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04/09/2013

A spiritual comment and prayer to begin the day with Ed Kessler, Director of the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths, Cambridge.

Release date:

2 minutes

Last on

Wed 4 Sep 2013 05:43

Ed Kessler

Good morning!

Imagine a critic, or even a child, asking: "How do you solve the problem that has led people to kill one another in the name of God since the birth of human civilization? At the end of the day, religions all claim to be true. They conflict. Therefore they cannot all be true. At most, one is. If Christianity is true, Judaism is false. If Islam is true, both Christianity and Judaism are false. It follows that these religions are bound to conflict whenever their devotees take their truth claims seriously."

"I, for my part," my critic continues, "take this as sufficient evidence that all are false. For how could the God of all humanity command his followers to deny the full and equal humanity of those who conceive Him differently? I would rather live with the uncertainty of doubt than the certainty of faith, for it is that very certainty that leads people, convinced of their righteousness, to commit unspeakable crimes."

Whilst I may be convinced of the truth of my faith, others believe with equal fervour that their faith, not mine, is true. How can we live peaceably together while at the same time honouring the commitments of our respective faiths?

But, I would suggest, there is a profound difference between thinking if my faith is true and conflicts with yours, then yours is false. Surely, if I and my fellow believers have a relationship with God, that does not entail that you do not? I have my stories, rituals, memories, prayers, celebrations, laws and customs; you have yours. That is what makes me, me and you, you. It is what differentiates cultures, heritages, civilizations and religions.

Lord, May we learn that the truth of one faith does not entail the falsity of the other.

Amen