I have previously written about the differences between interfaith and interspirituality, but let me start this column by repeating the most important distinctions.
Interfaith is about creating harmony between people who profess to different faiths and ideologies.
Interspirituality is an exploration of mystical traditions and experiences.
Interfaith is for everyone.
Interspirituality is not.
The Need to Feel Safe
Most people want to live in a peaceful society. They want to be able to go about their business without feeling marginalized, being discriminated against, or having to stay alert because of threats of violence.
However, because we live in a diverse and often divisive society, where people argue about different views and ideologies, there are those among us who do not feel safe. That is why it is important for all groups to get to know each other, to be around each other, and to feel safe in each other’s presence.
My experience with interfaith events over the past few years has been exactly this. People of all faiths come together, not to agree on every ideological aspect, but to appreciate each other’s humanity. I have witnessed cordial interactions between people who otherwise might not have gotten to know each other.
Working Towards a Peaceful SocietyFor the above-stated reasons, interfaith should be for everyone who wants to work towards a more peaceful society.
As the name implies, interfaith should include all faiths, but we also need to include those who stand outside of organized religion, including humanists, secularists, those who prefer to label themselves spiritual-but-nonreligious, and everyone in between.
When people from diverse backgrounds come together in good faith for the purpose of creating a more peaceful society, it sends a powerful message to the rest of society.
The Interfaith Community Can Do Better
From what I have seen in the last few years, the interfaith community is making an effort to be inclusive, but we can do better. We must reach out to all the above-mentioned groups and others beyond with a simple message: “We don’t have to agree on everything or merge ideologies, but we can still live in peace side-by-side. Join us and let’s show the world that it can be done.”
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