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.”

Katy Interfaith Group sends Confusing Message

Personally, I’m not really down with interfaith groups if what said groups are trying to do is pretend that their respective convictions can all be true and are equally valid.

I suppose the only good reason for a Christian to join such a group would be in obedience to the Great Commission.

Obviously Islam, Judaism and Christianity have some things in common, mainly the belief in One God (as to His Nature ask a Muslim or a Jew what He thinks of God becoming man).

However, clearly where Islam and the latter 2 split is on which son of Abraham received the blessings of the firstborn. Islam asserts that the blessings went to Ishmael, while Judaism (and thus Christianity, since Christianity completes Judaism) correctly asserts that the son of the promise is Isaac.

Judaism and Christianity split on the person of Jesus Christ, whom Christians are convinced is Judaism’s long awaited Messiah and God Incarnate (something unspeakably blasphemous to the Muslim and Jewish ear, who says these 2 don’t have anything in common?)

Obviously, anyone who says that these 3 are all true needs to, at the very least, mix in a course or two on logic.

This being said, in the Houston suburb of Katy a so-called interfaith group was revived earlier this year. If I remember correctly this was done in response to the infamous pig races a local citizen held to protest the building of a mosque near his property (blogged about it here and here).

A recently written article about said group raises some questions,

“One thing that’s important about the way we put this together is that we not only want the diversity of three major faiths but we want diversity within those three major faiths,” he said. “We’re trying to communicate that none of them are monolithic.”

“He” being the Rev. David Hargrave, pastor of First Christian Church in Katy, and the “three major faiths” being Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

Later on in the story,

Hargrave said leaders of other faiths, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, will continue to be recruited.

I wonder how Buddhist and Hindu leaders will react to Hargrave’s mention of “those three major faiths.”?