More interfaith events would help to establish a dialogue among different faiths. The need is great.
When I was a married serviceman in Huntsville, Ala., we lived off-base, where a young couple lived below us. In a friendly conversation, I noted that I was Catholic. They were taken aback and, in the nicest words possible, explained that they could never be Catholic because if a couple is married in the Church, the bride is required to sleep with the priest the first night.
I was flabbergasted. Yet I managed to ask why they thought that. It turned out their parents had told them so.
Now, do we need more dialogue or not?
-- Joseph Snyder, Alexandria
Contrary to the accepted wisdom of interfaith events promoting more tolerance and ecumenism, there are definite drawbacks. Unfortunately, many religions use such events not to promote tolerance, but as an opportunity to proselytize and spread propaganda that may be inimical to other religions.
Interfaith efforts designed to prevent starvation and genocide are worthy causes. As to other areas, time is better spent by congregations in teaching the precepts of their religion to their congregants.
-- Nelson Marans, Silver Spring
I would like to see my congregation participate in more interfaith events. Some years ago, a Jewish congregation worshiped with our Baptist congregation, and it was a beautiful experience.
I am particularly interested in expressions of spirituality such as labyrinths, prayer, meditation and silent, reflective walks. I am also interested in the Benedictine experience. Some time ago, I participated in a full day of prayer and meditation with a small group of people of the Catholic faith, which I enjoyed.
-- Sharon G. Atterbury, Silver Spring
Next month's question: Do you see a religious or spiritual significance in natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina? E-mail your answer (100 words or less) to email@example.com. Include a daytime phone number.