Anglican leader warns against pretending all faiths same

Religious leaders risk fuelling extremism by pretending that all faiths are basically the same, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

The Telegraph reported Archbishop Justin Welby saying faith leaders seemed desperate to hide behind “bland” and “anaemic” statements about what they have in common.

This is instead of facing up to the “profound differences” between them, the archbishop told the annual dinner of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in London.

He warned that the pretence that mainstream religions agree on everything is simply “dishonest”.

It risks leaving them impotent to halt the spread of extremism.

The audience included hundreds of Jewish community leaders as well as Muslims, Christians and representatives of other faiths.

Archbishop Welby said religious leaders must work together to provide an “alternative vision” to combat the influence of extremists.

“If we don’t do that we leave all the good arguments in the hands of the radicals and that is the great challenge I face, and I believe we all face,” he said.

“If we’re going to do that we have to come together and we have to have the difficult conversations in safe spaces and that’s a very, very difficult thing up do.”

He added: “We need to move beyond inter-religious interaction in which we the usual suspects issue bland statements of anaemic intent with which you could paper the walls of Lambeth Palace – and much good would it do you – all desperate to agree with one another so that the very worst outcome could possibly be that we end up acknowledging our differences.”

“That is not enough in the face of the dangers we face at this time.”

The archbishop said it “is disingenuous and ultimately dishonest because alongside all that we hold in common and all that we share there are profound differences between what we believe and the outworking of our faith”.

“True friendships and relationships can withstand honesty about differences in values, opinions and religious understandings and a common commitment to mutual flourishing in diversity,” he said.


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