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Interfaith Interface

  • 2020-03-15 8:25 PM | Cristina (Administrator)

    Interfaith Committee’s 

    “Commonality Among Faiths” Project

    by Stevie Shaefer

    “Someday religionists will get together and actually affect cooperation on the basis of ideals and purposes rather than attempting to do so on the basis of psychological opinions and theological beliefs.” (The Urantia Book, Paper 99.5.7) 

    The Urantia Book Fellowship Interfaith Committee is participating in an ongoing project entitled “Commonality Among Faiths.” In order to encourage interfaith empathy, understanding and dialogue, we plan to share one to two major faith groups each month, focusing on ideals and purposes as much as possible, while correlating quotes from The Urantia Book for each faith group. We will start with faith groups that harmonize religions in this issue, The Bahai Faith (Progressive Revelation and the Oneness of Religion), and Sufism (A Bridge Between Religions – A Mystical Path Branching from Islam).

    Notebook of Major Tenets of Some World Religions

    With Comparative Passages from The Urantia Book

    BAHA’I – Progressive Revelation and the Oneness of Religion

    MAJOR TENETS OF BAHA’I

    COMPARATIVE PASSAGES FROM

    THE URANTIA BOOK

    The Oneness of God/Progressive Revelation:

    “The spiritual part [of religion] never changes. All the Manifestations of God and His Prophets have taught the same truths…They all teach the one code of morality. There is no division in truth.”

    “…. Revelation …affirms that this First Cause of science and religion’s God of salvation are one and the same Deity.”

    (Paper 101.2.5 - The Real Nature of Religion).

     

    The Essential Unity of Religion:

    “All religions teach that we must do good, that we must be generous, sincere, truthful, law-abiding, and faithful; all this is reasonable and logically the only way in which humanity will progress.” 

    “The many religions of Urantia are all good to the extent that they bring man to God and the realization of the Father to man.”

    (Paper 92.7.3 – The Later Evolution of Religion).

     

     

    The Unity of Mankind

     

    “All these religions …can never hope to attain a uniformity of creeds, dogmas, and rituals – these are intellectual; but they can, and someday will, realize a unity in true worship of the Father of all, for this is spiritual, and it is forever true, in spirit all men are equal” (Paper 92.7.4 – The Later Evolution of Religion).

    Elimination of all Forms of Prejudice

    “There is not a Urantia religion that could not profitably study and assimilate the best of truths contained in every other faith, for all contain truth. Religions would do better to borrow the best of the truths contained in their neighbors’ living spiritual faith rather than to denounce the worst in their lingering superstitions and outworn Rituals” (Paper 92.7.3- The Further Evolution of Religion).

    The Light of God – 

    “The Sun has sent forth many rays to illumine human intelligence, the light is always the same.” 

    “There really is a true and genuine inner voice, that “true light which lights every man who comes into the world” (Paper 101:0.3 -The Real Nature of Religion).

    Harmony of Religion and Science – “If religion were in harmony with science and they walked together, much of the hatred and bitterness now bringing misery to the human race would be at an end….Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone!”

    “True science can have no lasting quarrel with true religion”

    (Paper 195.7.2).

    “The highest attainable philosophy of mortal man must be logically based on the reason of science, the faith of religion, and the truth insight afforded by revelation” (Paper 103.6.15 – The Reality of Religious Experience).

     

       

         The three central figures of the Baha’i religion:

    1. The Bab (the “gate” or equivalent to John the Baptist).

    2. The Founder of the Baha’i Faith Baha’u’llah,  a “manifestation of God” (considered to be equivalent to Jesus and other prophets, and

    3.Abdu’l-Baha (1844-1921, the eldest son of Baha’u’llah, thought to be the embodiment of “living the teachings”(his writings and talks are regarded as a source of Baha’i sacred literature).

    His Paris talks are considered amongst his best lectures and quotes from that are compared to quotes from The Urantia Book above.

          Other important Baha'i concepts include:

    World peace

    Equality of men and women

    Independent investigation of truth

    The need for universal compulsory education

    The need for a universal auxiliary language

    Obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics

    Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty


     



  • 2020-02-19 4:15 PM | Cristina (Administrator)

    Experiencing Interfaith Dialogue and Building Empathy Among Religionists: What Works?

