Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.Since September 11, 2001, many conversations have taken place among Muslims, Jews and Christians. There are official interfaith conversations occurring all over the globe, where participants dig into each other's texts. And numerous personal dialogues have been established over the last decade. Many of us have learned more about the three Abrahamic faiths since September 11, 2001 than perhaps we knew before that day.
But here's this week's question, which is simple in its wording but not necessarily simple to answer:
Do followers of the three Abrahamic faiths really understand each other better since 9/11?
Please explain the reasons for your answer.
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas
Progressing in a clear direction by car not only requires a proper destination, but also knowledge of where one is coming from. I view this question in a similar way. If I am driving to Tulsa, I need not only the route but an understanding of where I am starting from.
By far, most religious philosophies do not deal with the subject of the self, the soul, in great detail. The difference between the body and our consciousness is not really discussed. Nor do we discuss this point: Although we reincarnate from a baby's body through childhood and youth, we, the soul, are the same person.
As a great calculus equation has little value if it is based on the premise that 1 + 1 = 3, so is interfaith and spiritual study without deep philosophical understanding of the self.
Egalitarianism based on the body fails since we are all different. This sentiment can be logically upheld by a spiritual philosophical basis by which one recognizes that the soul is of the same quality in all beings.
By deeper study, one can intelligently accept that there is only one God, by which all can approach with love calling Him by His different names. Allah, Jehovah, Krishna, Christ is just the tip of the iceberg. For as God has unlimited qualities and glories, therefore there exists unlimited names of God.
To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.