Here is a little contribution, born out of a natural interest. As the subject area is vast, these pages started by concentrating on the scene in and around Birmingham, U.K., but more recently, my interest has taken me further afield and in August 2000 I was present as an observer at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders in New York. Please feel free to browse notes from the speeches.
This is a personal selection - some particular angles, which I hope are unusual enough to prompt further reflection. Indeed, these pages will reflect a bias towards contemplation, meditation and prayer. (They should also see a steady transition from merely multi faith to multi- and inter- faith.)
I would be delighted to hear from others who have multi-faith backgrounds and could certainly do with knowing more about Faiths other than Christianity and Buddhism.
The newsgroups uk.religion.interfaith and uk.religion.misc have been set up to promote dialogue in the UK. On a worldwide scale, there is only talk.religion.misc which is variable in compassion and understanding. Many discussions are now taking place on Listservs...
Accounts from some recent events
MultiFaith LinksThese are links either to my own pages or some popular index. I invite suggestions for links to Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, and others. I favour those with an emphasis on practice rather than theory/concepts etc.
In recent years, the amount of material that has become available has grown considerably. It can still be useful to consult some of the first printed surveys of what has been online - I used a nice guide called God on the Internet by Mark Kellner. It is not the last word, but gives an impression of the positive impact that the internet can have for spirituality.
In due course I hope to find a site for individual religions and also dialogue between religions. A good starting point is:
Another service is:
The contemplative tradition is evident in a Meditation bibliography, part of 'Firewatch', a tribute to the efforts of Thomas Merton.
Perhaps, among all the religions of the world, those of India are ostensibly the most embracing. One organisation, which certainly supports and encourages interfaith activities is the Self-Realization Fellowship, founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda, who travelled widely to meet people.
Even in zones of bitter conflict, people are working for peace, especially through education: as at the The Hope Flowers School in Bethlehem.
Inter Faith Essays
In the UK, there is body that helps co-ordinate organised interfaith activity and it has a great deal of experience:
Director: Brian Pearce8A Lower Grosvenor Place
Tel. 020 7931 7766
Personal investigations and Research Interests
It is interesting how themes can become common across a wide range of disciplines. In my research in computer science I have studied formal methods (logic and algebra) and concurrent systems, where more than one process have to communicate with each other. In this field, it has traditionally been the case that one talks about sequential strands that must somehow be glued together ... the result is that there are often problems at the interface - most famous of which is called deadlock!
However, a new paradigm for non-sequential systems is emerging which emphasises interaction rather than parallelism. Such a view has been expressed in computer science, e.g. Professor Robin Milner's Turing Award Lecture called 'Elements of Interaction' (but don't ask me to explain it to you!). My impression is that in the same way Inter-Faith Dialogue is working more from shared experience rather than trying to tie together individual views whose separateness is emphasised.
I've written a little book, which relates to my experience of a mixed faith background. It is now available (almost complete) and called In sight of the Beginning
Other Spiritual Expressions
There are many other places that provide for spiritual nourishment. Here are a few indices that will enable you to discover many others!
And here are a few other interesting people and places:
- Paul Trafford