The Religious Roundtable

CC BY-NC, skycaptaintwo, Flickr

I watched a feature story and listened to a gentleman explain his approach to religion that helped me estimate my own feelings.

The man, a Christian, led an interfaith forum that encouraged dialogue between religions. He highlighted that if people attended the meetings only to brand others as infidels and to banish them to hell, they usually found little meaning in the gatherings. On the other hand, people firmly rooted in their beliefs and sure that their religion was indeed the way but who were also willing to open themselves to discussion—those people greatly benefitted from the meetings.

The gentleman went on to say what brought together two years of intense seminary study for me: to claim that your faith is right is not bigoted fundamentalism, as liberalist and anti-religionists would suggest or goad us toward relativism. It only demonstrates the acceptance of revelation, and many religions are grounded in revelation.

Simply put, we’re supposed to believe “hard,” or fervently. Yet when it comes to coexisting and plainly having to do with one another, we must be willing to meet at the roundtable to communicate and agree to set aside our bibles and other holy texts to simply hear one another. We will discover that our spiritual needs are the same and notice better the rich human diversity in which we partake.

To hear this was like emerging from a slick of religious sludge.

Why can’t we talk? It may happen that a person converts through the communication process, although this isn’t the goal. But arguments accomplish nothing, except the disrespect of religion.