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InterFaith

From Academic Kids

Interfaith is to cooperate with people of other faiths. The interfaith movement has gathered much interest after the 1960s. In 1962 the Roman Catholic Church under Pope John XXIII made major policy changes in what came to be called Vatican II. Vatican II was helpful in improving the Catholic church's relationships other religions (and other Christian denominations), but disappointed many traditionalists in the Roman Catholic Church (this includes the family of actor Mel Gibson). In the late 1960's interfaith groups joined around Civil Rights issues for African-Americans and later were often vocal in their opposition to the Viet Nam War.

Today, interfaith is more common than ever (and we expect this trend to continue). Interfaith projects are championed by many International organizations - See List below.

Contents

The InterFaith movement in different religions

Sikhism: Interfaith Religion

One religion, which was founded on principles of interfaith, is Sikhism, whose founders have since 1469 defined and preached the rule of interfaith dialogue and interfaith respect. A Sikh by definition must respect and accept all other world religions.

The SGGS says on page 142: “Without the Lord’s Name, life is worthless. Through doubt, the people are being destroyed. One who recognizes that all spiritual paths lead to the One shall be emancipated. One who speaks lies shall fall into hell and burn. In the entire world, the most blessed and sanctified are those who remain absorbed in Truth. One who eliminates selfishness and conceit is redeemed in the Court of the Lord. ||9||”

Sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur

The ninth Guru or Prophet of the Sikhs, Guru Teg Bahadur sacrificed his own life to protect the well-being of the Kashmiri Pundits or Hindus. In 1675, the Sikh’s beloved Guru was publicly beheaded in Delhi by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb for not changing his faith. Before Guru Ji’s demise, Guru Ji said “Hinduism may not be my faith, and I may not believe in various Hindu traditions like idol worship, caste system, pilgrimages and other rituals, but I will fight for the right of all Hindus and all other peoples of the world to live with honour and to practice their faith according to their own beliefs.”

This has set a precedent and Sikhs are bound by the Guru’s teaching to respect and protect the rights of all other faiths – The principle of Interfaith dialogue was thus established by the Ten Gurus of Sikhism. It is also important to note that the Sikh Gurus were helped and assisted throughout history by people of other faiths. These associates on the whole have kept their original religions and in some cases, the Gurus have carried out the last rites according to the original faiths of these associates. Obviously, many of these associates have frequently made the decision to choose Sikhism as their new faith.

Companions of Guru Nanak Dev

As an example, Bhai Mardana (Muslim) and Bhai Bala (Hindu), were two associates of Guru Nanak. Both of them observed their own faiths and continued to practise their respective religions while accompanying Guruji on his travels spanning several decades. In case of Baba Mardana, on his death, Gurus performed the last rites as per the Muslim custom.

Golden Temple

The foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid by Hazrat Mian Mir Ji, a Muslim and an associate of Guru Arjan Dev. The pool adjoining the Golden Temple complex is named after a Muslim devotee called Mata Kaulan, who had given assistance to the Sikh Gurus.

Bhai Kanhaiya

Further, Bhai Kanhaiya ji was a Sikh of Guru Tegh Bahadur who established the institute of ‘Sevapanthi’ (later called ‘Addanshahi’) sect of the Sikhs. He was born in Sodhara near Wazirabad in Sialkot District (now in Pakistan) of a wealthy family and left home when still young and travelled with yogis and other religious groups. When he met Guru Ji, he became a Sikh and settled down. Bhai Kanhaiya set up a religious centre at Kavha village, Attock District (now in Pakistan) from where he spread the Guru’s message and preached Sikhism to the local people. His special mission was the performance of selfless service (Sewa) to humanity with no distinction of nationality, caste or creed. In 1705 CE when on a visit to Anandpur he found the area entrenched in battle with a combination of hill troops of Hindu Rajas and the Mughal imperial army soldiers ‘littering’ the countryside with wounded and dying people. After the frequent skirmishes, Bhai Kanhaiya used to roam around serving water to the wounded and the dying without distinction of friend and foe.

This upset some Sikhs who complained to Guru Gobind Singh that Bhai Kanhaiya had been resuscitating the fallen enemy soldiers. Guru Gobind Singh summoned Bhai Kanhaiya and explained that he had received a complaint about his actions on the battlefield. Guruji said, “These brave Sikhs are saying that you go and feed water to the enemy and they recover to fight them again – Is this true?” Bhai Kanhaiya Ji replied "Yes, my Guru, what they said is true. But Maharaj, I saw no Mughal or Sikh in the battlefield. I only saw human beings and they all have the same God’s Spirit – Guruji have you not taught us to treat all Gods people as the same?" The Guru was very pleased with the reply. He blessed him and told the Sikhs that Bhai Kanhaiya had understood his teachings correctly. Guru also gave him medical Balm and said “From, now also put this on the wounds of all who need it”

Sadly, Bhai Kanhaiya died in 1718 CE after retiring to Sodhara. His example, as a forerunner of the present day Red Cross, is a tribute to the universal message of compassion and kindness to all.

Tribute by Miss Pearl S Buck

Pearl S. Buck, a Nobel laureate, gives the following comment on receiving the First English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib (The Sikh Holy Book):

.... I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes. They are compact in spite of their length, and are a revelation of the vast reach of the human heart, varying from the most noble concept of God, to the recognition and indeed the insistence upon the practical needs of the human body. There is something strangely modern about these scriptures and this puzzles me until I learned that they are in fact comparatively modern, compiled as late as the 16th century, when explorers were beginning to discover the globe, upon which we all live is a single entity divided only by arbitrary lives of our own making. Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes. They speak to a person of any religion or of none*. They speak for the human heart and the searching mind. ...

