The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

From the Huffington Post: Chris Stedman: Talking About Atheism and Interfaith Work at Religious Colleges 2 March , 2011

Filed under: Interfaith Issues — Administrator @ 9:35 am
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This February, as friends of mine flocked south to escape the unrelenting cold of Boston, I headed to the Midwest.

It was my first college and university speaking tour, put together in partnership with eight institutions in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa that extended invitations for me to come speak to students about my experiences as an atheist and an interfaith activist. I was beyond grateful, not only because it was a wonderful chance to try out some material from my forthcoming book and an opportunity to share my hope for greater understanding between the religious and the secular, but also because I got to see firsthand how atheism and interfaith work are not only discussed but lived on campuses in the Midwest.

The Midwest, where I grew up, isn’t known as a beacon of secularism. Sure enough, all but two of the schools I visited have a particular religious affiliation. Of these, one highlight was North Park University(NPU), a school that describes itself as “distinctively Christian.” My session was the first time the campus had hosted an atheist speaker, and I was humbled by the enthusiastic welcome I received.

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Frank Fredericks on NonProphetStatus: God, We Need Atheists 24 January , 2011

Filed under: Interfaith Issues — Administrator @ 1:00 pm
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The discourse between evangelical Christians and atheists has been antipodal at best. Whether it is Richard Dawkins calling faith “the great cop-out,” or countless professed Christians using “godless” like an offensive epithet, we’ve reached new lows. In fact, generally the discussion quickly descends into a volley of talking points and apologetics. I abhor those conversations with the same disdain I reserve for being stuck in the crossfire between a toe-the-line Republican and slogan-happy Democrat, rehashing last week’s pundit talking points.

I believe we need to revolutionize the way we interact. As an evangelical Christian, I recognize that my community equates atheism with pedophilia, like some dark spiritual vacuum that sucks out any trace of compassion or morality. Even in interfaith circles, where peace and tolerance (and soft kittens) rule the day, the atheists are often eyed with suspicion in the corner — if they’re even invited.

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WF Board Member Featured in the HuffPost: Jews and the Need For God: Modern Lessons from Moses Maimonides 3 January , 2011

Judaism is an action-oriented religion. We have, according to the Talmud, 613 Commandments — not just a top-10 list. In rabbinic courts, your actions can be praised or punished. Faith is a means to achieve just ends, prayer as a way of connecting to the Source of Creation so that we can better play our part in its ongoing unfolding.

But what if you can achieve those same just, creative, Jewish ends without faith as a means or a motivation? Do you need God if you observe the 613 Commandments (or reinterpret and reapply them as so many modern Jews do)? Do you need God if you consider prayer an act of introspection — one that changes the way you understand your actions, much as your believing counterparts do? Do you need God if you love the Torah as a national treasure of the Jewish people — but one written and conceived of by our ancestors rather than the Divine?

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From The Huffington Post: Atheist Students Find Their Place in the Interfaith Movement 4 November , 2010

Filed under: Interfaith Issues,News — Administrator @ 2:20 pm
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Atheists are leading the charge for interfaith cooperation. If that sounds contradictory, allow me to confirm: I just saw it with my own eyes.

Last weekend, more than 200 college students and 100 faculty and staff from across the United States converged in Washington, D.C. for five days of interfaith training. Students and campus staff participated in two consecutive Interfaith Leadership Institutes, planned and run by the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), where they received intensive training that prepared them to take the lead in a national movement for interfaith cooperation and social action.

The Interfaith Leadership Institutes, co-hosted by the Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, consisted of a series of trainings, speeches and events intended to equip hundreds of student leaders and campus allies with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to lead interfaith and community service initiatives on their campuses. The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships hosted a session for each institute, and then participants spent two days at Georgetown being trained and equipped.

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From The Guardian: Reach out to those without faith, too 19 October , 2010

Filed under: Interfaith Issues — Administrator @ 7:55 am
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Most people would accept that religion can be an extremely divisive force. You don’t have to subscribe to theories of “the clash of civilisations” to note that religious fanaticism is a continued source of conflict in the world. But in the modern era there is a counter-trend that tends to be overlooked: that of dialogue and conciliation between faiths.

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From The Huffington Post: Interfaith Dialogue Must Include Atheists 12 October , 2010

In my work as an interfaith activist, I’ve fought to bring an end to religious division. Lately this has increasingly meant speaking out against the rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence sweeping America. As a member of the Common Ground Campaign, I’m actively working to oppose those who wish to disenfranchise the American Muslim community.

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