We live in rapidly changing times. The relative isolation in which religions existed as tribal entities that never encountered one another in our parents’ and grandparents’ generation is gone forever with the advent of the Internet. Religious hatred has been the cause of senseless acts of violence, wars, and genocide throughout history. In the short history of the 21st century alone we have seen the tragedy of the attacks by Islamic fundamentalists on the World Trade Center and attacks by Christian extremists on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, a youth camp in Norway, several abortion clinics – and this list is far from exhaustive. The fastest growing religions in America are Islam and Buddhism, and the fasts growing group on surveys of religious preference are the unaffiliated.
The idea that each religion and system of spirituality worships a different God is an idea that belongs to the dusty shelves of history. The truth is that the great religious traditions share quite a bit in common, from the so-called Golden Rule to the values of forgiveness, compassion, loving kindness, concern for the poor and afflicted, instructions about how to live a good life and become happy, and literally dozens of others. In our pluralistic society, it is more important that we come to understand people of other faith traditions and what they believe so we may find ways in which to come together in common cause. We don’t have to believe all the same things to get along or to work together. Humility compels us to admit that none of us has all the answers, but after centuries of animosity between religions we can all be sure that fighting with each other is not the answer.
UAC Interspiritual creates ministries and opportunities that bring together people from divergent religious traditions – as well as those who have no particular religious tradition at all – to form community, join together in spiritual practice, ask difficult questions, and share our journeys with each other so that we might benefit from the creative tension that exists when people of different viewpoints come together to share and build community. This creative tension is an essential component of historic Anglicanism and one of the chief reasons Anglicanism has never placed much value on extensive dogma or doctrine, which tend to stifle conversation and create exclusion. You will see the logo at the top of this page on websites and printed materials from our interspiritual ministries!