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Interfaith Understanding vs. Interfaith Warfare

Over at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute blog, Institute public communications guru Blair Hodges reflected on interfaith understanding and the role of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship in advancing that understanding.

…much of the work produced at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship is intended to foster productive and lasting relationships between people of various religions. For example, our Middle Eastern Texts Initiative translates and publishes medieval texts from the traditions of Islam, Judaism, and Eastern Christianity. These translations celebrate the joint achievements of diverse thinkers and scholars across time, geography, and faith, serving also as models for such cooperation today. Likewise, our Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts seeks to provide greater access to ancient Syriac Christian texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls, benefiting not only scholars, but anyone interested in considering how the religious perspectives of times past have informed the present.

Just as Mouw says about the teachings of Joseph Smith, the work produced at the Maxwell Institute ”can serve as an important springboard for ongoing conversation about matters that go deep into the secret places of our shared humanity” (Talking, 89). Ultimately, the Institute’s mission “is to deepen understanding and nurture discipleship among Latter-day Saints and to promote mutual respect and goodwill among people of all faiths through the scholarly study of religious texts and traditions.”

These comments about interfaith understanding come from a review by Hodges of Richard Mouw’s book Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals.

I applaud the Maxwell Institute for promoting understanding rather than trying to vanquish the critics of Mormonism. We have much more in common than it might appear.

With February being Interfaith Month, we will be talking more about interfaith dialogue throughout the month here at Approaching Justice.

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