‘In my Father’s house there are many mansions.’ — Jesus
A talk by five people of five different faiths on the role of faith in their life.
Nabil Mustapha (Baha’i faith): Faith is a covenant. Medicine is a noble profession, to be practised to help others, not to earn lots of money. The Baha’i faith is a choice to be exercised, a choice not to be exercised until one reaches the age of sixteen.
Mark Bishop (Buddhism): Grew up in India then UK in the Protestant and Catholic tradition. Did not become a Buddhist until late in life. Belongs to a sect that has no monks. Chant a mantra half an hour before breakfast then again in the evening.
Ray Traynor (Catholism): Taught in many countries. Chance conversations, chance meetings, led to these opportunities. Like Santiago in The Alchemist, risks were taken.
Irene Black (Judaism): One is born a Jew. It is who your parents are that determines that you are a Jew. Difficult to say what the impact of faith has on ones life. Easier to say what the lack of faith means, life would have no meaning. A close parallel between Hinduism and Judaism. Faith is seen through action. There are as many interpretations of Judaism as there are Jews.
Adel Sharif (Islam): We all have faith. Religion is man made. Prophets are messengers of God, their names in Arabic reflects their function. There is only one Koran, but many interpretations. Translations are often bad as the translator does not understand the Arabic. Muslims recognise the same God, the same prophets as Jews and Christians. The Quran is a continuation of what went before, not something new. The Quran tells believers of the One Faith to recognise Jews and Christians. Believers are seekers after truth. A scientist is a seeker after truth. Education should be for the betterment of mankind, not to earn more money. The proposed Multi-Faith Centre at Surrey University is to be renamed the Faith Centre. [also see The Role of Science and Faith in the Development of Civilisations]
Gifts: We all have gifts. We should share those gifts.
Peace: Something we should all strive for.
Prayer: God listens. Maybe we should heed the advice of St Benedict and learn to listen. Prayer is two-way communication. We have to learn to read the signs. [also see Does it matter how we pray?]
Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho describes those who say their faith is the only way as religious bigots. A devout Catholic, at his St Joseph Party in Istanbul he quoted from the Quran. He invited his guests to join him in prayer. Prayers were said in several languages by people from different religious backgrounds.
In The Shack Jesus is asked: Do you have to be a Christian to follow Him? He replies no, as even He is not a Christian. He adds, Jews, Muslims, even Buddhists, follow him.
Publicity: The meeting was very poorly publicised. Even St Joseph’s lacked a poster on the church notice board! As an absolute minimum posters and flyers in local churches, libraries, Guildford Institute.
Guildford and Godalming Interfaith Forum is an informal collective. For more information on future meetings please contact Bernard Jones (email@example.com).
Midsummer Feast with Eden people – evening Tuesday 14 June 2011 – Allen House Pavilion, Guildford.
George Abbott’s Guildford. A talk by Mary Alexander at St Mary’s Church in Guildford. George Abbott was a former Archbishop of Canterbury, a contributor to the King James’ Bible. 7-30pm Tuesday evening 28 June 2011.
Creative Arts @ Costa, a celebration of music, word and the visual arts, takes place at Costa in Swan Lane in Guildford on the first Tuesday of the month (same day as the farmers market). The next event is Tuesday evening 5 July 2011. There will be no events in August and September. Swan Lane is the narrow lane that runs between the High Street and North Street at the lower end of the High Street. With Eden People, a Christian collective.
The Keystone Spirit is a regular meeting of Eden People at The Keystone Pub (3 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, GU2 4BL).