On Wednesday evening I’m participating in an “Interfaith Discussion” at a local university. There are five of us on the panel, each representing our own faith (or non-faith). It is, frankly, a bit intimidating (and impossible) to be the representative of Christianity, but I’ll do my best.
Each of the leaders are being asked to address a few different questions, but I’m curious what you think. The event organizers are hoping for about 100 undergraduate and graduate students representing a variety of faith backgrounds to show up. What should I say? What aspects of Christianity would you want shared at this sort of event?
Of course, I have my own thoughts about this, but I’m very interested to hear yours.
11 thoughts on “What would you say about Christianity at an interfaith discussion?”
I would say that as Christians our highest calling is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, all of our minds and all of our souls, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that Jesus even called us to love our enemies. I would explain that the word ‘love’ in the English Bible is translated from the Greek word ‘agape’, which can be translated as requiring intentional action for the benefit of others. That we are called to help those in need regardless of their beliefs or circumstances. That we believe in world transformation.
I would then explain that it is only because of our faith in Jesus Christ that we are capable of such actions, and I would encourage them to take a fresh look at this man Jesus, discarding any preconceptions based on their experiences to date, and decide for themselves whether he is who said he is.
Christianity is the only faith that does not require good deeds to be saved.That’s the big difference.
This panel would seem a bit intimidating, but I would stick to how much we are loved by a God Who wants a relationship with us. “We love HIm because He first loved us.” This is the most outstanding difference from all other religions; that we are loved by God Who is personal. The Muslims know nothing of a loving God, only one who is demanding. And we obey Him because we love Him, and we love Him because He loves us. But God has made it plain in His word that all of this comes through His son Jesus which was His gift to us. We must receive this gift to have that relationship He so desires.
Having studied religions for a few years, the main difference that stands out to me that somehow gets overlooked even by Christians is the incarnational aspect – Jesus’ life, death, and Resurrection and therefore our subsequent hope for bodily, and even earthly, Salvation. Most other religions focus on “Heaven” or “God” and “soul/spirit” as something similar to Plato’s ideas. Christianity stands in contrast to that, as far as I’ve understood.
I would also like to focus on how Christianity (and other religions in their own turn) does not necessarily offer different answers, but asks different questions (at times – not always). This seems to me to often be a fundamental misunderstanding during interfaith dialogue.
Thanks for the comments all. I’ll be spending some time on this tomorrow, so any additional thoughts before then are very welcome.
Tell a story, David Swanson.
Don’t be intimidated! Once I remember sitting on a panel at NU with actual experts and then me. I remember thinking “what am I doing?” Then God said “I am with you”. After that panels like this were never the same for me. You will be great!
I’d tell them that God is not afraid of tough questions and the historicity of the christian faith can withstand their rigorous searches. Invite them to go deep.
oops I was too late. Please let us know how it went!
Good words; thanks. I hope to post a recap later this week or early next week.
Good! I’m eagerly waiting for a report.