Interfaith Dialogue

We are at the height of living through the Christian holy days of Lent and Easter. At the same time, we may find ourselves in conversations with people of other faiths who may not understand what we are celebrating or why it is important to Christians. In the same manner we may not fully understand our Jewish brothers and sisters in their Passover celebrations or our Hindu neighbors in their Holi celebrations at this same time of year.

How do we begin to understand the diversity of faith expressions that surround us here in the United States? What are helpful ways of teaching and learning about others’  religious traditions and beliefs, as well as explaining our own Christian faith to them?

Here are a few collected resources from around the web on this topic:

From the Washington Post, we have a multi-religious calendar that shows when different faiths are celebrating throughout the year. Holiday traditions are concrete ways of explaining and sharing our faith practices. And from another source the names of these days and their actual dates from year-to-year.

The Patheos organization has free teacher resources including a teacher guidebook, charts, and comparisons for the major religious traditions.

Zach Anner, a “self-professed religious idiot” does a series of short interviews with people of different faiths on YouTube. Here’s the last of 29 videos that he does reflecting on his learning about the people and faiths he has explored. You can view all 29 episodes on the SoulPancake Channel of YouTube.

Deily.org is an interfaith wiki that is uploading resources and inspiring conversations. This link takes you to a filmed interfaith panel around key questions shared by different religious traditions. This event was held in January at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, TX.

Kathy Dawson, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Columbia Theological Seminary

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