“The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love”

Thousands gather from across the world at Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Toronto, Canada, one of the most diverse city in the world, was recently host to the seventh Parliament of the World’s Religions. The first such parliament dates to Chicago in 1893. After a century’s delay, parliaments were held again in Chicago in 1993, Cape Town (1999), Barcelona (2004), Melbourne (2009), Salt Lake City (2015), and recently in the largest city in Canada, with its theme of “The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love.”
The week long Toronto gathering, Nov. 1-7, 2018, drew more than 6000 registrants from all corners of the globe. As one would expect, there were devotees from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. But other traditions were also represented, including African Traditional, Baha’i, Indigenous, Pagan and Zoroastrian. The Toronto Parliament also hosted relatively new religions including Aumism (France), Band of Light (UK), CaoDai (Vietnam), Eckankar (USA) and Scientology (USA). The Parliament illustrated its pluralist ethos by giving space to atheist humanists. John Longhurst of The Winnipeg Free Press reported on his “sense of wonder and amazement so many people from so many places and so many religions could all gather peacefully in the same place — and no arguments about who was right or wrong broke out” The pervasive tranquility did not mean participants were naïve about the dark side of religion. In fact, there were frequent references to the killings at The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that happened just days earlier. Beyond this, participants probed the genocide against the Yazidi people of Iraq and neighbouring countries as well as the systemic brutalization of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. n

“The Promise of Inclusion,
the Power of Love”

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