    By Stephanie (Stevie) Shaefer

    Interfaith Empathy and Communication - What is Interfaith?

          Jesus in the Urantia Book models personal religion – personal relationship with our “Heavenly Father Within” which is unique for each person. Thus, in this series interfaith is defined as each person with a personal relationship with God, regardless of their religion, in communication with all others. Building interfaith empathy is focusing on commonalities, rather than differences, talking less and listening more, and demonstrating sincere understanding. The “Tao of Communication” is caring more about the what the other person has to say, than what you have to say. Active Listening, summarizing both verbally and non-verbally what the other person is saying and what they think about what they are saying (not what you think they are saying), lets the other know you are truly listening, and can clarify and create more understanding, and  encourages more communication.

    •  

    What works?

         Sharing your intention in a prayer, self-disclosure, focusing on commonalities,

    using concepts and quotes from the teachings of The Urantia Book as examples, developing empathy by actively listening to others and ourselves both verbally and nonverbally, using effective communication skills such as   I-messages, rather than You-messages, avoiding roadblocks to effective communication, and practicing rules of dialogue developed by consensus.

    •  

    Interfaith Committee’s  “Commonality Among Faiths” Project

         The Urantia Book Fellowship Interfaith Committee is participating in an ongoing project entitled “Commonality Among Faiths” which began in preparation for the World Parliament of Religions, and culminated in a book that we plan to publish as an e-book that that we can add to and edit. Each page is dedicated to a faith group, and includes major concepts of that faith group and correlates each concept to quotes from The Urantia Book. In sharing the book with other religionists at the World Parliament of Religions, etc. we received positive feedback and it encouraged interfaith dialogue.

         In order to encourage interfaith empathy, understanding and dialogue, we plan to share one to two major faith groups each month, focusing on ideals and purposes as much as possible, while correlating quotes from The Urantia Book for each faith group. We will start with faith groups that harmonize religions such as Bahai and Sufism, followed by the fastest growing religion in the world, accordimg to PEW research, Islam. We then plan to include Buddhism, Hinduism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and many others.

    “Someday religionists will get together and actually affect cooperation on the basis of ideals and purposes rather than attempting to do so on the basis of psychological opinions and theological beliefs.” (The Urantia Book, Paper 99.5.7)

  • 2019-12-30 12:55 PM | Cristina (Administrator)

    The term "ecumenism" refers to efforts by Christians of different Church traditions to develop closer relationships and better understandings. The term is also often used to refer to efforts towards the visible and organic unity of different Christian denominations in some form.

    The adjective ecumenical can also be applied to any interdenominational initiative that encourages greater cooperation among Christians and their churches, whether or not the specific aim of that effort is full, visible unity. It can also be applied in the same way to other religions or to refer to unity between religions or between people in general - in this sense it means non-sectarian, non-denominational.

    The terms ecumenism and ecumenical come from the Greek οἰκουμένη (oikoumene), which means "the whole inhabited world," and was historically used with specific reference to the Roman Empire.[2] The ecumenical vision comprises both the search for the visible unity of the Church (Ephesians 4:3) and the "whole inhabited earth" (Matthew 24:14) as the concern of all Christians.

    In Christianity, even though there is an ecumenical church, the qualification ecumenical originally strove for cooperation between all churches and dioceses. Used in this sense, the term carries no connotation of re-uniting the historically separated Christian denominations but presumes a unity of local congregations in a worldwide communion.

    In the context of the Fellowship’s Interfaith Committee, I like this term. I feel it applies to not only the independent churches but also to all the Urantia Book readers support organizations.

    The third Sunday in Jan was established in 1950 by the Baha’i’s of Chicago as a day to focus on the “unity of religion.” Unity of religion is a core teaching of the Baháʼí Faith, which states that there is a fundamental unity in most of the world's religions. The principle states that the teachings of the major religions are part of a single plan directed from the same God. It is one of the core teachings of the Baháʼí Faith, alongside the unity of God, and the unity of humanity. Sounds like the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of mankind to me.

    What does it take to be an ecumenist? Understand the common Christ centric goals and work to support those goals in all organizations.



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