The Interfaith Alternative

Minister Steven Greenebaum calls to unite religions through our common belief in social justice.

| April 2013

  • The Interfaith Alternative
    One pastor's quest to foster a spiritual community embracing spiritual diversity.
    Cover Courtesy New Society Publishers

  • The Interfaith Alternative

The Interfaith Alternative (New Society Publishers, 2012) shows us how we can celebrate each other without fear of losing our own identity. It illuminates the path to creating a nurturing spiritual community that honors and includes all religious languages - an alternative to Jews worshiping only with Jews, Christians with Christians, and Muslims with Muslims. In doing so, Reverend Steven Greenebaum demonstrates that through coming together in a mutually supportive environment we can concentrate on our shared desire to remake the world into a compassionate, loving place. 

Given the huge success of both Christianity and Islam, their numbers and the number of countries that claim them as their faith, and given the continuation of war, greed, hunger and hate, it may be time to reevaluate the value of dogmatic belief. Nor should non-theists or Atheists feel superior. Given the inhumanity and mass murders worked by the likes of Stalin and Pol Pot (just to name a few) in the name of non-religion, dogmatic nonbelief clearly isn’t the answer either. Where, then, can we look? How might we organize ourselves? 

I have come to believe that Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Humanists and all others who share a belief in (for example) social justice as a unifying commitment to how we live our lives, have massively more in common with each other than they do with those “of their own faith” who look to other values to find meaning (such as dogma about God, or personal wealth or power or prestige). 

Consider. You wish to build a house. For some reason you work best with a hammer but are a klutz with screwdriver and saw. Yet others work better with a saw. Still others with a screwdriver. Who are your true comrades? Who are the people with whom you truly share commonality? 

Is it others, who like you work best with a hammer but unlike you wish to build casinos or luxury palaces or perhaps just to smash things? Or is your true commonality with those who, regardless of what tool they wield, wish to build homes for those who need shelter? 

Should all those who use hammers stay in one house? Should their tool be what defines them as they continually argue, not only over the best way to use hammers but why a hammer is the only true instrument for building, and how those who use other tools, however well intentioned, are at best just fooling themselves and at worst a danger to society or worse still, our children? 

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