Quotes About Interfaith and Interspirituality

Quotes About Interfaith and Interspirituality February 7, 2018

There is a significant difference between interfaith and interspirituality. Interfaith is an exercise in understanding and harmony—a way to co-exist despite ideological differences. Interspirituality is an exploration that can unveil the few strands of experience that the religions of the world share.

Keep these differences in mind and try to spot which is which while you read the following quotes. They appear in chronological order, based on the birth years of their creators.

“All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way.”

Epictetus (55-135)
Stoic Philosopher

“Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.”

Meister Eckhart (1260-1328)
German Theologian, Philosopher and Mystic

“It is particularly recommended, as a means of uniting the inhabitants of the village into one family, that while each faithfully adheres to the principles which he most approves, at the same time all shall think charitably of their neighbors respecting their religious opinions, and not presumptuously suppose that theirs alone are right.”

Robert Owen (1771-1858)
Welsh social reformer

“God has made different religions to suit different aspirants, times, and countries. All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God himself. Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with whole-hearted devotion. One may eat a cake with icing either straight or sidewise. It will taste sweet either way.”

Ramakrishna (1836-1886)
Indian Yogi and Mystic
From: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

“The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor is a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth. If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity, and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character.”

Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)
Hindu Monk and Chief Disciple of Ramakrishna

“It is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world. If we are to respect others’ religions, as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world’s religions is a sacred duty.”

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Civil Rights Leader, Hindu mystic, and Nonviolent Visionary

“Indian religion has always felt that since the minds, the temperaments and the intellectual affinities of men are unlimited in their variety, a perfect liberty of thought and of worship must be allowed to the individual in his approach to the Infinite.”

Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950)
Hindu Philosopher, Yogi, Guru and Poet

“Beyond the narrow barriers of race and creed we can all unite, because we all belong to one God.”

Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927)
Founder of the Sufi Order in the West and teacher of Universal Sufism
From: The Sayings of Hazrat Inayat Khan

“Even if a unity of faith is not possible, a unity of love is.”

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
Swiss Theologian and Catholic Priest

“God is not a Christian, God is not a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist. All of those are human systems, which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honor my tradition, I walk through my tradition, but I don’t think my tradition defines God, I think it only points me to God.”

John Selby Spong (1931)
American Bishop of the Episcopal Church and Author

“If we live in our oneness-heart, we will feel the essence of all religions which is the love of God. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion.”

Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007)
Indian Spiritual Leader who taught Meditation from his base in New York City

“We need a new global spirituality that affirms the unity of all being, that affirms the interconnectedness of all, and affirms a new bottom line of love, caring, and generosity.”

Rabbi Michael Lerner (1943)
Jewish Rabbi, American political activist, editor of Tikkun, a progressive Jewish interfaith magazine based in California
From panel discussion at 2004 Parliament of World Religions

“When we lose the contemplative mind, or non-dual consciousness, we invariably create violent people. The dualistic mind is endlessly argumentative, and we created an argumentative continent, which we also exported to North and South America. We see it in our politics; we see it in our Church’s inability to create any sincere interfaith dialogue—or even intra-faith dialogue. The Baptists are still fighting the Anglicans as “lost” and the Evangelicals are dismissing the Catholics as the “Whore of Babylon,” and we Catholics are demeaning everybody else as heretics, and each of us is hiding in our small, smug circles. What a waste of time and good God-energy, while the world suffers and declines.”

Richard Rohr (1943)
American Franciscan Friar
From Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation

“Interspirituality is essentially an agent of a universal mysticism and integral spirituality. We often walk the interspiritual or intermystical path in an intuitive attempt to reach a more complete truth. That final integration, a deep convergence, is an integral spirituality. Bringing together all the great systems of spiritual wisdom, practice, insight, reflection, experience, and science provides a truly integral understanding of spirituality in its practical application in our lives, regardless of our tradition.”

Brother Wayne Teasdale (1945-2004)
Catholic monk, author, teacher, and energetic proponent of interfaith dialogue

“God has given us many faiths but only one world in which to coexist. May your work help all of us cherish our commonalities and feel enlarged by our differences.”

Jonathan Henry Sacks (1948)
British Rabbi, Philosopher, and Scholar of Judaism

“We have, for the first time in history, easy access to all of the world’s great religions. Examine the many great traditions — from Christianity to Buddhism, Islam to Taoism, Paganism to Neoplatonism — and you are struck by two items: there are an enormous number of differences between them, and a handful of striking similarities. When you find a few essential items that all, or virtually all, of the world’s great religions agree on, you have probably found something incredibly important about the human condition.”

Ken Wilber (1949)
Philosopher, Writer and Creator of Integral Theory

Please, feel free to add quotes about interfaith and interspirituality in the comment section.

Gudjon Bergmann
Interfaith Minister & Author

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