How do you go about maintaining the seriousness and holiness of your faith, while at the same time freely recognizing the unbeliever in his opposite point of view?
Tolerance of those, who hold beliefs different from ours, constitutes the basic belief of many religions. However, we find ourselves at the beginning of the 21st century embroiled in numerous violent conflicts, the opposing parties of which distinguish themselves based on the category of religious affiliation. Sunnis are fighting against Shiites; Christians are persecuted in Islamic countries, and, in Germany, a variety of pro-Palestinian groups are showing their support for the hate against Jews. With unexpected urgency, the path of tolerance has again become a massive challenge of the religions in our society and the world. The manner, in which we respond to this challenge, will have a huge influence on the future of the religions themselves. It will determine their relationship with each other as well as the role and acceptance of religion in itself in relation to the secular forces of modern society.
Stelae create learning centers of religious tolerance
Dialog and the meeting of religions pave the way for tolerance. There are so many traditions and myths that we know in common, which have only gone different ways in the various religions. The story of Abraham is an example of the relationship of the three monotheistic religions.
The Stelae for Tolerance Network supports the building of intellectual and learning centers of interreligious dialog. With their strong esthetic effect, our stelae constitute the symbolic crystallization point of thinking and learning processes at flashpoints in the struggle for interreligious tolerance. With exhibitions, seminars, pupil projects, and lectures, we are making our peculiar contribution to this dialog. With partners from different religious institutions, we want to create places, content, and relationships for an extensive network of tolerance in religion.
Important projects of the Stelae for Tolerance Network in the interreligious sphere:
- “Netzwerk der Toleranz” exhibition in November 2013 in the Marktkirche, Wiesbaden.
- Stelae in Kfar Saba/Tel Aviv, Israel (2012)
- Stela in Beit Jala/Bethlehem, Palestine. (2012)
- Stela in Wiesbaden-Biebrich (2010). It stands on the location of the entrance of the synagogue that was destroyed during Crystal Night. Today, a building belonging to the Turkish Youth and Cultural Association is located there.
- Lecture series »Toleranz vor Augen« (2008 and 2009) in the ruins of the Werner chapel in Bacharach. Prominent personalities from the spheres of politics and science dealt with the topic of tolerance and freedom in the humanistic tradition. The series took place within the framework of artist’s Karl-Martin Hartmann’s glass installation “Das Fenster” that lasted three years. The ruin is a memorial to Christian intolerance towards people of other faiths.