(From the foreword to the English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib by Gopal Singh M.A. Ph.D. 1960) (* Bold by editor)

External Links

Audio Links:

Sukhmani Sahib Mp3,Real Audio, Real Audio download (http://keertan.waheguroo.com/index.wn?viewCat=391)

Christianity

Up until the reformation, and certainly in many denominations for a long time afterwards (and up to the present), there has been strong teaching against other religous groups. Whilst in recent times, many churches have taught religous tolerance (e.g.Vatican II), recognition of the complete divine truth of other faiths is unlikely to every occur, since it would contracdict several key teachings of the New Testament. The furthest the Vatican has gone is to state that faiths around the world all hold certain truths in keeping with those of the Catholic Church, but the complete truth is only to be found in Jesus Christ.

Co-operation between different denominations is a much stronger movement within Christianity. Perhaps since it is strongly founded in doctrine:

John 17:20-21. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

However, since different Christian denominations remain within the same religion, many working in the ecumenical movement do not accept the term InterFaith, but rather InterChurch. There in an important distinction between those of the same faith, but different traditions working together, and those of different faiths working together.

For InterChurch, see also:

Christian ecumenism

World Council Of Churches (http://www.wcc-coe.org/)

Churches Together In England (http://www.churches-together.org.uk/)

Islam

Hinduism

Buddhism

Judaism


Network of International Interfaith Organisations

The following modern organisation are playing an important part in uniting the thought-processes in the Interfaith movement so that the ideals of this movement can be advanced.

Council for a Parliament of World Religions (CPWR) 70 East Lake, #205, Chicago 60601, USA. Tel: 001 312 6292 990. Fax: + 991. E-mail: info@cpwr.org Web: http://www.cpwr.org Are holding a very important Forum 2004 in Barcelona, Spain during the period 7 July to 13 July 2004 to debate various issues relevant to Interfaith dialogue.


World Congress of Faiths,London Inter Faith Centre, 125 Salusbury Rd, London, NW6 6RG, UK. Telephone +44 (0) 20 895 93129 +44 (0) 1403 257 801 Fax +44 (0) 208 959 3129 E mail: General Enquiries: WorldconFaiths@aol.com Membership Enquires: membership@worldfaiths.org Interreligious Insight Editor: alan.race@ntlworld.com WCF Chair: chair@worldfaiths.org Web: http://www.worldfaiths.org

International Interfaith Centre 2 Market Street, Oxford, OX1 3EF, UK Tel: +44(0)1865 202745; Fax: +44(0)1865 202746 http://www.interfaith-center.org E-mail: iic@interfaith-center.org

The Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom 8A Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EN Phone: 020 7931 7766 Fax:: 020 7931 7722 Email address: ifnet@interfaith.org.uk Web address: http://www.interfaith.org.uk

International Association for Religious Freedom 2 Market Street, Oxford OX1 3EF UK. Tel: 0044 1865 202744 Fax: + 46 E-mail: hq@iarf.net Web: http://www.iarf.net

World Conference Of Religions For Peace 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA. Tel: 001 212 687-2163 Fax: + 983-0566. E-mail: info@wcrp.org Web: http://www.religionsforpeace.org

World Faiths Development Dialogue Elmfield House, University of Birmingham, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6LQ UK. Tel. +44 121 415 8357; Fax + 8358. E-mail: wfdd@btinternet.com Web: http://www.wfdd.org.uk

Interfaith Youth Core 1111 N Wells, Suite 501, Chicago, IL 60610, USA. Tel 001 312-573-8825 E-mail: info@ifyc.org Web: http://www.ifyc.org

Millennium World Peace Summit 301 East 57th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10022, USA. Tel: 001 212-593-6438. Fax: + 6345 Email: info@millenniumpeacesummit.org Web: http://www.millenniumpeacesummit.org

Minorities of Europe 40 Stoke Row, Coventry CV2 4JP, UK.. Tel/fax: 0044 24 7644 3475. E-mail: deepak@gnaik.freeserve.co.uk Web: http://www.moe-online.com

United Religions Initiative P.O. Box 29242, San Francisco, California 94129, USA. Tel: 1-415-561-2300 Fax: + 2313 E-mail: office@uri.org Web: http://www.uri.org

World Fellowship of Inter-Religious Councils Fr. Albert Nambiaparambil, Upasana, Thodupuzla, Kerala 685584, India. Tel: 0091 4862 223286 Fax: + 225473 mobile 9847387073 E-mail: upasana_dr@satyam.net.in

Peace Council 2702 International Lane #108, Madison, 53704 WI, USA. Tel: 001 608 241 2200 Fax: + 2209 E-mail: icpc@peacecouncil.org Web: http://www.peacecouncil.org

Spiritual Forum for World Peace at the United Nation Dr Gerardo Gonzalez, Project Director, Via Verde 9440, (Lo Curro) Vitacura, Santiago, Chile. Tel/fax: 0056 2 2185578. E-mail: gerardo.gonzalez@mi.cl

Temple of Understanding 720 Fifth Avenue, 16th floor, New York 10019, USA Tel: 001 212 246 2746, fax 2340 E-mail: info@templeofunderstanding.org Web: http://www.templeofunderstanding.org

Global Peace Works the interfaith charitable service organization (http://www.globalpeaceworks.org)


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