Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Cheltenham Inter Faith

I'm not a member, but have been along to Cheltenham Inter Faith before. Tonight, our friend Julia Neuberger came to talk on "Why Inter Faith relations matter": as can be seen, she attracted a big audience, but not a lot of non-WASPs. At least, I'd guess many of them were WASPish: I counted the other Catholics I knew there on the fingers of one hand, and there were equally few obvious Muslim, Hindu, Sikh faces.

Julia is always worth listening to. Of religious education for children, she said, "They have to believe it matters." And that's the same, not just for children, but for all of us who wish to be taken for credible defenders of faith by an unbelieving world.

The problem is, where to go after we have got up from drinking our cups of tea together. I put it to her that, in this week of Rio+20, shouldn't people of all faiths make some joint commitment to strive for simpler ways of living for individuals and sustainable development for the world at large. "No," came the firm reply. She favours, rather, joint action for those in current need - which brought Groucho Marx to mind: "What has posterity ever done for me?" But surely it's not a case of either/or, Julia?

Nevertheless welcome back to Cheltenham! You are a lovely ambassador for your faith, and you really do walk the talk.

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