Peace Village: More Interfaith Confusion

We believe that all religions are basically the same –
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation. — from Steve Turner’s “Creed”

Many Christians are angered or disturbed by so-called Interfaith groups. Anger isn’t really an emotion that bubbles up within me when I read about these kind of well-intentioned groups (truly the quip about the road to hell surely applies here).

Confusion is probably what besets me when I read about these types of efforts (previously blogged about it here).

After reading a related article in the Houston Chronicle’s Religion section, I was again puzzled.

“Bound by the Golden Rule”

The story is about a woman, Janie Stevens, who has brought something called “Peace Village” to Houston in order to,

“It helps Christians of all ages learn about their fellow human beings on Earth, within the context of their faith,” she said. “It has been a real eye-opener to see how we all have prayer lives of one form or another and we all acknowledge a higher being.”

Well and good, I for one don’t mind learning about other beliefs. It is somewhat enlightening and astonishing how humans utilize their imagination to worship everything and anything instead of the Living God.

I’m not sure if Stevens’ venture seeks to pretend that these different faiths are all the same and they worship the same god.

Anyone familiar with any of the major world religions can see that as Turner points out in his poem they differ vastly on the important stuff. That there are threads of commonality is beyond dispute but this does not mean that they are the same.

Though this seems to be espoused by a Christian Reverend quoted in the article,

“It’s a wonderful depiction of the major world religions,” said the Rev. Gary H. Jones, director of chaplaincy services for St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Care System. “What I saw as the thread is a way of blessing people — the many ways of blessings, of calling for prayer and calling God in times of need.”

I wonder what Rev. Jones makes of Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman,

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

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3 Responses to Peace Village: More Interfaith Confusion

  1. izzy99 says:

    There is a bit of confusion within the Christian religion itself. Baptists, Mormons, Protestants, Catholics, Methodists, Jehovah’s Witnesses are the first to come to mind. Even within one group, there are sub groups (Roman Catholics, National Catholics…). With one Christ there should be one Christian religion, no? Even the Christian counterparts: Muslim & Hebrew, that are based on the same scripture of yesteryear can not come to agreement on exactly what the truth of religion is.

    It seems to me that interfaith worship is a good thing and would end some of that confusion; although I can never understand Hebrew/Christian marriages.

  2. Laz says:

    Izzy,
    Thanks for the comment.

    Some clarification is warranted. For starters neither Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses are Christian.

    Secondly, the schisms within Christianity, most notably Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant give testimony to the inability of humans, despite shared convictions, to remain united.

    Admittedly, those who claim Christ need to heed the Apostle’s urging to not to split into factions (see 1 Corinthians 3) as well as his repeated calls to unity. As evidenced followers of Christ have not done a good job of this to our shame.

    Sadly, sometimes such fractionation is necessary when the visible church has deviated from the teachings of Christ (see what sparked the Reformation).

    You’re right, with One Christ there should be one faith and there is. God knows those who are His and we are all scattered throughout the different groups, sub-groups and what have you.

    The confusion I referred to can be found in the stanza I chose to open the post with. Christ claimed to be Truth (not a concept but a person) and of course we can all agree or disagree but the fact does not change with our opinions. Personally my church is non-denominational (though I later discovered that even we have our denomination, lol) yet there is no incongruity in worshiping at a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian church, provided they remain within Christian orthodoxy.

    Faiths which deny Christ as Truth are by definition false, so I fail to see how Christians can worship Christ while at the same time claiming these other systems to be true. It’s contradictory and utter nonsense and well, confusing…

    To be sure though it is a “good thing” as you described so long as the convictions of each faith aren’t held seriously. The same way which fans of different movies can enjoy sharing about their favorite movies. Yes a good time is had by all but ultimately the things enjoyed aren’t based on truth.

  3. Pingback: Southern Baptists address Calvinism « Last Row

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