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Study guides on key issues

The National Council of Churches' Interfaith Relations Commission has issued a series of theological resources to guide clergy and laity through the basic issues of engagement with other faiths. Each 12-page brochure in the series can be downloaded to use for individual study and may be duplicated for group study. Titles in the series are:

New resources

Evidence doesn't support West's fear of Islam

Why the West Fears Islam: Exploration of Islam in Western Liberal Democracies by Jocelyne Cesari finds no empirical evidence for the identification of Muslims as internal and external enemies of Western democracies. The book examines the ways Muslims act as believers and as citizens. Cesari says that the West's national narratives need to be rebuilt to include Muslims and that this will require a coalition among religious actors of all faiths. ISBN #10-1403969531, ISBN #13-9789-1403969538.

Jewish scholar argues against a common heritage in Abraham

Inheriting Abraham: the Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, by Jon D. Levenson, a Jewish biblical scholar, demonstrates the distinctive role of Abraham in each of the three religions as well as points of convergence. ISBN #13-978-0691155692 and #10-0691155690.

Religion divides and unites us, according to prize-winning book

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, authored by Robert Putnam and David Campbell, addresses the unrecognized reality that America is unusually religious, unusually diverse religiously, and yet unusually tolerant.  ISBN #978-1416566717 and ISBN #978-1416566885.

Case studies provide input for seminary education in interfaith dialogue

David Roozen of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research and Presbyterian Heidi Hadsell, president of Hartford Seminary, have edited Pedagogies for Interfaith Dialogue, the core of which is six critical case studies of seminary degree-level courses in interfaith dialogue from a variety of institutions. An additional chapter written by Christy Lohr connects the cases to a broader examination of issues of interfaith dialogue in North American theological education. Order the book online or click to preview its parts.



General references

Religious mapping of the United States

Holidays / holy days of various religious communities


A Jewish perspective on interreligious relations

  • is a new web site with a wide variety of materials intended to promote interreligious and interethnic engagement, presented from a Jewish perspective.

Religious diversity journalism


Presbyterian resources

An Interfaith Toolkit

The PC(USA) web pages include a multi-page, well organized, flexible Interfaith Tool Kit that is explicitly geared toward local relationships. The kit contains “how to do it” sorts of pieces, examples of what others have done, as well as more reflective materials on interfaith relationship as an integral part of being faithful followers of Jesus Christ..

Brief brochures and resources

Other resources: practical


Other resources: theological

A Declaration of Faith, a study and liturgical resource originally prepared in the Presbyterian Church U.S. in a way that reflects upon Christian relationships with others, especially Jews. #OGA91005.

A Study of Universalism, adopted by the 112th General Assembly (1972) of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. as a study concerning both the universal and the limiting strands of biblical and theological understandings. Download.

The Crucified One Is Lord: Confessing the Uniqueness of Christ in a Pluralist Society, online; see other materials on Christology

Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, a paper prepared by the office of Theology and Worship in response to a request of the 213th General Assembly (2001) for help in understanding the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Online/English, online/Korean, online/Spanish.

Turn to the Living God, adopted by the 203rd General Assembly (1991) as policy for evangelism, including a section on people of other faiths; download in English and SpanishPDF file requires use of Adobe Reader

The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ in a Pluralist World by Christine Goodman Callison, #74-310-01-600


Resources of other organizations to which Presbyterians relate

A Call to Our Guiding Institutions, a Parliament of the World’s Religions document following its Toward a Global Ethic document. Download .PDF file requires use of Adobe Reader

A Multitude of Blessings: A Christian Approach to Religious Diversity by McCormick seminary president Cynthia M. Campbell, with an online study guide. Looks at Christian theology itself to find ways to understand the enduring existence of other religions. ISBN #10-0664229565 and #13-978-0664229566.

A Shared Vision: Religious Liberty in the 21st Century, a resource on the separation of church and state from the National Council of Churches and Jewish organizations, among others. Download.PDF file requires use of Adobe Reader

Berlin Declaration on Interreligious Dialogue, a short statement with general principles, adopted by Religions for Peace, Europe.

Changing the Present, Dreaming the Future: A Critical Moment in Interreligious Dialogue, edited by Hans Ucko, published by the World Council of Churches. Shares the highlights of a key 2005 WCC multifaith consultation, especially for experienced readers but also useful to others. ISBN 2-8254-1490-5.

Confessing Christian Faith in a Pluralist Society, a statement prepared at the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research in Collegeville by a theologically varied group of Christians who asked where they agreed with one another and where they still had questions on which they did not agree, #74-292-98-002

Creating Interfaith Community, by Marston Speight, published by the United Methodist Church with a study guide. See a review and order information in NAINews.

Current Dialogue, periodic publication of the World Council of Churches interreligious office, available online. See there the list of topics in the various issues, going back to 1997.

Dialogue and Proclamation: Reflection . . . on Interreligious Dialogue and the Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a foundational Catholic document

Diversity and Community, a short document created by Religions for Peace, U.S.A.

