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Dining at the Smorgasbord of World Religions

“Honestly, I had no idea there were so many religions in the world. What I want to know is why that is.”


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Religiosity is the innate human capacity for meaning making. Its primary tools are art, music, dance, story, myth, ritual, and contemplative practice. Religiosity is dynamic, fluid, and evolving, pointing us toward ever greater levels of consciousness and ever wider circles of compassion. Religion is the organizational structure that transmits past expressions of human religiosity to future generations. Over time religiosity’s dynamic, fluid, and evolving nature becomes ossified in religion’s penchant for hierarchy, continuity, power, and control. While religiosity is always about imagining tomorrow, religion is almost always about replicating a no less imagined yesterday. It is with this understanding (some might call it bias) that I attended the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto. The original Parliament was a one-time event held in conjunction with the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A century later it roared back to life and continues to flourish as a gathering place for thousands of people committed to interfaith harmony. At the Parliament interfaith harmony doesn’ …

About the Author

Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. In the print version of our magazine, he has...

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