Surveys conducted by IPSOS and Gallup corroborate a sentiment that is palpable: there is significant concern about the division among Americans.
So, what is the solution? What steps can we take to remedy this situation?
At Paths to Understanding, we are committed to uniting individuals from diverse cultures, traditions, and identities. Our aim is for people to become acquainted with one another, collaborate for the common good, and offer mutual public support. This will not only transform the individuals directly involved but also reverberate throughout the entire community as stories about these initiatives are shared. We believe this approach will help individuals recognize that we share more commonalities than differences, facilitating collective social harmony.
But how does this address our political fissures? Unfortunately, the focus on political divisions has obscured the shared values that could unify us.
I contend that the coming together of people from varied traditions serves as an embodiment of hope for our communities.
However, I must acknowledge that I was raised with the notion that Christianity was superior to other religious traditions. So, on what theological basis do I, as a Christian, collaborate with individuals from diverse religious backgrounds, especially when it is for the greater good?
Among the justifications are:
- The belief in a singular Creator responsible for a diverse yet unified world.
- The Abrahamic calling to be a blessing to all communities.
- Jesus’ demonstrated respect for Samaritans and individuals from other religious traditions.
- The envisioned future where all people coexist in a renewed creation.
In my interactions with Christians regarding interfaith collaborations, I have encountered several reservations, including:
- The mandate to “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
- The statement “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
- The warning against being “unequally yoked with non-believers.”
- The claim that forgiveness can only be attained through Christ.
These conflicting messages have led many Christians and their congregations toward passivity and isolation.
Yet our divisions are so profound that it is imperative for individuals from all religious and wisdom traditions to engage in mutual understanding and cooperative efforts. We need people from all backgrounds to advocate for our collective welfare and inherent goodness.
The question is: Will Christians step up and do our part?
To address this, our course “Go and Do Likewise,” along with an upcoming book, aims to help Christians navigate these mixed messages. We will discover that not only is it acceptable to respect and collaborate with individuals from other traditions, but it is also central to embodying Jesus’ leadership in our day.
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