Interfaith Work

Final Thoughts

Just a few parting thoughts. Less than 5% of all Australians have ever spoken with an Aborigine. The adult literacy rate in Afghanistan is around 29%, and in the same country, some 1.6% of all births lead to maternal deaths. Greece, the mother of a number of pre-Christian faiths, is now an environment that is somewhat problematical for Pagans; the Orthodox Church fears us. Australia as a nation tends to be quite tolerant of religions, and by and large is not at all observant. While a majority is Christian, the weekly attendance at services is about 7%. Proselytizing tends to be much less common than in the States, as it is viewed as rather "odd" to talk about one's religion.

Melbourne is an eminently livable big city. It has a population of some 4 million people, but we've never felt unsafe walking about late at night, and I have noticed that the Foreign Currency Exchange places don't have bulletproof glass in the windows. There's tighter security at the gas station in my town of 7,000 people than for a financial place in a big city.

There are big issues in a lot of places, and none of the answers are simple. The early work of interfaith work is happening, but that's the easy part. That's where you get together with people of other faiths, and find the commonality, and feel good that we're all people in communities who are concerned for others, take care of people, and try to become better people.

That's the easy part. The hard part is where we get together to discuss the parts where we are different, and will not ever agree. Transcendant, revealed religions will never change to become immanent, panentheist and occult, or vice versa. We still need to talk and respect the differences.

That's the future work. Good luck, everyone.

- Dave