If we agree in love, there is no disagreement that can do us any injury, but if we do not, no other agreement can do us any good. Let us endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace. — Hosea Ballou (1771-1852), Universalist minister
This workshop begins to tell the story of "religious pluralism" and considers ways that people of different religions do and can act together in the world. While the dominant stories about religion in the world showcase conflict and disagreement, this workshop offers religious pluralism as an alternate narrative focused on interfaith cooperation, which is also the goal of this program. The story prompts consideration of the history of interfaith work in the Unitarian Universalist tradition and a foundational storytelling activity allows participants to understand the power of stories in building interfaith cooperation. Alternate Activity 1 presents the same information as Activity 2, but with video. If the meeting space has the capability to show the videos, consider replacing Activity 2 with Alternate Activity 1. Activity 4 includes the optional use of food; be sure you know of any allergies or restrictions participants may have.
This workshop will:
- Introduce the broad concept that there is a "story of religion in the world" that has many, competing versions, including the destructive "Clash of Civilizations" version and the helpful "religious pluralism" version
- Point out the ubiquity of narratives and stories in our everyday lives
- Offer concrete examples of interfaith cooperation and the Unitarian Universalist historic commitment to interfaith cooperation.
- Understand the concept of religious pluralism
- Identify three components of a religiously pluralistic community: respect for religious identity, mutually inspiring relationships, and common action for the common good
- Explore their own ideas about the role of religion in the world and discover why it might be important for people of different faiths to work together
- Understand an implicit Unitarian Universalist theology of pluralism
- Become aware of the cultural lens of liberal progressivism that they may bring to interfaith work.
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