Reason 4: We can no longer ignore “the other” in our pluralist world.diversityinclusion

We are more in contact with a wider range of people than ever before. If we deny this reality our religions will wither and die. And more than that, like Bede Griffiths, we begin to sense the call of the “other half of our souls” which often lies beyond our tradition.

One of the major themes of the consciousness emerging at this time is that we come to terms with our “shadow” selves. We can no longer hide from Life by projecting onto and then rejecting the “Other”, that which we do not accept about ourselves. We can no longer justify this lack of responsibility, this willing ignorance,  via our traditional moralities which create and maintain an evil or enemy “out there”.

We need to decommission words like “heathen”, “heretic”, “kafir”, “infidel” and “unbeliever”, words which institutionalize our denial. As Koos Kombuis, Afrikaner bard sings,

“Ons is almal kaffirs (We are all infidels)”.

If we don’t whole heatedly engage this “heart” work, this painful humbling, this acknowledgement of our addiction, denial and darkness, mutual destruction is guaranteed.

There is no choice in a pluralist world to but to face ourselves and our others with a new story. And I believe that our religious traditions can give us this story, if we read them intelligently, humbly and with fresh eyes, especially those of another.

The Open Mosque Inaugural Interfaith Retreat will take place between the 16th and 18th September 2016, in Greyton, Western Cape. To take part, see the website of The Open Mosque.

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