When Even The Hardiest Misanthrope Has To Admit Defeat


There are times when, even amongst the darkness of the follies and idiocies of mankind, a candle can be found quietly burning which warms the heart. This article is one such.

I recall the 1980’s in Guildford when Evangelicalism was very fashionable all ideas of communion with people of other faiths was regarded as, at best, misguided, or, at worst, downright satanic. An interfaith meeting held the cathedral was picketed and arguments were made in the Christian world for having to rededicate the cathedral in the wake of such blasphemy.

From my point of view, having steeped myself with the richness of each of these varying traditions, I felt increasingly isolated amongst all this mindless hatred and suspicion and wrote an essay on the topic to “Cathedral Papers” (an amateur theology journal published by the Dean) celebrating multifaith activity. It was printed and the following couple of issues were dominated by the issue. Indeed I had a letter from the publisher to say that I had created a storm of interest with my article.

There were, of course, people who had reached similar conclusions to me. I remember a Dr Alistair G Hunter writing a book (Christianity and Other Faiths in Britain”) on the topic which I found myself shouting “Yes!!” at every page. The book outlined the various theological positions in relation to the topic and also spoke of the author’s own experience of finding God in meeting with people of other faiths. I even wrote to him and got a splendid reply.

So, for me, this represents an amazing step forward from those dark ages and I hope similar battles are fought on behalf of Hindus and Sikhs at some point as well.


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