The Role of Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals

William F Vendley

Religious communities know that persons and communities are inseparable. This means that true sustainable development must engage both persons and their communities. We ignore this profound reciprocity at our peril. To nourish and strengthen vital communities, religions advance social virtues like trust, seeking the common good and an abiding sense of responsibility for others animated by unrestricted Love and Compassion. Again, these social virtues help generate what economist have begun to call the “social capital” essential for development, William F. Vendley said at the UN Special Event on World Interfaith Harmony: Multi-religious Partnership for Sustainable Development.

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What next for interfaith partnerships and human development?

Katherine Marshall at the United Nations

The interfaith movement is a rich mosaic of efforts, ranging from theological discourse to practical coalitions. Some interreligious harmony work is built on ethereal, ethical, and theological foundations. And some is grounded in an earthy, urgent common interest or in response to a crisis or threat, said Katherine Marshall to the UN Special Event on World Interfaith Harmony: Multi-religious Partnership for Sustainable Development.

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Violent Extremism and the Value of Interfaith Dialogue

AS RECENT EVENTS in Australia and overseas attest, violent extremist acts persist as a chosen tool for radical groups to terrorise populations and recruit more adherents. This is despite a wide array of prevention, containment and rehabilitation strategies in place around the world. Brian Adams of Griffith University Centre for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue writes about the toolbox of interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

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Interfaith Dialogue and the Social Dividend

Prof. Desmond Cahill, Chair, Religions for Peace Australia, has given an address to the G20 Interfaith Summit at the Gold Coast, held 16-18 November. The topic for Prof. Cahill’s address was Interfaith Dialogue and the Social Dividend. In his talk, Prof Cahill gave a description of interfaith activity:

Interfaith activity, firstly, means the different faith communities not just living harmoniously side-by-side (though this is a good beginning) but actively knowing about and respecting each other and each other’s beliefs in fair and honourable competition, not allowing the mistakes and tragedies of the distant and recent past to pervert the present.

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Religion and Multifaith Diversity: Evolution in a Globalizing World

In this paper presented to the Evolution Symposium of 2014, Prof. Des Cahill, Chair, Religions for Peace Australia, examines various creation narratives and beliefs of different religions and goes on the offence with regard to the thoughts of Richard Dawkins. Prof. Cahill also examines creationism and intelligent design and whether or not either of these might be taught in Australian schools, considering the legal and constitutional dimensions. With regard to the roles of state govenemnts and the duty of the Minister of Education to have oversight of what is taught in schools, there are some thoughtful issues raised by Professor Cahill.

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