The Foundation for Religious Diplomacy

Recently I’ve been contacted regarding the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, an organization which “aims to decrease disrespect and ill will between people who adhere to different religious or ideological beliefs and practices”.

So far, so interfaith.

What’s interesting and different about this group, however, is that they require participants to hold central their disagreements with each other, and to recognize that the discussants have incompatible views they both hold to be true. The FRD believes that “Attempts to resolve fundamental religious identity conflicts into harmonious unity can actually increase resentment and ill will” and asks participants to question “whether their group, which has the truth, will benefit from building respect and mitigating ill will with others who hold erroneous religious beliefs?”

This is interesting, because it puts the incompatible truth claims of different religious and ethical traditions front and center in a way that is sometimes absent in other interfaith work. One of the things that always annoys me in interfaith discussions is when someone propagates the idea that “all religions are true” when it is blatantly obvious that this cannot be the case – unless you’re willing to stretch the meaning of “true” well beyond breaking-point.

The FRD has some interesting videos showing their method up on the site – not a lot of sparks flying there, to be honest, but I’ll update with more information as I have it!

About James Croft

James Croft is the Leader in Training at the Ethical Culture Society of St. Louis - one of the largest Humanist congregations in the world. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently writing his Doctoral dissertation as a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist. His upcoming book "The Godless Congregation", co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Greg Epstein, is being published by Simon & Schuster.

  • Norman Fobert

    This is a great! introduction! I am actually seeing the way I feel and think in print. Even in political, social and educational settings I feel, “For it must needs be, an opposition in all things.” Nephi. I am looking forward to learning more about this organization and challenging my own thinking.

  • John W. Morehead

    I know that this comment is late, but I just discovered this post. I’m glad you find the unique perspective of FRD of interest and value. I am the Custodian of the Evangelical Chapter and am pleased to work with like-minded Evangelicals, as well as Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and others, including Pagan and Atheist friends and colleagues who I hope will form their own FRD chapters in the near future. In fact, Chris Stedman, author of Faitheist, has been at the forefront of urging atheists to see the value in interreligious engagement, and he was instrumental in working with Interfaith Youth Core to present his perspective at Gordon College for Christian students. Since you wrote your post a new website has launched for FRD. Click on my name for the new URL. Thanks again for sharing this, and if I can answer any questions please let me know.