What effect do you think religious pluralism and the interfaith movement will have on the future of organized religion?
For many organized religious groups, it's not about helping people gain personal spiritual empowerment but blind and swift indoctrination and total dependency on THEIR way, of…ten touted as "GOD'S WAY". If a religion's or philosophy's ultimate goal is that the whole world must accept it as absolute truth, no action is too inconsiderate, inhumane or desperate, from noise pollution on a Sunday morning to mass cover-ups of child molestation to suicide bombing a bustling sidewalk café in Tel Aviv. But nobody knows God's mind except God. All humans can do is have faith right? No Christian can empirically prove a virgin birth of a Man-God Savior Jesus really happened any more than a Hindu can prove Monkey Gods really flew. They can only point to their ancient and mystical texts and ask you to have faith that it's true and infallible. What convinces ONE person raises a million questions for someone else. It all depends on the individual. No one religion satisfies all people. No one religion answers all the questions. No one religion gives everyone a way to live that makes them happy and hopeful. That is why there are so many religions. That is why people change from Christian to Muslim or Hindu or pagan or perhaps join different sect within the same general religion and visi versa. Interfaith interaction helps to foster this kind of spiritual humility. It encourages critical thinking, helps find common ground and helps people separate their subjective beliefs from universal respect for human rights and freedoms, thus making it possible for them to live peaceably with all people. This is vital as the world becomes more integrated and universal human rights and religious tradition is being separated. Personally I look forward to a time when more people are humble and recognize that belief is an ongoing personal journey. They are not stagnant and immobile but able to handle increasingly complex issues. They don't panic when something does not fit into the black and white edicts of their religion, beliefs or traditions. They are empowered and intelligent enough to decipher shades of gray. If they had to choose between a religious rule even one from a holy book and love for humanity, love is always chosen! They do not justify unfair or inhumane treatment of others, be it jihad, discrimination or unequal gender rights with, "Well my holy book says so or my pope, pastor, pundit or imam or government says so". They humbly accept that no single religion or belief is perfect nor fulfills the needs of everyone, thus the billions outside their chosen faith are not seen as lost misled souls or evil infidels. They do not buy into a segregated "Us vs. The Evil World" mode. (MORE)