Haus der Religionen – Dialog der Kulturen

Haus der Religionen - Dialog der Kulturen

Tonight Prof. Isabelle Noth, my friend and university host, brought me to a meeting of the alumni of the Theological Faculty of the university where we heard a presentation about a uniquely inter-religious and inter-cultural project in Bern. They believe that this space for many religions under one roof is unique in the world. The “Haus der Religionen” is a large building, now under construction, will offer separate spaces for worship as well as open meditation space and joint cultural gatherings including Alevi, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu faith traditions – including the Baha’is and Sikhs – together under one roof. It is not an attempt to conflate or homogenize the different traditions – different worship spaces will reflect the symbols and practices of each religious tradition. Participating groups commit to a spirit of interfaith and intercultural dialogue and mutual respect. I was reminded of the writings of Homi Bhaba, Gayatri Spivak and other postcolonial writers who emphasize the idea of “hybridity” – a coming together in which the distinctiveness of each Other is still maintained. The site will also offer intercultural and interfaith festivals, performances, and educational events. The project has already brought together representatives from the different religious organizations, and sponsored a number of events, and the project has inspired significant commitments of funding from a variety of sources. It’s an inspiring vision. For more on the project, see their web site at http://www.haus-der-religionen.ch/.

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About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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