“We have to learn to speak to those we do not hope to convert, but with whom we wish to live.”
“Faiths are like languages. There are many of them, and they are not reducible to one another. In order to express myself at all, I must acquire a mastery of my own language.. But as I venture out into the world I discover that there are other people who have different languages which I must learn if we are to communicate across borders.”
“We have great difficulty in recognising the integrity – indeed the sanctity – of those who are not in our image, whose faith and traditions and culture and language are not like ours. None the less we are told, and must struggle to see, that the wholly other, he or she who is not in our image, is yet in God’s image.”
“There is one God, and there are many faiths. That tells us that God is bigger than religion, even though we need religion to speak to God. Religions are like languages. The existence of English does not refute, replace or supersede the existence of French, Italian or Urdu. Each language preserves a unique set of sensibilities. There are things you can say in one that you cannot translate, without loss, into others. That is why we are enlarged by their multiplicity and would be impoverished if one disappeared. Nonetheless, they describe the same reality, as religions reach out to the one God. They do not, should not, threaten one another. To believe otherwise is to mistake religion for God.”
“The great challenge to religions in a global age is whether, at last, they can make space for one another, recognizing God’s image in someone who is not in my image, God’s voice when it speaks in someone else’s language.”
“The multiplicity of faiths is not a tragedy but the gift of God, who is closer to us than we are to ourselves and yet lives in lives quite different from ours.”
“Since mankind in its diversity cannot be reduced to a single image, so God cannot be reduced to a single faith or language. God exists in difference and thus chooses as His witness a people dedicated to difference.”
“Judaism argues that despite the irreducible differences between faith and cultures, all people are the children of one God.”
“One of the most profound religious truths Judaism ever articulated was that God loves diversity; He does not ask us to serve Him in the same way.”
“The proposition at the heart of monotheism is not what it has traditionally been taken to be: one God, therefore one faith, one truth, one way. To the contrary, it is that unity creates diversity. The glory of the created world is its astonishing multiplicity: the thousands of different languages spoken by mankind, the hundreds of faiths, the proliferation of cultures, the sheer variety of the imaginative expressions of the human spirit, in most of which, if we listen carefully, we will hear the voice of God telling us something we need to know. That is what I mean by the dignity of difference.”
“Nature, and humanly constructed societies, economies and polities, are systems of ordered complexity. That is what makes them creative and unpredictable. Any attempt to impose of them an artificial uniformity in the name of a single culture or faith, represents a tragic misunderstanding of what it takes for a system to flourish. Because we are different, we each have something unique to contribute, and ever contribution counts.”
“The supreme religious challenge is to see God’s image in one who is not in our image ”
“The faith of Israel declares the oneness of God and the plurality of man.”
“Nothing has proved harder in the history of civilization than to see God, or good, or human dignity in those whose language is not mine, whose skin is a different colour, whose faith is not my faith and whose truth is not my truth.”
“Those who are confident in their faith are not threatened but enlarged by the different faith of others.”
“Because we are different we each have something unique to give – not to ourselves and our communities alone but to all of us and the life we share. This means integration without assimilation. There are, and will continue to be, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and all the other shades of the rainbow. But what we make, we make together.”