Human history is marred by conflict rooted in religious differences. A key component in the advancement of humanity toward mutual respect and peaceful coexistence is the practice of interreligious diplomacy between competing traditions. Productive engagement across religious lines includes the exploration of foundational principles and points of contact. This conference is designed to both examine and model the highest standards of interreligious engagement free from coercion, disrespect, and uncivil exchange.
Format and Participants
The conference sessions will include a range of religious and nonreligious voices. The aim of this dynamic blend of panelists is to develop a richer understanding of contemporary American and world religious landscapes. The conference will be an opportunity to: 1) adhere to Krister Stendahl’s (former dean of the Harvard Divinity School) charge to ask adherents of a tradition directly about their beliefs or positions and not its enemies; 2) observe civil dialogue between presenters that requires the communication of complex core convictions; and 3) allow conference attendees to engage presenters and, panelists, in productive and stimulating dialogue.
Schedule of Events
Welcome and Introduction:
Blair Van Dyke, Interfaith Dialogue—Discipline and Diplomacy
Judaism & Mormonism
Joshua Stanton (Jewish)
Joanna Brooks (Mormon)
Evangelicalism & Atheism
Chris Stedman (Atheist-former Evangelical)
John Morehead (Evangelical)
Joanna Brooks is a national voice on religion and American life. She is the author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith, a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches, an award-winning scholar and teacher, and chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University.
John Morehead is the Custodian for the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy and Director of the Western Institute for Intercultural Studies. He is the co-editor and contributing author for Encountering New Religious Movements: A Holistic Evangelical Approach, and the editor of Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and Christian in Dialogue, and co-founder and editor of Sacred Tribes Journal. He has been involved for many years in interreligious relationships and conversations in the contexts of Islam, Mormonism, and Paganism.
Joshua Stanton is Associate Director of the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College and Director of Communications at the Coexist Foundation. He is Founding co-Editor of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, which is helping to build inter-religious studies as an academic field. Josh likewise co-edits O.N. Scripture -- The Torah, a weekly online Torah commentary featured on The Huffington Post. Joshua Stanton will be ordained a rabbi in May 2013 and received his Masters in Hebrew Literature in 2012 from Hebrew Union College, where he studied as a Schusterman Rabbinical Fellow. Josh serves on the Board of Directors of Odyssey Networks, WorldFaith, and Education as Transformation, as well as the Editorial Advisory Boards of CrossCurrents Magazine and The Interfaith Observer.
Chris Stedman is the Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and the Values in Action Coordinator for the Humanist Community at Harvard. He is also the Emeritus Managing Director of State of Formation at the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue and founder of the first blog dedicated to exploring atheist-interfaith engagement, NonProphet Status. He has written articles for The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and Religion Dispatches, among other forums. Chris is an atheist working to foster positive and productive dialogue and collaborative action between faith communities and the nonreligious.
Blair Van Dyke coordinates Interfaith Engagement and Mormon Studies at the Orem Institute of Religion and also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Philosophy at Utah Valley University. He serves on the advisory board of the Mormon Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. He has published articles in domestic and international journals and has co-authored a book on the history of Mormonism in the Middle East. His recent interreligious undertakings have engaged Mormons, Muslims, Methodists, Catholics, Evangelicals, Hindus, and Adventists in constructive dialogue.
Interreligious Engagement Initiative - Utah Valley University
Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding - Brigham Young University
Foundation for Religious Diplomacy - Evangelical & Mormon Chapters