Provincial press releases

‘Common good, not harm, is at the heart of religions’ – Archbishop

Those who use their religion to justify harming others do it a ‘deep and damaging disservice’, the Archbishop of Wales will say in a lecture next week.

The Archbishop, John Davies, will argue that the common good of all the people in the world is at the heart of the three religions which share their origin – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

In the Harmony Interfaith Lecture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, on Monday, the Archbishop will call on religious leaders to denounce those who use religion to justify violence and destruction.

Interfaith dialogue, he will say, has to “articulate, loudly and clearly, that those who destructively interpret different expressions of religion and faith in such a way as to justify harming others, do those religions a deep and damaging disservice.  Their leaders, as well as those who research, must say this together and with a clear voice, denouncing that disservice and focussing upon the commonly held and properly noble aim of the common good.

“That aim of common good must transcend any self-centred aim designed to secure the isolated or internal flourishing of any one particular religious philosophy alone.

“This is not to assert that differences, don’t either exist or matter, but it does require us to respect them, understand them and recognise the good faith of those who believe in different ways.”

The three religions also share basic principles about caring for the natural world and the environment, Archbishop John will say. These include human rights and humanitarian concerns, ethical standards, freedom of religion and peace and justice.

“Shared principles are too easily and even wickedly hidden by the activities of those who use or pervert a religious code to achieve some form of malign supremacy over others, or who seek to further the achievement of dogmatic, deceitful, treacherous and inhumane political ends, dressed up as religious correctness.

“I hope that the Interfaith Studies initiative which the University of Wales, TSD, has so interestingly embarked upon, will further, not only academic study but also, beyond its walls, a rehabilitation and restatement of the principle of the common good as a primary and wholesome goal of religion, properly understood.”

The lecture takes place at the Founders Library at 5-6pm.

A photo of Archbishop John, at a recent interfaith dinner in Cardiff, is featured.