For many a year I was an “Interfaith” chaplain working for an “Interfaith” nonprofit partnering with an “Interfaith” council. As I emerged from faith myself while continuing the work, the term “Interfaith” (or inter-religious, multi-faith, etc) seemed too restrictive. Several “Interfaith” organizations did include secular representatives (I was one), and these organizations at least expand cooperative coalitions beyond “Ecumenical” (a Christian word for Christian cooperatives). Yet holding to any term that is strictly faith-oriented seems outdated now.
So, I was pleased to see this statement from the Interfaith Youth Core based out of Chicago. At least they are re-defining and expanding the meaning of “interfaith”:
“IFYC is a national non-profit working towards an America where people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions can bridge differences and find common values to build a shared life together.”
Maybe this is a step in the direction I’m looking for.
Inter-Worldview might be a more constructive rubric offering direction to a progressive movement forward that includes faith perspectives as well as humanistic viewpoints.
What would you suggest?
Chris as a chaplain in the Humanist worldview I have struggled with the word and title on our university door of Multi-Faith Center. We are not defined as a “faith” which Augustine described as facts are belief in things seen, and faith as belief in things unseen. I have faith in the wind as I can only see the effects. Same thing for other faith systems who believers who believe even when the evidence is purely experiential based on their communities interpretation. I have tried to get our chaplains and administration to change the name with little effect. The name I like best was coined by the Harvard group called the Pluralism Place or Hub. I like this because it shows the diversity we need. I could live with inter-faith and Worldview Center but Pluralism Hub is my preference. Our religious chaplains have “graciously” rejected this name as it sounds too much like a social meetup site. They want some religious variant. They hold the power of numbers so they have won out so far.
Agreed, Marty. There is a resistance to re-naming these groups. The old mindset of religion as the center of things. I like Pluralism too (in the States maybe E Pluribus Unum. . .has a nice ring).
I really like the statement from the IFYC. It states clearly what their intentions are.
Yes, Leslie, some people seem to understand that words matter. Cheers.