Monday, 2 December 2013

Event - Heaven on Earth

The Heaven on Earth debate took place recently as part of national Inter Faith Week 2013. The idea for this specific topic arose from discussions between Muslim and Christian faith leaders. On the day the session was delivered in partnership between Faiths in Action, Nottingham Interfaith Council and the Karimia Institute who hosted the event.

The event kicked off with a panel comprised of local Imam, a Christian minister and a Orthodox Jew. Each panel member gave a 10 minute presentation regarding the teachings/understanding of heaven according to their own scriptures i.e. the Koran, the Torah and the Bible. They detailed how the longing to bring what people experience on earth closer to experiencing Heaven was much of the motivation behind rules for living and for prayer given to believers. Following the presentations all three panel members answered questions from the audience such as:

“Why are some children born with disabilities, why do some children die early?”

“Each of you today present heaven in such a similar way that could it be possible you are all talking about the same place? “

“Why are all of the religions represented today oppressive to women, when your teachings speak of respect?”

Following the question-and-answer session the group broke into smaller groups to discuss questions including:

"There is no heaven; only what you make it on earth.’ Do you agree with this idea? If yes, why? If not, why?"

"In what way is it our responsibility to bring heaven to earth?"

"In the light of belief in heaven how should that influence the way we live on earth?"

Over 40 participants took part on the day. Comments included

“I really enjoyed this, when is the next event?”

“Good to have different viewpoints discussed, we are not all the same”

“Would like some discussion around the role and vision of Women in faith”

“Good mix of people and a thought provoking debate”

Text (slightly edited) via Faiths in Action. Dec 2013

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