Keep Talking or Face Terrible Future, Religion Summit Told

September 9, 2008

Author: Lincoln Tan

Source: The New Zealand Herald

Inter-religious talks may seem superficial, but it is vital for believers of different religions to keep talking - or the consequences could be dire, an inter-religious relations expert warned.

Paul Weller, a professor of inter-religious relations at the University of Derby in Britain, is in New Zealand to speak on challenges facing multifaith societies at a two-day conference that started yesterday at the University of Auckland.

"New Zealand may have once been called a Christian country, but like most societies, with immigration and globalisation, it is now a society with many religions. The change is inevitable, but the challenge is, how do we face this change?"

Yesterday, Professor Weller spoke about the implications for believers of this change, and said that instead of "retreating from the world and taking refuge in simplistic and dangerous forms of religious communalism", they should "develop ways of thinking and acting that are characterised by modesty, integrity, realism and distinctiveness".