When the topic of religion comes up in conversation most people run, shut down, or just simply tune out. It can be hard talking about subjects that are inherently personal, private, and intricate. Many of us are not accustomed to talking about different religions, either, and we just don't know where to begin. So how do you get to a point where you can have open conversations about religion without feeling like you're bracing for an argument? We've got some great inspiration for you!
The best place to start is with The Interfaith Amigos. The group is comprised of Rabbi Ted Falcon, Pastor Don Mackenzie, and Imam Jamal Rahman, collectively known as The Interfaith Amigos, and they have a lot of incredible things to say! This TEDxDU talk is all about breaking the taboos of interfaith dialogue. And there are so many helpful tips and truly inspiring moments in the video. If you haven't seen The Interfaith Amigos yet, don't pass on this video.
People have been working across religious differences for many decades, creating incredible groups, organizations, nonprofits, and more to continue that success today. The Academy for Cultural Diplomacy compiled an excellent timeline of examples of interfaith dialogues that contributed to understanding global religious traditions. That's no small feat!
Jim Burklo, the Associate Dean of the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California, spent 36 years embedded in interfaith work and created Seven Principles of Interfaith Engagement. Not only do his principles help readers understand why interfaith dialogue is important, they also explain how you can grow your own religious faith through learning about other religions.
Why is it important to have conversations and exchange ideas with people of different religions? Well, Dr. Herron Keyon Gaston put it well when he said the following in his Huffington Post article on interfaith work in a global world: "the heart of interfaith work includes a multitude of different types of conversations. It is not an all-amassing concept. Rather it is intended to be a rigorous exchange of ideas, goals, philosophies, and thoughts, that seeks to crack us open and avail us to perspectives and viewpoints outside of our own. It is about coming to a mutual understanding, and does not seek to compete for who’s right or wrong."
When you next play Why Can't We All Just Get Along?, you might just find yourself thinking about how interfaith dialogue could go a long way to bringing us all together.