On Judaism's holiest day, temple hosts interfaith dialogue examining religion

Discussion looked at beliefs and actions
Posted at 8:10 PM, Oct 12, 2016

At a time when tensions across the country seem to be an all time high, many people look to religion for help. Others point to religion as the problem.

Today, on the holiest day for Jews, faith leaders gathered to look at the contrast.

From protests to keep an oil pipeline off sacred land to fires destroying places of worship, religion motivates people like almost nothing else.

“Religion too often has caused conflicts,” said Rabbi Barry Silver.

The spiritual leader of the L’Dor Va-Dor congregation in suburban Boynton Beach sees religion as a force that should unite, not divide.

So he invited faith leaders to dig into the issues at his Yom Kippur service.

“It celebrates the human capacity to change and to improve,” Silver said of the holiday’s meaning.

Topics during the discussion ranged from abortion to terrorism.

An atheist suggested holy books are outdated and encourage bad behavior.

“Every kind of social ill, you can find religion somewhere at the foundation,” said Ken Loukinen.

Muslims and Christians explained religion isn’t to blame for violence like the Orlando nightclub shooting. Instead it’s hard-liners misusing religions for their own purpose.  

“They’re haters, they’re just criminals,” said Sheikh Shafayat Mohamed.

The discussion in front of a crowd of people wearing yamakahs and fedoras circled back to one common theme:  

“It’s just to help people understand religions are more alike than unalike,” explained Shokai, a Zen Buddhist.

Rabbi Silver believes our survival depends on realizing that fact.