A Topic for Interfaith Religious Forum Wanted.

Vapour

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Hi, I'm organising an interfaith religioius forum among Jew, Muslim and Chritian in my university. I invited my university's Jewish Society, Islamic Society and Christian Society to pick speaker. So I got a rabbi (orthodox, I think), a minister (Anglican) and a Sheikh (Sarafi). Now I have to pick a topic.

When we did it last year (when I wasn't involved in picking the topic), the topic was "Who was Jesus?". Understandably, Judaism side complained later that the topic wasn't really fair to them. This time, I want to ensure that everyone is happy with the arrangement. So I'm going to ask each speaker to suggest topic but I also want to suggest some topics as well. If the topic I propose is fair and interesting, they might just accept that.

So can the people in this forum suggest something.

Oh and thanks in advance.
 

bananabrain

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how about "responses to pluralism" - they can address it in terms of both their own religion and others. that way they can be as incisive and controversial as they like - or not!

b'shalom

bananabrain
 

Vapour

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bananabrain said:
how about "responses to pluralism" - they can address it in terms of both their own religion and others. that way they can be as incisive and controversial as they like - or not!

b'shalom

bananabrain

ah, the majority of audience are going to be university undergraduates (18 - 21 years old) and they probably goes :confused: when they see title like that. :)
 

iBrian

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Get them to join this forum, and then thrash out some ideas among themselves. :)

If you're worried about being populist, you could always explore the topic of interfaith dialogue, or else relationships between the different faiths.
 

9Harmony

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Hi Vapour,

How about asking them to focus on points of agreement. Things they all have in common. Similarities between all religions.

Interfaith forums should be for the purpose of building bridges and what better way than to focus on where they agree.

My 2 cents. :D

Loving Greetings, Harmony
 

Vapour

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The topics which has been suggested already.

Who was Jesus?
Is God for Peace or for War.
How God Reveal Himself?
What God think of the world?
True word of God, Torah/Bible/Koran?
 

barefootgal9

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Vapour

May I suggest something to do with the idea of a Divine Covenant -- all three faiths share this concept, but I have never seen an in depth, interfaith discussion of the concept. I think it could be a fascinating exploration -- which none of the three faiths could "own" more than any other - and would be an area in which I think the participants and audience would discrover a surprising unity, and fruitful insights exploring where/if the faiths diverge.

Perhaps: "The Ancient Covenant: past, present and future"

Wish I could be there. good look and God's blessings on your endeavor.

(gee, don't you have a Baha'i group on your campus?!?)
 

Vapour

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barefootgal9 said:
Vapour

May I suggest something to do with the idea of a Divine Covenant -- all three faiths share this concept, but I have never seen an in depth, interfaith discussion of the concept. I think it could be a fascinating exploration -- which none of the three faiths could "own" more than any other - and would be an area in which I think the participants and audience would discrover a surprising unity, and fruitful insights exploring where/if the faiths diverge.

Perhaps: "The Ancient Covenant: past, present and future"

Wish I could be there. good look and God's blessings on your endeavor.

(gee, don't you have a Baha'i group on your campus?!?)

Hmmm. Yes, the relationship/covenant of God to man is an interesting one. I also can see that it is a prefered topic for Baha'i. :)

I'm in u.k. and there aren't big Baha'i presence. We don't have Baha'i society in our uni. I hear that Baha'i is quite big in u.s.

I can also see that our muslim (salafi) speaker would probably play down the importance of the prophet mohammed in this topic and annoy some muslim audience.. Then the protestant speaker would probably put less emphasis on the role of church.

I guess you can't win all. :p
 

Vapour

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9Harmony said:
Hi Vapour,

How about asking them to focus on points of agreement. Things they all have in common. Similarities between all religions.

Interfaith forums should be for the purpose of building bridges and what better way than to focus on where they agree.

