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feature : word on ths street
September 21st, 2006
Word on the Street : Is Interfaith Dialogue Important?

How does the recent controversy surrounding Pope Benedict’s comments on Islam affect your views on interfaith dialogue?

Renee, 27
"I have no idea...I've just never thought of it. I don't understand why people treat people differently. We all bleed. We all are born the same way. We all are here. I don't know."
Malik, 35
"I believe [people of different faiths] should get along but as you can see now it's really not like that. And I don't know if it ever will get any better. It's just that some people need to get along with each other and some people just can't."

Do you think religion plays a big role in that?

"Not really."
Dennis, 17
"I believe that it's important to allow people to function but I do believe that the pope had the right to say what he said. He later said that [his controversial statements about Islam] were part of a medieval text and that he does believe that all faiths should get along. But the fact that he apologized is honorable. Interfaith dialogue is necessary...especially in our country where there's so much mixing of religions and faiths and beliefs among people. Yeah, it really is quite important to help people get along with each other."
Anna, 16
"Religion is causing so many problems…A lot of religious conflicts like 9/11 and the whole war in Iraq, come from religious differences and religious rules and laws that different countries abide by…I think [interfaith dialogue] is needed in our modern world so we can learn to tolerate other religions in order to prevent future events like the 9/11 attacks."
Pircha, 25
"I'm Jewish and I believe in interfaith dialogue very much. I actually go to a yoga center called Integral Yoga which is having an interfaith dialogue this Sunday. Swami Satchidananda, who was a yoga guru, believed strongly that truth is one but path is many."
David, 19
"I think that religions are all cultural perspectives on the same truth and that dialogues between them are really just dialogues between different cultures. They're not dialogues between the spiritual truth itself because there's only one truth. So I think there needs to be more tolerance of other cultures' ideas so that each person can grasp more fully the central truth of spirituality. People don't understand each other's cultures and they are refusing to learn about it and refusing to try to understand the other person's perspective no matter how valid it is."
Karen, 24
"It's not important to me and it should not be important to anyone. Everyone should have their own opinions, their own faith, and their own religion and whatever their gods are, they should just keep it to themselves and believe in whatever they want to believe. People are always going to have different gods and religions so there really is no point to have a dialogue between religions. What is there to gain? I don't think there is anything to gain other than conflict and fighting and angry people."
Mark, 23
"It's important that everybody around the world with different beliefs realize that we're all human beings and that we have different beliefs but we still need to communicate with each other on how we feel…I think that between faiths, if you understand them, victory can be achieved."


 
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