Jewish/Christian/Muslim Dialogue - PRE-CONFERENCE in Allendale
Triennial Flyer, "Religious Identity: Dividing or Uniting?"
Date and TimeWednesday, November 14, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
- Kirkhof Center » RM 2250 - Grand River Room
Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core
Jennifer Howe Peace, Associate Professor, Andover Newton Theological School
Elliot Cosgrove, Senior Rabbi, Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks pointed out that the 21st century has led to a polarization driven by the politics of identity. This is in contrast, he argues, to the 20th century dominated by the politics of ideology, the battle between two universal ideologies, communism vs. capitalism.
Political and religious identities have led to division and a tribalism that has fractured our society, isolating us into separate echo chambers. Technology has allowed us to relate primarily with those with whom we identify, those who are like us and with whom we already agree. At the same time at the personal level our identities are becoming more hyphenated. We are not just American, but we struggle with what it means to be Muslim-American or Jewish-American. It is no longer be assumed that being American means being Christian.
Will religious communities contribute to this division, or do we have the resources in our traditions and texts that can bring us together to find a shared commitment to the common good? Can we be faithful to our religious identities and also be committed to an interfaith vision that builds bridges rather than barriers?
This is the challenge we face. Will we contribute to further division or to a unity that respects and learns from our religious differences and commitments?