Some call the Lord ‘ Ram, Ram’, and some ‘ Khuda’

19 11 2009

Some call the Lord ‘Ram, Ram’, and some ‘Khuda’.
Some serve Him as ‘Gusain’, others as ‘Allah’.

In any case, He is the Cause of causes, and Generous.
He showers His Grace and Mercy upon us.

Some pilgrims bathe at sacred shrines, others go on Hajj to Mecca.
Some do devotional worship, whilst others bow their heads in prayer.

Some read the Vedas, and some the Koran.
Some wear blue robes, and some wear white.

Some call themselves Turk, and some call themselves Indian.
Some yearn for paradise, and others long for heaven.

Says Nanak, one who realizes the true command of God’s Will,
knows the secrets of his Lord Master.

by Guru Nanak

via: Blessed Guru Nanak Jayanti …


Agree to Disagree – No Compulsion in Religion – by Baba Ali

19 11 2009



Via: Faith of Life Network

Houston Area – Women’s Spiritual Gathering

21 04 2009


Next Women’s Spiritual gathering is on

May 7, 2009

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

1301 Bering Drive, Houston, Texas 77057

  The evening will include a vegetarian dinner,
music and an educational program hosted by the Relief Society,
which is the largest women’s organization in the world.

Interactive exhibits will include quilting, emergency preparedness,
and touring a Family History Center to learn more about genealogy research.

We will also celebrate mothers and daughters in recognition of Mother’s Day.

More information and registration: The Amazing Faith Project

From Diversity to Pluralism

26 03 2009

All of America’s diversity, old and new, does not add up to pluralism. “Pluralism” and “diversity” are sometimes used as if they were synonyms, but diversity is just plurality, plain and simple — splendid, colorful, perhaps threatening. Pluralism is the engagement that creates a common society from all that plurality. On the same street in Silver Spring, Maryland the Vietnamese Catholic church, the Cambodian Buddhist temple, the Ukranian Orthodox church, the Muslim Community Center, the Disciples of Christ church and the Mangal Mandir Hindu temple are all located in the same neighborhood. This is certainly diversity, but without any engagement or relationship with one another it may not be an instance of pluralism.

Pluralism is only one of the possible responses to this diversity. Some people may feel threatened by diversity, or even hostile to it. Throughout American history there have been groups that have expressed prejudice and intolerance toward newcomers of other religions and cultures. Other people may look forward to the day when all these differences fade into the landscape of a predominantly Christian culture. Clearly the pluralism that would engage people of different faiths and cultures in the creation of a common society is not a “given,” but an achievement.

From the historical perspective, the terms “exclusion,” “assimilation,” and “pluralism” suggest three different ways in which Americans have approached this widening cultural and religious diversity. For exclusionists, the answer to the tumultuous influx of cultural and religious diversity that seemed to threaten the very core civilization of America was to close the door, especially against the entry of the “alien,” whether Asians, Catholics, or Jews. For assimilationists, like those who envisioned America as a “melting pot,” the invitation to new immigrants was to come, but leave your differences and angularities behind as quickly as possible. Come and be like us, come and conform to a predominantly Anglo-Protestant culture. For the pluralists, like Horace Kallen in the early twentieth century, the American promise was to come as you are, with all your differences and angularities, pledged only to the common civic demands of American citizenship. Come and be yourself, contributing in your distinctive way to the “orchestra” of American civilization.

In today’s discussion of America’s religious and cultural diversity, there are echoes of these voices of the past. America’s new religious diversity has produced faultlines, those cracks that indicate deep fractures and divisions. Stereotypes and prejudice have old and new forms as they are experienced by immigrant Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim communities. There are encounters, sometimes hostile encounters, over “zoning” and “traffic” as new religious communities move into the neighborhood. They are often legitimate concerns, but they are also ways of expressing fear and uncertainty about newcomers in the community. Unfortunately, there have also been incidents of vandalism and arson directed against the religious centers of newcomers.

But America’s religious diversity has also produced a new period of bridge-building, as diverse religious communities build unprecedented relationships with one another. A church and a mosque buy property together and build side by side in the San Francisco area. Councils of churches and synagogues gradually include mosques and temples, becoming interfaith councils. Today, they are beginning to constitute a new interreligious infrastructure in America’s cities and towns. There are interfaith dialogues, interfaith coalitions to fight hunger and homelessness, and interfaith Thanksgiving services. In school boards, there are real encounters, often heated, over issues of the proper role of religion in the public schools.

Today, as in every era, Americans are appropriating anew the meaning of “We, the people of the United States of America. . . .” What does it mean to say “we” in a multireligious America? How do “we” relate to one another, when that “we” includes Buddhist Americans, like the Hawaiian born Buddhist astronaut who died on the Challenger, Muslim Americans, like the mayor of a small town in Texas, and Sikh Americans, like the research scientist in Fairfax, Virginia. What, then, is pluralism?

First, pluralism is not the sheer fact of plurality or diversity alone, but is active engagement with that diversity. One can be an observer of diversity. One can “celebrate diversity,” as the cliche goes. Or one can be critical of it or threatened by it. But real pluralism requires participation, engagement. Diversity can and often has meant isolation and the creation of virtual ghettoes of religion and sub-culture with little traffic between them. The dynamic of pluralism, however, is one of meeting, exchange, and two-way traffic. Kallen’s analogy of the orchestra, sounding together, may be a good one. But as Kallen was well aware, it is always an unfinished symphony. The music, perhaps more like jazz, depends upon having an ear always attuned to the genius of the other players.

