Interfaith dialogue and social cohesion

by
26 February 2008

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From the Revd Dr Marcus Braybrooke

Sir, — If interfaith activities have a limited effect on developing community cohesion, as your report “‘Few benefits from faith links’” (News, 22 February) states, it is perhaps because this is not the primary purpose of interfaith work. A new relationship between people of different faiths flows from a transforming spiritual recognition that “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, Like the wideness of the sea.”

Sir Francis Younghusband, who founded the World Congress of Faiths in 1936, like other interfaith pioneers, was inspired by a mystical experience in Tibet when “he felt in touch with the flaming heart of the world.” As a result, he “felt as if he were in love with every man and woman in the world”.

Good multifaith community relations are very important, although they can also make people more aware of their particular religious identity. The interfaith movement is true to itself when it calls people to a deeper experience of the One Divine Reality and, in so doing, to abandon the past intolerance and exclusiveness of many religions and to recognise that God’s love has no limits.

MARCUS BRAYBROOKE,
President of the World Congress of Faiths
17 Courtiers Green
Clifton Hampden
Abingdon OX14 3EN

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