“One of the wonderful things about spending time with people completely unlike you is you discover how much you have in common. The same fears, the same hopes, the same concerns,” -Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
How many friends do you have from different religions?
A recent article in the Huffington Post, informed us that some of the world’s top religious leaders issued a rare joint appeal for everyone to make friends across religions. As we all know, the tension, misunderstandings, even hatred between people of different faiths is widespread and has led to unimaginable violence and war.
Rodney King asked, “Can’t we all just get along?” But isn’t that too much to expect if we don’t know or understand each other?
I’m fortunate to have a husband who is a minister, and he’s had professional and personal relationships with many people from different religions, some of whom I’ve gotten to know. What I’ve discovered is that the vast majority of people around the world, no matter their beliefs, are amazingly similar. We all struggle to raise our families, to find meaningful work, to be happy, and to fulfill our purpose in life.
Sadly each religion has its zealots, its terrorists, its hate mongers, too. To pretend otherwise is dangerous, because we may train ourselves not to look closely enough at our own cultures, believing we are somehow immune.
Happily I’ve also discovered that love is at the heart of all religions. With it comes a mission for all of us. If we can’t live out that love for everyone, no matter their personal faith, then we are falling short of that mission.
Thanks to the appeal of leaders I respect, I’m going to make more of an effort this summer to approach someone from another faith, and over coffee or lunch or the grocery counter, get to know them a little better. Want to join me? If we do this together, the chances are we will not only make new friends but we will have deepened our personal spirituality.
What have we got to lose?