Can’t (our faiths) all just get along?

What does it take for people of different faiths to get along?

It’s an age-old question, and the answer (if there is one) could be one of the keys to the universe, it seems.

Sunday’s Boston Globe gave five distinguished scholars of religion a “crack at it.”:http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2006/12/24/an_ideas_forum_on_the_challenge_of_interfaith_dialogue/ (It’s worth reading, but you may have to register with the Globe’s website, which only takes a few minutes.) Catholic neoconservative Richard John Neuhaus, evangelical historian Mark Noll, Muslim thinker Reza Aslan, and “pluralism” experts Diane Eck and Alan Wolfe all have some interesting things to say.

Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of time spent on Islam and relations between Muslims and Christians.

Neuhaus says that whether Muslims and Christians can engage one another “on the basis of reason and mutual respect” may be “the most important question of this century.”

Wolfe concludes with:

“Religions differ greatly. People themselves do not differ that much. The more the conversation gets broadened, the more tolerance will be deepened.”

Of course, religion scholars don’t always get along. Neuhaus and Wolfe have been quite critical of one another’s writings and I’m pretty sure that Neuhaus doesn’t like Eck’s “Pluralism Project”:http://www.pluralism.org/ either.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.