My 2 cents. :D

Loving Greetings, Harmony

Yep, that is the whole reason I'm doing this. Now I want a topic which can foster the debate/discussion into such direction. :p
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste all,


vapour, you could consider asking the participants to give an explanation of a teaching from one of the other traditions.

there was a Buddhist/Christian dialog that was set up along these lines. a Christian group had asked HH the Dalai Lama to explain what he understood of the Sermon on the Mount, which he did. the entire thing is recorded as the text "The Good Heart".

in any event... you could select a central teaching from each tradition and ask your speakers to express said teaching in their own idiom which should allow for a great deal of compassionate discourse to ensure.
 

Vapour

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Vajradhara said:
Namaste all,


vapour, you could consider asking the participants to give an explanation of a teaching from one of the other traditions.

there was a Buddhist/Christian dialog that was set up along these lines. a Christian group had asked HH the Dalai Lama to explain what he understood of the Sermon on the Mount, which he did. the entire thing is recorded as the text "The Good Heart".

in any event... you could select a central teaching from each tradition and ask your speakers to express said teaching in their own idiom which should allow for a great deal of compassionate discourse to ensure.

Ah, unfortunately, there is a considerable hostility between Jewish Society and Islamic society in our university. I'm seting up the forum in hope that they find something common in theology if not in politics.

I'm going to ask each speaker specifically not to interpret other faith. Saying what you are is o.k. Saying what you think other faith is, that is something I want to avoid. :(
 

9Harmony

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Vapour said:
Yep, that is the whole reason I'm doing this. Now I want a topic which can foster the debate/discussion into such direction. :p
Hi Vapour,

I'm sorry, I guess I was a little vague huh?

How about, The Golden Rule.

Or they could each talk about the culture and state of society in which their prophet appeared. How they came to a decaying society to lift them up out of the immorality they had fallen into. Have them speak in order of appearance. It may shed some light on the fact that they each came to similar circumstances to accomplish the same goal and advance humanity a little further down the path.

It would be nice if you could find a Baha'i to join the panel as well. What part of the UK are you from? Maybe we can help we're all just one big happy family. :D

When are you doing this?

Keep us posted.

Loving Greetings, Harmony
 

Vapour

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The format of the forum is. Each speaker get 15 minutes each to express their religon's view on the topic. After that, it is the question time. First, the chair followed by audience get to ask question to three speakers and each speaker are give like 3 minutes to answer such question.
 

Vapour

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9Harmony said:
Hi Vapour,

I'm sorry, I guess I was a little vague huh?

How about, The Golden Rule.

Or they could each talk about the culture and state of society in which their prophet appeared. How they came to a decaying society to lift them up out of the immorality they had fallen into. Have them speak in order of appearance. It may shed some light on the fact that they each came to similar circumstances to accomplish the same goal and advance humanity a little further down the path.

It would be nice if you could find a Baha'i to join the panel as well. What part of the UK are you from? Maybe we can help we're all just one big happy family. :D

When are you doing this?

Keep us posted.

Loving Greetings, Harmony

Hehe. Yeah, that could be interesting. I know Baha'i centre near where I live. Unfortunately, I set this up as the student union society event. And Baha'i doesn't have a society in our university.

If my event is successful, I'm intending to port this format to other religious societies. There are buddist, hindu, shiks, jaine society in our university. I think your topic and bahai faith suits more with these group. In our university, Islamic Society, Jewish society and Christian society(evangelical) tend to take more legalistic view on scriptures and there are lot of politics which you don't want to get into. :D
 

bananabrain

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i didn't know you were talking about a UK university. that changes things. which one?

Ah, unfortunately, there is a considerable hostility between Jewish Society and Islamic society in our university. I'm seting up the forum in hope that they find something common in theology if not in politics.
in which case you need to guarantee that politics will not be discussed. unfortunately plenary/lecture type discussions are too easy to disrupt by radicals who stand up and ask the other side to condemn things. it's been tried many times before and, in the polarised, confrontational environment of student politics, anodyne or one-sided motions get passed which serve absolutely no purpose apart from self-congratulation and further divisiveness.

unfortunately in many british universities (manchester, my own alma mater is a particular example, as are UCL and the LSE) the islamic society commonly gets more or less taken over by the radicals. the jewish society is more interested in fighting off hostile anti-israel motions (which serve no purpose and effectively make jewish students the only people on campus who get banned from being political) so the whole issue of student union politics is a microcosm of daft and unrealistic grandstanding. this is made worse by an unholy alliance of islamic radicals and those loudmouthed, self-hating imbeciles that call themselves "socialist workers" - the only thing they really agree on is how bad everything to do with israel is.

