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People Interfaith Engagement

How to Practice Interfaith Engagement

In a time of uncertainty and unrest, people of many faiths are coming together in prayer and in action.

But though tragic times may bring us together, everyday life may not be as unifying. Differences between faiths and religions can cause struggles in our everyday life.

People of many faiths may ask themselves the following:

How can I be a good neighbor?

How can I teach my children about other religions?

How can I reconcile our differences?

How can I engage with a person of another faith with respect?

Here are a few ways people can practice interfaith engagement.

Come to terms with the differences.

First, the world’s many religions are different. There’s no getting around that. There are similarities between some religions but many more differences between others. Understanding and accepting these differences is the first step in interfaith engagement.

Understanding differences between religions is the 1st step in #interfaith engagement. Click To Tweet

Even the differences have their differences.

Secondly, the difference between Hinduism and Islam is not comparative to the difference between Christianity and Judaism. It is also important to recognize the variety of differences among the variety of religions.

The original Huffington Post article states one example:

Judaism as a religion is quite different than Christianity as a religion. For one thing, Judaism has an intrinsic ethnic identity that Christianity lacks. The failure to account for the differences between the differences results in deep misunderstandings in interfaith contexts.

Religions have different ways of understanding these differences.

Lastly, differences, not just among religions but among each other, are what make each of us who we are. Embracing the various differences and the levels of differences is important to embrace interfaith engagement.

But what is also important is recognizing how each religion approaches and understands these differences. One way that religions may approach each other is through pluralism. As defined by Diane Eck of Harvard Pluralism Project, pluralism is the approach of other religions being of equal good for others as my own religion is for me.

Engaging with other faiths is proving imperative in today’s climate. There are four other ways that people of various faiths can embrace each other and engage in meaningful dialogue.

Read 4 other ways to practice interfaith engagement here.

Photo credit: © 22tomtom | Dreamstime.com

Rev. James Burklo

Rev. James Burklo

Rev. James Burklo is Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California (USC), where he also teaches a course in public policy at the School of Social Work. He was previously Executive Director of the Urban Ministry of Palo Alto, an interfaith nonprofit cooperation serving thousands of homeless people annually, and worked as the ecumenical Protestant minister for the United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford University. He earned his M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary and his ministerial ordination from the United Church of Christ. He is the author of four books, including Hitchhiking to Alaska: The Way of Soulful Service (2013) and Souljourn (2013).

Claremont Core

Claremont Lincoln University

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Rev. James Burklo

Rev. James Burklo

Rev. James Burklo is Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California (USC), where he also teaches a course in public policy at the School of Social Work. He was previously Executive Director of the Urban Ministry of Palo Alto, an interfaith nonprofit cooperation serving thousands of homeless people annually, and worked as the ecumenical Protestant minister for the United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford University. He earned his M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary and his ministerial ordination from the United Church of Christ. He is the author of four books, including Hitchhiking to Alaska: The Way of Soulful Service (2013) and Souljourn (2013).

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