Everyone thinks their opinions are correct, but obviously this cannot be the case, so we should strive to be generous and try to understand the reasons for other’s beliefs. Is their/our certainty based on personal experience or have they/we just uncritically bought into someone else’s worldview? Are these values mutually exclusive and black/white or really more gray and nuanced? Are we open to discover something new or even admit that perhaps we were wrong and then change our mind?
Political parties thrive on us/them thinking. Talking-heads can increase ratings and corporate revenues by inflaming differences. Demagogues can gain followers by playing on fears and disregarding facts – manipulating the media and deflecting attention from critical issues by tweeting outrageous statements.
Religious institutions are usually internally-viewed as the guardians of a certain set of beliefs, but ideally, in my view, churches, temples and mosques, etc. need to become non-dualistic, two-way bridges between the sacred and the profane; between right brain understanding and left brain thinking; between believers and non-believers – and not for the purpose of converting someone to a particular way of seeing things, but as communities where all people are safe to question, discuss and even disagree.
Interfaith dialogue “refers to cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions (i.e., “faiths”) and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels.” I believe this is a step in the right direction, but secular humanist/faith-based dialogue may ultimately be more fruitful in bringing about global “spiritual wisdom” in this century.
The Interfaith Observer was launched in 2011 as a free monthly digital journal, created to explore interreligious relations and the interfaith movement. Here are some TIO personal perspectives on Spiritual Wisdom from their December 2016 publication:
“TIO is written and edited by 350 interfaith activists with decades of hands-on experience in this new arena. It aims to be a progressive, provocative, useful source of hope.” You can subscribe for free, but if you like what they do, go to their donor page and give – it will help keep TIO sustainable.
The Interfaith Center at the Presidio, San Francisco, United Religions Initiative, Religions for Peace, Parliament of World Religions, Interfaith Youth Core and North American Interfaith Network are some of TIO’s stakeholders/supporting sponsors.