The challenge of inter-faith engagement

By staff writers
August 26, 2013

Just Festival and its predecessor, the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, has been concerned over the years to strike up a genuine personal, artistic, spiritual and cultural conversation among the different religions and beliefs that make up our country.

Once mainly culturally Christian, Scotland, like other parts of the British Isles,now has a greater diversity of outlook - religious and non-religious - than ever before. So what are the obstacles and challenges in interfaith work today? How does school and home education affect the dialogue between believers?

In the light of a greater secular feel to the state and society, to what extent do interfaith activities support religious life and spirituality? Can they build bridges between those for whom faith is central and vital to their lives, and those for whom it is peripheral and unimportant?

Is it a matter of 'the religious' versus the 'non-religious', or can we enjoy a richer exchange than one organised along battle lines favoured by zealots in various camps?

These and other issues will be considered at the Just conversation, "More tea, imama?", starting at 6pm in the hall at St John's (corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road, venue 127), Edinburgh, tonight. We will continue until 7.30pm, and the cost is £5.

The speakers will be Sister Isabel Smyth (Interfaith Scotland), Bashir Malik and Iain Stewart Edinburgh (Interfaith Assosication), and the chair will be the Rev Markus Dunzkofer (Church of St John the Evangelist).

Just Festival, also known simply as Just, runs from 2-26 August 2013. It is based at St John's Church, Edinburgh, and some 27 other occasional venues, and combines artistic and performance style events with conversations, talks, films, exhibits and other ways of exploring how to live together creatively in a mixed-belief society.

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