Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Midland, Texas - The religions are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old, but the conversation is all new. Three religions will unite in dialogue for the Permian Basin’s first interfaith event, tomorrow Thursday, April 7, at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church.  The discussion will feature leaders of the Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu and Episcopal faiths.  The event was initiated by Dr. Padmaja Patel, who said she wanted to create a discussion of a different sort between the religions.  “I wanted to do it for quite some time, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it,” Patel said.  She asked the religious leaders to each submit one question regarding contemporary issues. The possible topics range from political discourse to philosophical ideas, like how a religion interprets pain or suffering.
The purpose of the questions is to see how different faith groups analyze and confront situations based on their philosophies and doctrines.  “The idea is to understand how our faith allows us to understand,” Patel said.  The Rev. James Bridges of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church said the talk will help in getting to know the non-Christian populations that are making West Texas their new home. “For the first time we’ve had Hindus migrate over here to help with our diocese and in the medical profession, and we’re finding mosques,” Bridges said. “We’re finding people who worship God sincerely but do not have any connection with Christ and are not Christian.”  Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of the magazine Hinduism Today, will represent Hinduism at the panel.

Leaders from Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism will unite tomorrow in dialogue during an interfaith event at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Midland, Texas, USA, to discuss contemporary issues and understand how our faith allows us to understand and confront present day matters.  “We are not really trying to prove that one faith is better than the other or criticize another religion,” Dr. Padmaja Patel said. “It is a foundation where we can come together and learn something from each other.”  The interfaith event will encourage tolerance and reduce misconceptions of unfamiliar religions and traditions.

A sense of common interest can be fostered among individuals, if they know that they are inter-connected, are parts of one Organic System and are the sons and daughters of one Father.  Here is the task of all religions; to teach people that all beings of the world are closely inter-related.   Although steadfastness or firm belief in God (Nistha) according to some particular faith and eligibility of the individual is congenial for healthy spiritual growth of every individual, religious bigotry which begets enmity is condemnable, as it is against the real interest of the individual and society.  Real religion teaches love for one another.  Lord Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu propagated the cult of all-embracing Divine Love which brings universal brotherhood on a transcendental plane.

Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Madhava Mahārāja :
“Realistic Solution for Diverse Humanity”
Speech at a ‘Spiritual Summit Conference’ - 1968 Calcutta.
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math -

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