Sunday, November 10, 2013

Common Ground Conference: A Day of Dialogue, Insight and Friendship

(Left) Maureen Sehr of the Scottish Interfaith Council (Bahai) and (Right) Abbi Prerna of Interfaith
Youth Core-USA (Secular Hindu humanist) in dialogue at the conference.
The full day of the CG conference consisted of three important parts. The first was the sharing of Mr. Calum Brown, local professor and humanist, on his research on how people lose their
religion. Here are some interesting tidbits:
  • Since the late 1960's, there has been an enormous defection from formal religious practice. That trend continues, particularly from Christianity.
  • A sense of wonder at nature is replacing religion for many.
  • Agnostic, atheist, and humanist labels are used interchangeably. 
  • Many humanists express their values in political issues and in funerals where they have the opportunity to console others and to share their compassion.
The second part of the day was a fascinating dialogue between Maureen Sehr (Scottish Interfaith Council) and Abbi Prerna (Interfaith Youth Core-Chicago-Interfaith Youth Corp). Both are practitioners in interfaith dialogue, particularly with the humanist, atheist communties. Maureen, who is of the Bahai Faith and Prerna terms herself a Secular Hindu. For Prerna the Hinduism of her family partly shapes her sense of humanity and values. Maureen spoke of her work on the Interfaith Council of Scotland and her the motives of her own faith that sees the sacred in all faiths and perspectives.

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