soutenir la religion dans une société pluraliste et dans la vie publique canadienne

Janvier 2015

I walk down the famous or infamous Yonge Street in Toronto from my home to my office every day.

And so it was on one of these morning ‘constitutionals’ that my eye was caught by a sale of soap from Aleppo, Syria. I had been in Syria until two days before the fighting broke out and so naturally I was intrigued about where exactly in the country the soap had come from, whether it had been shipped pre-conflict, etc. The salesperson did not know.

We take it for granted that we can freely and openly practice the diverse faiths that we represent in the Canadian Interfaith Conversation. One of the fundamental freedoms within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is “freedom of religion.” For many of us, religion is not just something we do once a week when we might attend services in our various congregations. Religion is something much more essential to who we are.

If religion is to contribute to social well-being, it must have an active public role, but a culture of secularism seems intent on pushing religion out of the mainstream of public life.  The misuse and corruption of religion - too often headlined in the daily media – reinforces the arguments of those who wish to push religion aside.

However, the answer to the abuse and exploitation of religion runs in the opposite direction.  Religion needs to be brought ever more vigorously into public life if we are to combat the dangers of its misuse and misdirection. 

Our blog name, Deep Dialogue, reflects the nature of our interaction in the Canadian Interfaith Conversation.  We believe that people of any faith tradition or philosophical background can work together for the common good — and do so more effectively if they understand and respect their deep differences.

How is it that reflecting on our deep differences leads to greater, not less, harmony amongst us? Is it not more logical to ignore the differences and focus instead on the things we have in common?