“Interfaith Excursions” by Martin Marty

November 14, 2005

Source: Martin E. Marty Center


On November 14, 2005 the Martin E. Marty Center ran an editorial by its founder, Martin E. Marty on interfaith events. "While I have been involved in Christian ecumenical and then inter-religious events for a half century, I have never considered myself a type that its critics call 'interfaithy.' Like many of those critics, I was not moved by inter-religious events whose sponsors and ethos suggested that in our various faith communities we are all one and the same, but with different names and superficial markings... Today we confront new questions, and most inter-faith agencies are moving beyond 'mere' ceremony, niceness, and display (if they were ever there), to education, common action, and the like... What leads me to return to Louisville [for the Festival of Faiths]... is the way its leaders guide participants to educate young and old... But there are two 'alases': First, while almost 'all the religions' are part of most of these gatherings, conservative Protestants shun them -- sometimes because they have the old model in mind... One hopes that they will enter the scene soon. Second, these institutions and events represent investments that are dwarfed by the huge expenditures devoted to religious hate, conflict, exclusiveness, competition, and even lethal ventures. In the new millennium, and against all odds, some believers believe that, over against the negatives, some energies should go into positive relations among people who will not give up what is important to them, but put it to work."