Better Understanding Needed Among Religions

We certainly need more understanding and dialogue between Muslim, Christian, Jewish and other faiths.

When someone launches an attack against another religion, often against Muslims, I cringe at the oversimplified and stereotyped presentations. Such simplistic and unfair assumptions are made by all sides in trying to get an easy handle on those we do not fully understand.

Recently, 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals wrote an open letter, “A Common Word between Us and You,” that can help.

Scholars at Yale Divinity School have responded with “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word between Us and You.” Adding their names to the statement, among others, were the president of Princeton Theological Seminary and the dean of Harvard Divinity School.

“We are persuaded that our next step should be for our leaders at every level to meet together and begin the earnest work of determining how God would have us fulfill the requirement that we love God and one another,” they said. “It is with humility and hope that we receive your generous letter, and we commit ourselves to labor together in heart, soul, mind and strength for the objectives you so appropriately propose.”

To see these letters:

I hope that many of us will take part in this prayerful and thoughtful dialogue to increase understanding and promote peace between our faiths.

Joseph A. Culpepper


The writer is pastor, Centennial Christian Church, Bloomington.