Gaskill cites Holy Envy to mean the desire to learn from other’s religions

BYU Church history and doctrine professor Alonzo Gaskill said every religion has worthwhile practices and is worthy of study. Gaskill spoke on the topic of “holy envy” at an Education Week presentation Monday.

BYU professor Alonzo Gaskill speaks at Education Week about the importance of making room for holy envy. (Addie Blacker)Holy envy is the ability to recognize goodness in other religions — even to the point of wishing your own religion incorporated similar practices, beliefs or methods of worship. Gaskill said this admiration of, and even longing for, other religions does not and should not destroy faith in one’s own religion.

“We don’t have to give anything up in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to have holy envy, except personal prejudices that we struggle with,” Gaskill said.

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Muslims clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site. Commentary

Article by Frank Kaufmann 

On the morning of Sunday, August 11, 2019 clashes broke out among Muslim protesters and Israeli police on Temple Mount/Haram Al Sharif. This happened in relation to the confluence of Holy Days among Muslims and Jews, Eid Al Adha for Muslims, commemorating the end of the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and Tisha B’Av, the Jewish fast day when Jews mourn the destruction of the Temple, one of which stood at the current site of Masjid Al-Aqsa, as well as other tragic events in Jewish history.

AP Photo, Mahmoud Illean

At least 61 Muslim worshipers were injured, and at least four police officers wounded, at the time of this writing.

This development is unnecessary and upsetting. Leaders in all areas, and from all communities had more than sufficient advance warning of the confluence of these Holy Days. Care and preparation plainly were lacking, at levels to meet a day so obviously rife with potential for conflict.

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Trouble in Jerusalem During Muslim and Jewish Holy Days

This podcast analyzes the clash today at Temple Mount/Masjid al-Aqsa during the Holy Days of Ed al-Hadr, and Tisha B’av

AP Photo, Mahmoud Illean


Thoughts on Psalm 85 and our current political climate

I have tried my first podcast, and as an experiment, spoke for 12 minutes and 35 seconds on Psalm 85:10.

The piece has two brief sound interruptions, which I mention here so as to guide listeners away from thinking prematurely at the interruption that you’ve reached the end of my thoughts

Thank you for listening [Frank Kaufmann, Director, IRFWP]


6 facts about what Americans know about religion

Many Americans say that religion is very important in their lives. But how much do people in the U.S. actually know about their faith tradition – or about religions besides their own?

A new report from Pew Research Center tries to answer this question by asking U.S. adults 32 fact-based questions about a variety of religious topics. The survey includes questions about the Bible and Christianity, as well as atheism, agnosticism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Respondents also were asked about religious demographics.

The average U.S. adult is able to answer slightly fewer than half of the religious knowledge questions correctly (14.2 of the 32). But the survey finds that Americans’ level of knowledge varies based on who is answering the questions.

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UN envoy meets Myanmar interfaith leaders

UN Special Envoy Christine Schraner-Burgener (centre) visting Myanmar. (ANSA)

The United Nations special envoy, Christine Schraner-Burgener met a delegation of faith leaders of Myanmar earlier this week over internal conflicts that continue to plague the nation, particularly the Rohingya Muslim crisis in Rakhine State.

During the July 9 meeting, they talked about the greater role for religious leaders in striving for a more tolerant society.

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Pope appoints Sri Lankan as Secretary of Vatican’s inter-religious dialogue body

Pope Francis on July 3 appointed Sri Lankan priest, Msgr. Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage as Secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The 52-year-old monsignor has been serving as the Under-secretary of the Council since 2012.

Msgr. Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage.

Pope Francis on Wednesday appointed a Sri Lankan as the Secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID).  Msgr. Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage, currently the under-secretary of the Council, is a member of the clergy of the Diocese of Badulla, Sri Lanka.

Msgr. Indunil was born in 1966 of a Buddhist mother who converted on marrying a Catholic.  Two years after his priestly ordination in the Diocese of Badulla on 16 December 2000, he was sent to Rome where he obtained a doctorate in missiology from the Pontifical Urban University.   The university later hired him as a professor at its Faculty of Missiology.

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Abraham Lincoln Bible surfaces, offers clues to his religious beliefs

Interfaith growth and development involve not only occasions of interreligious encounter and affirmation, but also involve delving deeper into each, specific religious path, sometimes my own faith, sometimes the faith of others.

In interfaith encounters and spaces, especially in the West, there often tends to be great breadth and embrace for every world religion, but suddenly doors shut when Christianity steps into the spotlight. Knee-jerk reactions immediately suspect bias or proselytization. 

This is a habit and reaction we must come to transcend and overcome. It always should arouse in us interest and a supportive mind, whenever we have the chance to learn about any religious or spiritual tradition. 

This article examines and inquires into a fascinating part of religious and United States history, looking at a rare artifact, and seeking insights into the spiritual path of a modern figure who changed the course of history, and shone a light onto the path of human equality (Frank Kaufmann, President, IRFWP) 

President Abraham Lincoln’s 150-year-old Bible was gifted to his neighbor, Rev. Noyes W. Miner, by his widowed wife, Mary. Miner’s family has passed it down and recently donated it so the public can now view it. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum)

She wrote that Miner was “a friend very much beloved by my husband” and historians speculate the former first lady gave the Bible to Miner as a way to protect her husband’s legacy as she had angrily rejected assertions that he was an atheist.

Miner once wrote that Lincoln “believed not only in the overwhelming Providence of God, but in the divinity of the Sacred Scriptures” and that the first lady told him at Ford’s Theater that Lincoln was planning a post-White House visit to Jerusalem to “see the places hallowed by the footsteps of the Saviour.”

Read the entire fascinating article here