreading heresy,” Bonar said. “In another case in Central Java, people refused to bury a Baha’i in their village. There are also many cases when the civil registry office refused the marriage registration of believers outside the six officially-recognized religions. Some population administration offices forced them to choose one of the six religions.”

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Families of Slain Israeli and Palestinian Teens Turn to Each Other for Comfort

Families of Slain Israeli and Palestinian Teens Turn to Each Other for Comfort | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it
The families of murdered Israeli teen Naftali Fraenkel and murdered Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir are drawing comfort from an unexpected source: each other.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Asked why they had come, one Palestinian said, “Things will only get better when we learn to cope with each other’s pain and stop getting angry at each other. Our task is to give strength to the family and also to take a step toward my nation’s liberation. We believe that the way to our liberation is through the hearts of Jews.” He later said that the visit went very well from his perspective. “They received us very, very nicely. The mother [Rachel Fraenkel] was incredible.” “I see before me a Jewish family who has lost a son opening the door to me,” he added. “That’s not obvious. It touched my heart and my nation.”

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In the Arab world, a new discourse on religious coexistence takes root

In the Arab world, a new discourse on religious coexistence takes root | Interfaith Issues | Scoop.it

"Throughout the Arab world, a new discussion on how to live peacefully side by side with the followers of all religions has begun to take shape.


"This discourse is inspired partly by the dramatic call of an Iranian Ayatollah for religious coexistence with Baha'is, but has since taken on a life of its own, becoming a heartfelt discussion about the situation of religious freedom in Arab lands."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

An idea whose time has come...

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