Second, pluralism is more than the mere tolerance of differences; it requires some knowledge of our differences. There is no question that tolerance is important, but tolerance by itself may be a deceptive virtue. Sometimes an attitude of tolerance may stand in the way of engagement. Tolerance does not require people to know anything at all about one another. As a result, tolerance can let us harbor all the stereotypes and half-truths that we want to believe about our neighbors. Tolerance does little to remove our ignorance of one another. Tolerance is definitely important, but it is probably too thin a foundation for a society as religiously diverse and complex as that of America.

Third, pluralism is not simply relativism, but makes room for real and different religious commitments. Some people are wary of the language of pluralism, insisting that it effectively waters down one’s own religious beliefs by acknowledging that others believe differently. Some mistakenly think that a pluralist perspective assumes that there is no real difference among various religious traditions and their values. On the contrary, the encounter of a pluralist society is the encounter of real commitments and real differences. Pluralism does not require relinquishing the distinctiveness of one’s own tradition of faith to reach the “lowest common denominator.” In the public square of a pluralist society, commitments are not left at the door. Rather, pluralism invites people of every faith or of none to be themselves, with all their particularities, and yet to be engaged in creating a civil society, through the critical and self-critical encounter with one another. Pluralism is a process of creating a society by acknowledging, rather than hiding, our deepest differences.

Fourth, pluralism in America is clearly based on the common ground rules of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “no establishment” of religion and the “free exercise” of religion. The vigorous encounter of a pluralistic society is not premised on achieving agreement on matters of conscience and faith, but achieving a vigorous context of discussion and relationship. E Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one,” envisions one people, a common sense of a civic “we,” but not one religion, one faith, one conscience. Unum does not mean uniformity. Perhaps the most valuable thing people of many faiths have in common is their commitment to a society based on the give and take of the civil dialogue at a common table.

Fifth, pluralism requires the nurturing of constructive dialogue, revealing both common understandings and real differences. Dialogue does not mean everyone at the “table” will agree with one another. The process of public discussion will inevitably reveal both areas of agreement and of disagreement. Pluralism involves the commitment to being at the table — with one’s commitments. Discovering where the metaphorical “tables” are in American society and encouraging a climate of dialogue is foundational for pluralism.

Where are those public spaces, those “tables” where people of various religious traditions and none meet in American society? They are certainly in neighborhoods and community organizations, schools and colleges, legislatures and courts, zoning boards and planning commissions, interfaith councils and interfaith coalitions, chaplaincies and hospitals. In every one of these areas of public life, Americans are now facing new questions, new challenges, and new tensions in appropriating a more complex sense of who “we” now are.

—Diana L. Eck

Reprinted by permission from On Common Ground: World Religions in America, published by Columbia University Press (1-800-944-8648). Revised 2006.

Source: The Pluralism Project at Harvard University

What is Pluralism?

23 03 2009

The plurality of religious traditions and cultures has come to characterize every part of the world today. But what is pluralism? Here are four points to begin our thinking:

  • First, pluralism is not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity. Diversity can and has meant the creation of religious ghettoes with little traffic between or among them. Today, religious diversity is a given, but pluralism is not a given; it is an achievement. Mere diversity without real encounter and relationship will yield increasing tensions in our societies.
  • Second, pluralism is not just tolerance, but the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference. Tolerance is a necessary public virtue, but it does not require Christians and Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and ardent secularists to know anything about one another. Tolerance is too thin a foundation for a world of religious difference and proximity. It does nothing to remove our ignorance of one another, and leaves in place the stereotype, the half-truth, the fears that underlie old patterns of division and violence. In the world in which we live today, our ignorance of one another will be increasingly costly.
  • Third, pluralism is not relativism, but the encounter of commitments. The new paradigm of pluralism does not require us to leave our identities and our commitments behind, for pluralism is the encounter of commitments. It means holding our deepest differences, even our religious differences, not in isolation, but in relationship to one another.
  • Fourth, pluralism is based on dialogue. The language of pluralism is that of dialogue and encounter, give and take, criticism and self-criticism. Dialogue means both speaking and listening, and that process reveals both common understandings and real differences. Dialogue does not mean everyone at the “table” will agree with one another. Pluralism involves the commitment to being at the table — with one’s commitments.

Diana L. Eck

Source: The Pluralism Project at Harvard University

Lectures on Hinduism and Jainism at MFAH

6 03 2009



More information:

Acts of Faith: Interfaith Leadership in a Time of Religious Crisis

26 02 2009

Religious pluralism goes beyond mere tolerance for diversity and requires that we build positive relationships and work with one another. It is a state in which respect one another’s religious identity, develop mutually enriching relationships with each other and work together to make this world a better place.
Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) builds mutual respect and pluralism among young people from different religious traditions by empowering, inspiring, networking, and resourcing young people, who are the leaders of this movement. IFYC provide young people and the institutions that support them with leadership training, project resources and a connection to a broader movement.

“Acts of Faith: Interfaith Leadership in a Time of Religious Crisis”  is the topic of webiner conducted by Dr. Eboo Patel in which he uses a case study to share the  leadership model and theory of IFYC. The presentation builds on ideas and gives practical suggestions for those interested in getting involved in interfaith work.

Use this  link or the image below to download the webinar (Right-click, select “Save Target As” option)


Thanks Dr. Eboo Patel for letting us post this.