Monday, January 07, 2013

New content at FRD Blog: Religious conversations in the wake of death: 'Good riddance' or civility?

I have been working to add blog content for the new website for the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. The goal is to not only build material for reading, but also create conversations there among people of various religious persuasions as well. One of my posts concerns the recent death of Evangelical radio personality Frank Pastore, and how one Mormon described his feelings. What might we learn from this? Here is an excerpt: includes a blog titled "Jews and Mormons" by Mark Paredes. Paredes wrote a post that discussed Pastore's work on Mormonism and mentioned his death. After describing the way in which he died, at the conclusion of the first paragraph Paredes wrote: " In a few words, my thoughts are these: RIP – and good riddance." In the comments section I responded and I'll share the essence of my thoughts here. In my view, the statement of Paredes quoted above demonstrates precisely what's wrong, not only with Mormon-Evangelical interactions, but with interreligious interactions in general. We connect the views and work of an individual in regards to their religious tradition and how it interacts with our own, and when we bristle at the way in which they describe "us" then this translates into a demonization of them as a person (and many times their religious tradition and community too). The result is the development of a hostile faith identity within us that produces a less than civil approach toward others. Along the way we lose the ability to discuss others in positive terms, even in death as their family grapples with the loss of an individual. I strongly disagreed with the way in which Pastore described Mormonism and engaged with Mormons (not to mention Evangelicals who disagreed with his approach and advocated alternatives). But Paredes' response seems harsh and inappropriate.
Read the post here, and then please consider creating an account to leave your comments and join the conversation. Shoot me an email to let me know you applied for an account so I can expedite approval:

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