The creation of an inter-religious state of mind is the first fundamental condition for a better understanding between Jews, Catholics and Protestants in the U.S., was the consensus of opinion expressed after two days of discussions on the part of spokesmen of the three beliefs participating in the Seminar on Jewish-Christian Relations held at Columbia University under the auspices of the National Conference of Jews and Christians.
An extensive public campaign emphasizing the qualities in common which the three faiths have was urged as an important corollary to the work of eradicating the ignorance and prejudice which now exist. The extent of this ignorance and the manifestations of prejudice which exist were thoroughly aired in a series of three round table discussions. While the sessions were closed to the press, it is understood that they were marked by spirited debates. Considerable interest, it is understood, was attached to the Round Table Discussion on “Misrepresentations of Religious Beliefs and Practices,” in which Dr. Edmund Davison Soper, President of Ohio Wesleyan University, and Dr. David Philipson of Cincinnati, took part. At this session the misrepresentation current through the medium of the church, drama, newspaper, school and social agencies was aired. Responsibility was fixed on the agencies disseminating, either intentionally, or inadvertently, false information concerning the adherents of the several religious groups involved.
The attitude which must obtain in this country, and which the Conference must propagate, was summarized by Dr. David Philipson, in a statement issued to the Jewish Daily Bulletin, in which he stated:
“Whatever may be the attitude of modern man to the opening chapter of the Bible, as the result of critical investigation, the fact will always remain that the writer of that chapter, whoever he may have been, was possessed of the belief that man was created in the image of God, and that the whole race is descended from a primal pair. This necessitates the belief in the equality of all men as the spiritual descendants of God and the bodily descendants of that primal pair. This was the most striking way of teaching the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
“The object of the meeting we have (Continued on Page 4)
“Two hundred years ago Lessing was born. His dreamer, Nathan the Wise, which still remains one of the finest productions, sets forth the inter-religious state of mind. The question before all of us at this Conference was and is whether we have contributed to the forming of a state of mind of this kind, whether we have vision to bring this truth home. I know of no finer service in the cause of American democracy and brotherhood than this.
“Shall not we, Americans all, lay stress on the things that spell our common humanity? Shall we not aim to emphasize our God-made resemblances, and not our man-made differences? Above all things, let us cultivate the Inter-Religious State of Mind. The crucial question is: ‘Will we do it?’ “
Dr. Philipson was one of the principal speakers at the dinner last night at the Hotel Roosevelt which closed the Seminar. Others who addressed the gathering of one thousand were: Dr. E. D. Soper, President of Ohio Wesleyan University and Hon. Martin Conboy of New York. Hon. George Woodward Wickersham presided.