Us v. Them

I recently participated in a forum on religious diversity that was held at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.

I joined Buddhist, Jewish, and Muslim leaders in discussing the major concerns our respective religious bodies had in this day and age. The FIT students present were respectful and asked good questions.

My own reflections that evening focused on what I think is a problem that the major religions share. We all have conservative and liberal factions, and those of us on the more progressive, non-fundamentalist end of the spectrum are constantly seeing the other side get the lion’s share of media attention. Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist fundamentalists–however different their beliefs–seem to always to present the outrageous beliefs that grab the headlines. Meanwhile, the calm and reasonable attempts at explaining our respective faiths that we mainstream clergy propose are ignored.

The solution to our problem eludes me. But it is certain that we will need to do a better job of getting our message out. —J. Douglas Ousley

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