December is a month when many people are thinking about wishes. Children might write letters to Santa Claus with their wishes for Christmas and adults might think about what they wish for the new year.
The following is my personal list of seven wishes for the interfaith work in 2018.
- No religious violence anymore.
No person should suffer from violence and religions should in no way support people suffering. Politics, society, religious leaders and every believer all over the world should do everything possible to support the peaceful streams in the different religions.
- More dialogue
The dialogue that is happening here in Scotland is very good, but there can always be more. And in other places in the world there is less or no dialogue between different religions.
- More young people in dialogue
When I visit local interfaith groups this is the wish I hear most often. 2018 will be the official “year of young people” in Scotland. For Interfaith Scotland the work with young people will be one of the most important parts of its work this year, for example by organising a national youth conference in St Andrews in April. Even the UK Interfaith Network is putting much effort in the work with young people (I can tell you more about this another time).
- More funding for interfaith work
As everything successful interfaith work depends on funding. Not everything can be done by volunteers and staff needs to be paid, as well as travel expanses and food at events. So hopefully governments as well as private funders and donators will increase the amount of money they give for interfaith work.
- More publicity for successful interfaith dialogue
The media seems to talk about religion mainly if there are things going wrong. I would like to see a greater awareness of the benefits of interfaith work in local, national and international media.
- More “professional” interfaith work
In Scotland I can experience the benefits of a very good organised interfaith work, run by special interfaith charities like Interfaith Scotland, Interfaith Glasgow, Edinburgh Interfaith Association and the UK Interfaith Network. I wish that many more countries would organize (and fund!) interfaith work in a similar way – not least my homecountry Germany.
- More “theological” dialogue
Something popping up in my blog articles from time to time. From my point of view an interfaith dialogue is only complete, if the theological questions are included. That doesn’t mean every single dialogue event needs to deal with those questions. There is definitely a huge benefit in “just” bringing people together and letting them learn more about each other – but from my personal theological point of view the different religions can (and must) also learn from each other in theological questions, but there seem to be very little opportunities for this kind of dialogue.