At the Parliament of Religions

By Luecke, Richard | The Christian Century, February 2, 2000 | Go to article overview

At the Parliament of Religions


Luecke, Richard, The Christian Century


WHEN CARDINAL Joseph Bernardin was asked in 1993 why he was attending a "parliament of the world's religions," he answered that we are told to "welcome strangers," that many things are happening in the world which people of different religions need to confront jointly, and that Christians can find such a gathering a unique occasion to talk about Jesus.

These or similar reasons brought more than 7,000 people from more than 50 countries to Cape Town, South Africa, in December for the third such "parliament." The first (which gave this inexact name to a nonlegislative assembly) convened in Chicago with the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893; the second, 100 years later in the same city. The assembly in Cape Town proposed that the parliament gather every five years in one of the world's strategic places.

People who seemed like exotic strangers to one another in 1893 now often live on the same block in world cities. At the 1893 assembly Swami Vivekenanda introduced Vedanta to the West; today that wisdom is represented by Hindu temples and centers in many Western cities and suburbs. Jains, Sikhs and Zarathustri, whose religions were introduced to many Chicagoans at the 1993 gathering, helped plan and lead the 1999 assembly.

Many of the presentations and booths at Cape Town offered introductions to the various religious traditions. Every morning Native American tribal leaders filmed their conversations for use in a society which has yet to acquire their ecological awareness. South African inyangas and sangomas wore the paint of herbalists and healers while communicating with one another by cellular phones. The major drumming of this assembly was by a Japanese ensemble representing Shinji Shumeikai--a spiritual organization that now has outreach centers in America.

The assembly's constituency was largely self-selected. Parliaments of religion attract people who like and can afford to come to this sort of gathering. Three influential bishops and some engaging young people who were drawn by the "Next Generation" program were the only participants from Latin America. Few evangelicals or Pentecostals attended.

The "Global Ethic" signed by religious leaders in '93 and by many people worldwide during the intervening years supplied the rationale for "A Call to Our Guiding Institutions." Follow-up discussions of the global ethic repeated its theme--"no peace among the nations without peace among the religions"--and then concentrated on the ethics of nonviolence in the resolution of intergroup conflicts. After the '93 meeting, an International Peace Council made up of notable religious figures began accepting invitations to intervene in various trouble spots. More continuous, often costly, initiatives for peace are being taken up by the religious communities in such places. But the parliament's basic goal--that people of different religions should stop killing each other, and stop letting their creeds heat up ordinary disputes into religious warfare--is far from achieved.

The new "Call" urged leaders in religion, politics, business, education, media and the sciences to reassess their goals for the new century. In a science-and-religion symposium, scholars of many faiths discussed the resources and challenges that the scientific discoveries of the past century offer to the religions, and the role that religions can play in raising ethical questions about the sponsorship and direction of research. A research group that has devoted the past two decades to making "Global 2000" projections used computer models to point religious constituencies toward a revised view of progress and of ways of living that make for peace, justice and sustainability. A symposium on sustainable development advocated a city-based approach in which congregations can take initiatives. A number of sessions focused on the present draft of the Earth Charter and on local initiatives that can be taken on the way toward its worldwide adoption. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

At the Parliament of Religions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.