Hindus commend National Church of Iceland for interfaith initiatives

May 8th, 2009 - 11:37 am ICT by Sampurn Wire  

Hindus have hailed the National Church of Iceland for efforts in building bridges with other religions and denominations.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that serious and honest interfaith dialogue was the need of the hour. Religion was the most powerful, complex and far-reaching force in our society, so we must take it seriously. And we all knew that religion comprised much more than our own particular tradition/experience.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was laudable on the part of National Church of Iceland to initiate Interfaith Forum of Iceland inclusive of various religious groups “to advance the cause of tolerance and respect between people of different philosophies of life, religious groups and religions and to protect the freedom of religion and other human rights.”

“Interfaith forum can promote tolerance and respect among the general public, for example by encouraging professional instruction regarding different religions, by emphasising the social value of faith, by correcting evident misstatements and counteracting prejudice and discrimination”, according to Church website.

“It is a step in the right direction,” Zed pointed out.

Rajan Zed further says that in our shared pursuit for the truth, we can learn from one another and thus can arrive nearer to the truth. This dialogue may help us vanquish the stereotypes, prejudices, caricatures, etc., passed on to us from previous generations. As dialogue brings us reciprocal enrichment, we shall be spiritually richer than before the contact.

When Iceland was constituted as a republic in year 930, it was based on the heathen religion. In the late 900s missionaries from the continent sought to spread Christianity among the population. Currently, about 82 percent of the population belongs to National Church of Iceland and the rest are divided between Evangelical Lutheran Free Churches, Roman Catholic Church, Pentecostal, Buddhists, Bahai’s, Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, etc.

National Church of Iceland (Evangelical Lutheran) has about 300 parishes nation wide and Rev. Karl Sigurbjörnsson is the Bishop of Iceland. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal. -Sampurn Media

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