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Sino-U.S. religious leaders call for dialogue, understanding among faiths, nations
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15:54, September 10, 2008

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Dozens of Chinese and American religious leaders met in Atlanta Tuesday, calling for more dialogue and mutual understanding among different faiths to promote life and maintain world stability.

"We should base (ourselves) on the common well-being of mankind, get rid of narrow-mindedness and prejudice, stick to mutual understanding and communication, mutual respect and solidarity," said Ding Changyun, vice president of the China Taoist Association, at the Chinese-American Multi-religious Dialogue event in the Mercer University.

He said it has been proved by history that religions can play a significant guiding role in individual moral cultivation and promoting family harmony and harmonious social development.

More religious efforts are required to realize human peace and social harmony, so religious communities across the world should bear the words "Friendly (and) Equality" in mind and develop extensive and in-depth exchanges and dialogue, Ding added.

Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council, told the conference that in view of the Christian spirit of "loving others like loving yourself," his religion encourages dialogue with other faiths to further understand and trust others, and then love others.

Taking Christianity and Buddhism, Jing Yin, a member of the standing committee of the Buddhist Association of China, said that despite their differences in the basic doctrines, both religions seem to be able to offer stability, values, identity recognition and a goal to the individual.

Michael Elliston from Atlanta Zen Soto Center noted that we are living in a time when the desire for peace and stability has never been stronger.

"Securing it (stability) will require an abiding appreciation of the value of life, honoring each person's unique identity and a clear grasp of the higher purpose of life," he said.

The three Chinese are among a delegation of religious leaders from China, who are on a 12-day visit to the United States at the invitation of three U.S. Christian groups, starting last Thursday.

In Atlanta, the delegation staged a forum for multi-faith religious leaders and government officials, as well as civic leaders including U.S. former President Jimmy Carter.

Delegates discussed topics on how each religious tradition seeks to inform and strengthen family relationships in the light of globalization and rapid change in modern society.

They also addressed the issue of how belief systems impact majority-minority relationships and religious freedom in China and the United States. The delegation is also scheduled to meet with U.S. lawmakers, federal government officials, academicians and media in Washington, D.C. later this week.

Dee Froeber, an organizer from North Carolina Forest Hills Baptist Church Raleigh, told Xinhua that the visit is aimed at creating understanding of religious roles in both Chinese and American societies, exploring from multiple perspectives the contribution religions can offer to society and discovering new directions and opportunities for dialogue on the status of religious freedom in the two countries.


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