if you want my honest opinion, based on a certain amount of experience in this environment the only way to really get something productive going is to DO IT QUIETLY! anything which looks like a platform will attract people who want to make statements. the essence of dialogue is PERSONAL CONTACT - get a *balanced* group in a room with NO SPECTATORS; 3 jews, 3 muslims and 3 christians to balance it and provide buffers if necessary. ideally there should be a *trained moderator* who knows how to run a discussion without letting loudmouths dominate it. you start with an *encounter group*, not a lecture and start to get people to actually know each other and encounter each other as *people*, not *as a jew/christian/muslim*. build knowledge and dispel ignorance and fear first, respect and friendship next and political/theological consensus LAST. honestly, this is the only way to do this sort of thing in such a hothouse. do you have contacts in all three societies? if you can, you should vet people, to ensure they have the right attitude. have strict rules and enforce them. an environment in which speaker after speaker stands up to harangue "the enemy" is worse than no discussion at all.

b'shalom

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Vapour

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Nah, we are trying to do this with as much publicity as possible. The posters and an article in the student newspaper.

That is why I want a good topic, interesting, theological and non political.

Any suggestion? :)
 

kkawohl

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Vapour said:
So can the people in this forum suggest something.
Hi Vapour, would the below scenario be a topic of interest?
The souls of a Rabbi, a Christian minister, and a Islamic cleric appeared at the gates of heaven at the same time and they eye each other suspiciously. St. Peter (the gatekeeper) asked if there is a problem.

The Rabbi tells St. Peter , "Ours is the true religion. We have the word of God that this is so and it is written in the Torah that God said that we are the chosen children of God, not the Christians or the Muslims."

The Christian minister says, "Jesus told us that he is the son of God and that the only way to God was by following his teachings and that unless one is born again, one would not get into heaven. What Jesus said is the word of God and it is written in the holy Bible".

The Muslim cleric says, "God has told Muhammad that he was the last true prophet and that everything that God told him was written in the Koran and that those who did not follow what was written there, would not get into heaven".

Other souls appeared and some sided with and gathered around each of their leaders, while some other souls who sided with no one entered directly through the gates of heaven.

St. Peter told the souls who had gathered around the souls of their clerics, "In heaven there can be no disagreement and until you all are in agreement, you have to move to the Purgatory area".

No agreement was reached and eventually the souls died (Hell) because souls who were not with God could not exist.

The lesson is: Having tunnel-vision or being closed-minded, without compassion for the belief of others around you can be bad for the body and suicide to the soul.



OR----What Will The Spirit/Soul Do In/For Eternity?

IMHO, Our life on earth is to prepare us and to give us examples of the hereafter. Everything is progressive and accumulative. We are here to accumulate experiences of feelings, the beauty of every organism that surrounds us, the landscape that adds to our perception; then we can begin our next journey. We should live our life to its fullest. One hundred years from now, almost every single person alive today will have died. Several billion people, wiped off the face of this earth. Our life is but a blip on the radar screen of time. We are the most important person responsible for whether our soul will live or die. Here we have to learn how to intertwine with a community; there we can experience anything that the imagination can perceive.

Envision yourself as a spirit that is uninhibited by any resistance or external influences; you can travel to any star or planet instantly, explore the beauty of the universe, and still be in sync with God. As an example: Imagine the most advanced form of Virtual Reality that can access a super-computer and place you in whichever setting you desire; you can play with the animals, be with your loved ones, listen to the greatest opera, stage or musical performances, or simply relax next to a bubbling brook and enjoy the scenery. You feel no pain, despair, heartache, or negative emotions.

God is like a Master Planner who/that guides the universe rather than one who controls it. God is not this mighty ruler who wishes to enslave mankind, but a peaceful coexistence of the spirits or souls of many of our forefathers, past prophets, and all who lived righteously. Cultures change with time. God has always been the same, but our perception of God will vary with time.
 
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