The Archbishop of Canterbury has said all religions and their leaders must own up to extremist activities within their faith and examine which of their traditional teachings enable extremists to commit evil.
Archbishop Justin Welby, the figurehead of the worldwide Anglican Church, told interfaith leaders in Sri Lanka that accepting responsibility is key rather than disavowing an evildoer as not a good enough follower of a religion.
Arriving in Sri Lanka last Thursday and meeting with Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim leaders, he said discussion among faiths has become more difficult in the last 30 or 40 years and in every faith, including in Christianity, extremist attitudes have grown.
“And it is the duty of every religious tradition, for its leaders to resist extremism and to teach peaceful dialogue. So, the first challenge to all of us is take responsibility,” he said.
“If a Christian does something evil, it is not for me to say ‘well they are not a real Christian’; I have to ask myself ‘what is within my faith tradition, our historic teaching that makes it easy for them to do that?’”
“The second challenge in dialogue is honesty. Dialogue is where we are honest, where we open the door of our heart and say it is this that frightens me about you or this that I disagree with you about,” he said.
“Whether Christian, Muslim Hindu, Buddhist whatever faith, society calls us to account and I believe that God calls us to account at the end of time. Have you been builders of peace or builders of pain?”