A group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars, under the sponsorship of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics here, has launched a study to discover the potential for peace within the three religious traditions.
"Minimally, we share the belief that understanding rather than ignorance, fact rather than fancy, and reasoned exchange rather than blind assumption will provide a surer basis for peace among our communities, Jewish, Christian and Muslim," said a joint statement of goals and directions issued by the group this week.
The new group is unrelated to the Washington Interfaith Conference, a formal organization of local Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders formed last year to develop cooperative approaches to community problems.
The Kennedy Institute group, involving a score of scholars from the Eastern Seaboard, plans to meet at least twice a year. The group'ss initial statement of purpose emphasizes that it will meet " as a group of individual scholars, not as official representatives of our religious communities."
The group will focus on religious topics "of common interest to all three religious communities," the statement said.
"Although religion has played a role in the conflicts which plague the world today, in the Middle East and elsewhere, religion has the potential for being a larger part of the solution. Hence we share a common hope that the potential for peace lies within the three traditions we represent."
Participants in the group include Dr. Eugene Fisher, who heads Catholic-Jewish relations for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops; Dr. Leonard Swidler of Temple University; Sargent Shriver, a Washington lawyer and former head of the Peace Corps; Prof. Michael Wyschogord of the City University of New York; Dr. Robert Haddad of Smith College; and Prof. Paul van Buren of Boston.