Ecumenical Considerations for Dialogue and Relations with People of Other Faiths, a World Council of Churches document based on thirty years' experience (ISBN # 2825413658)

Entering Into Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, a brief set of guidelines prepared by the staff of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, helpfully specific and practical

Faith in the Neighborhood series by Lucinda Mosher, beginning with Belonging (ISBN #1-59627- 010-1) and Praying: the Rituals of Faith (ISBN #1-59627-016-1), written to provide interfaith education situated in local realities

Getting to Know Neighbors of Other Faiths: A Theological Rationale for Interfaith Relationships, a fold-over bulletin insert sized brochure from the National Council of Churches, color, available for downloading and printingPDF file requires use of Adobe Reader

Grounds for Understanding: Ecumenical Resources for Responses to Religious Pluralism edited by S. Mark Heim, presents responses to the issue in various Christian traditions, from a 1994 NCC Faith and Order consultation (ISBN#0-8028-0593-0)

Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue, summarizing the original set of guidelines from the World Council of Churches. Order the brochure at PC(USA)-produced brochure at PDS #74-292-02-005.

InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook edited by Bud Heckman, with Rori Picker Neiss and other contributors. ISBN #13-978-1-59473-237-9 and ISBN #10-1-59473-237-X. Begun under the auspices of Religions for Peace, U.S.A., this book provides practical ideas. See the book's web pages for online resources. Listen to an interview ("Them and Us") with Bud Heckman on the FaithStreams Book Club.

Interfaith Dialogue, article by Wesley Ariarajah in The Ecumenical Dictionary

Interfaith Dialogue: A Catholic View by Michael L. Fitzgerald and John Borelli, ISBN # 1-57075-652-X. Looks at developments in interreligious dialogue within the Catholic Church, excluding Christian-Jewish relations and with special strength in Christian-Muslim relations; written by two knowledgeable, caring men who have been central to carrying out relationships at the Vatican and in the U.S.

Interfaith Dialogue at the Grassroots edited by Rebecca Kratz Mays. A book version of the eleven articles in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies issue 43:2, deals with interactions among the three Abrahamic religions.

Interfaith Relations and the Churches, a policy statement of the National Council of Churches of Christ, articulates an understanding of building relations with neighbors of other faiths as a dimension of Christian discipleship.  Background resources, including a study guide, are available.

Living Faithfully in the United States Today, a resource from the Institute for Ecumenical and Culture Research in Collegeville, in cooperation with the National Council of Churches and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops

Mending the World, a report within the United Church of Canada that distills its discussion about ecumenism and interfaith relations

Mission and Evangelism: An Ecumenical Affirmation, a World Council of Churches statement commended to Presbyterians by the General Assembly in 1983 which contains significant material on relating to people of other faiths, included in Statements on Mission by the World Council of Churches, 1980-2005. Download.

Nostra Aetate: . . . the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, the 1965 Catholic declaration

Religious Diversity and Interfaith Relations in a Global Age, paper read by Wesley Ariarajah a 2003 international conference a the Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Looks at globalization and religious exclusivities. PDF file requires use of Adobe Reader

Religious Plurality and Christian Self-Understanding, a paper growing out of a World Council of Churches study process and made available for discussion and debate, though not yet representing an agreed WCC viewpoint.

Resources in the Reformed Tradition for Responding to Religious Plurality by Jay T. Rock, a chapter in Mark Heim, Grounds for Understanding: Ecumenical Resources for Responses to Religious Pluralism. Prepared by the National Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission in cooperation with the NCC Interfaith Relations Commission, with other chapters on a variety of other Christian traditions as they approach religious plurality. ISBN #10-0802805930 and ISBN #13-978-0802805935.

Three Faiths, One God: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, PBS video looking at beliefs and practices that are shared and that are distinctive. Can be purchased with public performance rights from the National Council of Churches.

Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration, a statement from the Parliament of the World’s Religions PDF file requires use of Adobe Reader

National Council of Churches interreligious resources, including Christians and the Holocaust, Concerning Means and Ends: the Writings of Byron Lee Haines (from the pen of a now-deceased Presbyterian pioneer in Christian-Muslim relations), bibliographies, and videos

Interfaith Relations Newsletter, National Council of Churches, August 2006 (edited by Shanta Premawardhana speaking in the first person) PDF file requires use of Adobe Reader

World Council of Churches interreligious publications, including ecumenical guidelines for dialogue and specific ecumenical guidelines for dialogue with Jews and with Muslims


Other resources

A good general source for audio-visual materials is the Hartley Film Foundation, which produces and distributes documentaries and audios on world religions, spirituality, and ethics. Browse its web site.

Building the Interfaith Youth Movement: Beyond Dialogue to Action, Eboo Patel and Patrice Brodeur, editors [Rowman & Littlefield, 2006]. Contributions include program descriptions written by their founders and leaders, plus theory and methodology. Order from a bookseller as ISBN 0742550672.

Christianity and Human Rights edited by Frances Adeney and Arvind Sharma, ISBN #10-0791469522 and 13-978-0791469521. A wide-ranging look at the ambiguous relationship of Christianity and human rights, viewed both by academicians and activists, with special attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World's Religions. Contributors include Terry Muck on interreligious dialogue and human rights and Margaret O. Thomas on the right to change one's religion, David Little, Max Stackhouse, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Sumner Twiss.

