The inter-faith world

What exactly does Blair have in mind with this ‘Faith Foundation’ thing?

We want people of one faith to be comfortable with those of another because they know what they truly believe, not what they thought they might believe.

But what if ‘people of one faith’ believe things that in fact make ‘those of another’ uncomfortable? And vice versa? And why on earth does Blair assume (as he apparently does) that that can’t and won’t be the outcome? Why does he assume that once people know what people of another ‘faith’ believe, then they will necessarily be ‘comfortable’ with them? Has he never in his whole life met or heard of someone who believed loathsome sinister vindictive murderous things? We know that’s not true – we know he’s heard of lots of people who believed such things. We know he heard of some of them on the morning of July 7 2005, for just one example. So what does he mean? What is he thinking? Is he seriously thinking that if ‘people of faith’ just hash things out for long enough, in the end everyone will be ‘comfortable’ and we’ll all get along? He can’t be – he’s not stupid. But then what is he thinking?

We cannot afford religious illiteracy. No modern company would today be ignorant of race or gender issues. The same should be true of faith.

No it shouldn’t. This is the same pie-eyed thinking that tried to treat ‘religious hatred’ as the same kind of thing as racism and sexism, but it’s not the same, it’s different, because religion is propositional while race and sex are not. Race and sex are genetic and physical while religions are sets of ideas.

We have agreed to partner the proposal initiated by the Co-Exist Foundation to establish Abraham House in London. Though expressly about the Abrahamic faiths, it will be open to those from the wider faith community. It will be a standing exhibition, library and convention centre for the inter-faith world.

Ecch. That’s as substantive as he gets in the whole speech. You keep looking for something specific about what he is actually going to teach at Yale, about what ‘faith’ is actually supposed to have to do with globalization, but all in vain. It’s a big blob of warm fuzzy well-meaning wool. Maybe his friendship with Bush isn’t so surprising after all.

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