Rabbi Camille Shira Angel participated in a debate on the future of faith at the USF Magazine, together with Jesuit priest Father Dónal Godfrey, S.J and astrophysicist Xiaosheng Huang.
Here is what she shared with the readers:
“The path forward is pluralism,” says Rabbi Angel. “The great threat to that is fundamentalism.”
While religious pluralism doesn’t have a single definition, one that encompasses its most basic tenets comes from nonprofit think tank The Aspen Institute: “The state of being where every individual in a religiously diverse society has the rights, freedom, and safety to worship, or not, according to their conscience.” That last part — rights, freedom, and safety to worship — is what Angel fears is under threat from fundamentalism today.
“Fundamentalism is based on fear of the other. It survives because of, and thrives on, that fear,” Angel says. She paraphrases former nun and Catholic author Karen Armstrong, saying, “The opposite of faith isn’t doubt. It’s certainty, the certainty that your way is the only way.” When people are pushed beyond their comfort zones, encouraged to look through the eyes of those whom they believe to be their enemies, faith is moved forward, Angel says.
“Listen, there’s a multiplicity of ways to get to the sacred,” she says. “None of us knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that our way, our religion, is the right way to get to what many of us call God. The goal shouldn’t be to push for our religion to be recognized as the religion. The goal should be to strengthen all religions. That’s pluralism.”
The full article can be found here.