Christians, Jews, Muslims: What do they have in common?
Christianity, Judaism and Islam have much in common, but you might not know it from the tone of political discussion or headlines from around the world.
This year, the Wilton Clergy Association’s annual interfaith program at Wilton Library will take a look at that with a one-session lecture entitled Common Scriptures for the Common Good: Jews, Christians and Muslims.
At 7 p.m. on March 15, a panel of local clergy moderated by the Rev. Mary Grace Williams of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church will explore what similarities there are between the three Abrahamic religions, rather than what there is to separate them.
On the panel will be Rabbi Rachel Bearman of Temple B’nai Chaim, Dr. Kareem Adeeb of the American Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies, and the Rev. Dr. Jason Coker of Wilton Baptist Church.
“Mary Grace will ask us questions, and we’ll answer them from our own perspectives, using the figure of Abraham as the commonality,” Coker told The Bulletin.
Coker believes this to be a much-needed dialogue. “In the media, there are horrific things said about Muslims in America,” he said. You’ve got the Israel-Palestine conflict, which continues to look like a Jewish-Muslim conflict.”
“I think it will be a good practice to have religious leaders from Islam, Christianity and Judaism sit down together in a public forum and talk about what, in their sacred scriptures, is shared.”
Beyond their foundations, Coker said, the three religions have interesting commonalities the average person might not be aware of.
“I don’t believe most Americans know that Islam was kind of born out of Judaism and Christianity,” Coker said. “I’m almost positive most Americans don’t know that Jesus is the second-most important figure in Islam, behind Muhammad.”
“I think that all three religions pay very close attention to charity and the treatment of they who are the most vulnerable in society,” he continued. “There are commands in all three about how you should treat widows, and orphans, and aliens — not just illegals, but each kind of foreigner.”
Admission to the lecture is free. Donations are welcome, and registration is strongly suggested. Visit www.wiltonlibrary.org/events to register.