Bahai News -- The News Star - Forum finds religions' similarity News Sunday, March 16, 2003 10:14 A.M.

Forum finds religions' similarity

Jean Gordon / Religion writer
Posted on March 16, 2003

Religious diversity within the Twin Cities was in full view Saturday when members of seven major religions - all local residents - talked about the origin of their faiths and whether their religions held the ultimate truth for being right with God and the world.

"The ground matter of all that exists in the universe is God," said Dr. Uma Rangaraj, a Monroe physician and a Hindu adherent.

Rangaraj was one of seven panelists at the "Forum for Peace, Friendship and Joy" on Saturday at Neville High School in Monroe. The event was led by the Eagle Vision Foundation, a group that promotes world peace through religious understanding.

Other speakers included University of Louisiana at Monroe professors Chris Johnson for the Baha'i faith, Gary Findley for Buddhism and Larry Johnson for Protestant Christianity. The panel's faith leaders included the Rev. Pat Madden for Catholicism, Dr. Mahmoud Khalil for Islam and Rabbi David Kline for Judaism.

During the discussion, each speaker was given one to three minutes to discuss their faiths' concept of heaven, hell, sin and views on other religions.

"I see all the folks up here tonight as seekers," said Larry Johnson, a ULM physics professor and a Southern Baptist. "The father of all mankind honors all seekers."

Retired teacher and writer Joyce McDonald, a West Monroe Catholic, was one of about 40 people who attended the panel.

"What surprises me is how much alike the beliefs are to the major questions," she said.

©Copyright 2003, The News Star (Monroe, LA, USA)

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