The Test of Faith

“The test of faith is whether I can make space for difference. Can I recognise God’s image in someone who is not in my image, whose language, faith, ideals, are different from mine? If I cannot, then I have made God in my image instead of allowing Him to remake me in His. Can Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Confucians, Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants make space for one another in the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka, Chechnya, Kosovo and the dozens of other places in which different ethnic and religious groups exist in close proximity? Can we create a paradigm shift through which we come to recognise that we are enlarged, not diminished, by difference, just as we are enlarged, not diminished, by the six thousand languages that exist today, each with its unique sensibilities, art forms and literary expressions? This is not the cosmopolitanism of those who belong nowhere, but the deep human understanding that passes between people who, knowing how important their attachments are to them, understand how deeply someone else’s different attachments matter to them also.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 172