Op/ed: "From Many Faiths Grows Greater Understanding"

August 27, 2006

Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin


On August 27, 2006 the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published an opinion piece by Saleem Ahmed, a Muslim, and president of the All Believers Network, and by Joan Chatfield, a Christian, board chairwoman of the Network, "The continuing death and destruction in the Middle East reflect the limitless extent to which individuals and political entities will go to defend their faith as the only 'true' path. No end seems in sight to this centuries-old conflict among followers of these Abrahamic faiths. We also saw how Catholics and Protestants fought wars of terror in Northern Ireland. And while conditions seem peaceful there now, they could reignite at any time. How can we rescue humanity from such quagmires? The Hawaii-based All Believers Network (Belnet) encourages individuals to examine their own faiths objectively and explore how scriptural passages that build barriers against other faiths might be reinterpreted to become more inclusive. Rather than focus on ritualistic differences among religions, Belnet tries to examine the underlying areas in common. To that end, Belnet's second annual symposium on Labor Day, Sept. 4, will bring together Hawaii residents of more than a dozen faiths for discussion of different religious beliefs and practices. Established in 2003, Belnet believes that all spiritually based religions are from one source -- a source considered indescribable and beyond human comprehension by all Belnet board members. These are individual adherents of 13 faiths (Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hawaiian spirituality, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Subud, Sufism, Unitarian Universalism and Zoroastrianism). Many of them also believe the source is eternal, formless, omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient; loving, fair and forgiving."