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A Single Nuclear Family

I am convinced that in the present emergency we need religion more than ever. We need to know that we live not only in the material world, with its enormous challenges that we are responsible to deal with, but also in the liminal, imaginative world of the spirit that can give us support, vision, and strength . . . We need a postreligious religion: one that is deeply engaging, experiential, tolerant, and shareable, and that emphasizes above all loving-kindness and compassion. I am no fan of fundamentalism, but we may need to considerr the possibility that the fundamentalists are right in their belief that religion needs to be not only at the center of of individual lives, a personal private matter, but also at the center of our social lives as well. What would that nean in a country — and now, more and more, in a world — so multicultural that it’s not unusual for several religions (or no religion at all) to be represented in a single nuclear family? It would mean a way of understanding our religious life that references our feeling and behavior more than it references God, doctrine, identity, or belief. It would mean we’d need much more interrelgious dialogue and education, and new forms of religious practice, including practices that could be shared by people of different religions. And it would mean we would have to do something that is as difficult as it is crucial to our survival: talk to one another peacefully and honestly about what matters to us most.

Norman Fischer
from When You Greet Me I Bow

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