Diversity Series: Religions, Cultures and Communities, prepared by the Chicago Police Department on various communities present in Chicago. Viewable online.

Festival of Faiths Handbook, the Cathedral Heritage Foundation (Louisville, Ky.). A how-to guide for others who want to use the Louisville model. DownloadPDF file requires use of Adobe Reader See the report on this program by the Pluralism Project.

 Fostering Dialogue Across Divides: A Nuts and Bolts Guide, Public Conversations Project, intended for both experienced and novice facilitators of dialogue between parties in conflict. Can be ordered or downloaded.

Guidelines for Inter Faith Encounter in the Churches of the Porvoo Communion, a page of guidelines adopted in 2003 for the Porvoo Communion, a grouping of Anglican and northern European Lutheran churches.

Guidelines on Multifaith Thematic Ritual by Joyce Manson. She says, “I am not an advocate of using Christian words or orders of worship to describe what others do but rather propose to let others together with us bring what each offers, expecting respectful listening for understanding. National holidays and social themes lend themselves to multifaith thematic ritual.” She asks $2.00 to send her paper. Contact her to get her address.

How to Be a Perfect Stranger: the Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook edited by S.M. Matlins and A.J. Magida. Fourth edition, updated and revised, SkyLight Paths. Information needed before a visit. ISBN-13: 978-1-59473-140-2 and ISBN-10: 1-59473-140-3. (Note that Matlins has also published The Perfect Stranger’s Guide to Weddings and The Perfect Stranger’s Guide to Funerals and Grieving Practices.)

In Good and Generous Faith: Christian Responses to Religious Pluralism by Kenneth Cracknell, Pilgrim Press, 2006. Deals with salvation, Christology, the spirituality of religious pluralism, an ethic of friendship, witness through dialogue.ISBN 0829817212.

Interreligious Dialogue and Evangelism by Terry Muck, published in Buddhist-Christian Studies

Is There Common Ground Among Religions? by Terry Muck, published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Lausanne Documents from the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, significant records of consultations by evangelicals from around the world who give attention to the issues of the particularity and culture of various peoples.

Meet Your Neighbors: Interfaith FACTS, published by Faith Communities Today (FACT), a congregational studies research program administered at Hartford Seminary. A comparison of beliefs, practices, and vitality across Christian, Jewish, and Muslims congregations in America. Downloadable PDF file requires use of Adobe Reader or available for purchase.

On Common Ground: World Religions in America, third edition, produced by the Pluralism Project as a CD-ROM compatible with Windows only. A significantly less expensive, improved and updated version of an award-winning 1997 first edition, complete with active links to the web. Sample essays and an order form available online.

Online Interfaith Resource Guides (2006), a Pluralism Project research report. Provides a selected list of valuable resources for training, educational and discussion events, creating guidelines.

Religion in American Public Life: Living with Our Deepest Differences, by Azizah al-Hibri, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Charles C. Haynes, Martin Marty. Intended to stimulate discussion and provoke independent thinking; recommended by the PC(USA) and Public Education book list. ISBN #10- 0393322068.

Religious Tolerance in World Religions, ed. Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton. Examines roots and ranges of tolerance/ intolerance in Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, both within each tradition and between traditions. ISBN #10-1599471361 and ISBN #13-978-1599471365.

Suggested Guidelines for Public Prayer, from the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance, available online

Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America's Sacred Ground, Barbara McGraw and Jo Renee Formicola, eds. Looks at the nature of the dialogue needed in forums supportive of a multireligious democratic nation. ISBN #10-1932792333 and ISBN #13- 978-1932792331 and available as an e-book.

The Dialogue Decalogue: Groundrules for Interreligious, Intercultural Dialogue, by Leonard Swidler, a widely distributed short piece first published in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies in 1983

The Gift of Responsibility: The Promise of Dialogue Among Christians, Jews and Muslims by Lewis Mudge. Mudge's last book asks if the three religions can make a contribution to the well-being of humanity amidst global economic problems, environmental degradation, and religiously legitimated violence. ISBN #10-0-8264-2839-8 and ISBN #13-978-0-8264-2839-4.

The Youth in Religion Project, funded by the Lilly Endowment at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Its web site has papers and modules on the ways religious institutions of various faith traditions serve 8-30 year old Americans in changing times.

What Do Our Neighbors Believe? Questions and Answers on Judaism, Christianity, Islam, by Howard Greenstein, Kendra Hotz, and John Kaltner, a new Westminster John Knox Press book that asks questions about key issues of our time. ISBN #10- 0664230652 and ISBN #13- 978-0664230654.

Without Buddha I could not be a Christian by Paul Knitter examines the internal dialogue of "double belonging" experienced as he has encountered Buddhist practices and continued to struggle with Christian faith. ISBN #10-1851686738 and ISBN #13-978-1851686735.

You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right by Brad Hirschfield. A thoughtful look at how the things that make us different also make us alike in both religious and secular life. See a discussion guide to accompany the book, available online. ISBN #10- 0307382974 and ISBN #13- 978-0307382979.


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