Looking Back On The 2010s: The Decade In Religion

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People walk past a projection on the Old City wall in Jerusalem, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018 in a commemoration of the victims of a deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. (Dusan Vranic/AP)
People walk past a projection on the Old City wall in Jerusalem, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018 in a commemoration of the victims of a deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. (Dusan Vranic/AP)

We look at the changes and defining moments in religion over the past decade with leaders from local religious communities.


Thomas Groome, professor of theology and religious education at Boston College and past director of the Church in the 21st Century Center. He's also the author of "Faith for the Heart: A Catholic Spirituality."

Shaykh Yasir Fahmy, instructor on Muslim Studies at Harvard Divinity School.

Rabbi Claudia Kreiman, senior rabbi at Temple Beth Zion in Brookline.

Interview Highlights

On balancing the good and bad happening in our currently religious climate:

Thomas Groome: "There's nothing more life-giving than good religion, but there's nothing more dangerous than bad religion. And there's lots of both around. And I mean, these type of fundamentalist readings of the text can drive you to anything — you can prove anything. Shakespeare said it well: even the devil can cite scripture to the devil's advantage. So you can you can prove almost anything you want to prove. So [it's] tragic that so many good Christian people think that their faith is demanding,  for example, they vote for Donald Trump. I mean, that is a total false consciousness and a misunderstanding of Christian faith, and yet it happened the last election. It could happen the next election. The power of it has to be taken very seriously, not just religiously, but spiritually."

On how to counter othering among religions: 

Shaykh Yasir Fahmy: "One of the challenges that we're facing today in our social sphere, which is everything has become a simple, blunt binary of good or evil. And when we're trying to force everything into the frame of it's either purely good or purely evil, we end up losing a lot of the gray and the nuance which actually animates the reality of the world that we live in. It's not a simple world. This world is complex. We are complex beings. We are comprised of body, soul, spirit. We have deep theologies and beliefs, which are in the mind, intellectual. We have these hearts and these souls, which are the apparatus of how we feel and how we operate. We have these bodies which desire and yearn ... We live in a very unique world, especially with the technological evolution and growth and the reality of the internet. So what I would personally advocate for, for all of us who are seekers, and we're searching and we're trying to understand, is that we try to deconstruct a little bit of the forced framing of your either with me or against me. And that we have to start appreciating the complexity of all of these realities that we're facing."

Rabbi Claudia Kreiman: "Interfaith work is so important ... I was at the mosque, at [Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center] after the attack in New Zealand, and Muslim friends and Protestant friends and Catholic friends came to TBZ, to our temple, after Pittsburgh. It's really a recognition that we take religion seriously and we believe that religion has a moral value. It is very hard with this current administration ... because when we see the things that are happening around immigration, about racism, about homophobia, about so many things, our tradition would say you cannot you cannot treat human beings this way. Then we have to ask, what do we have to say for this? And that's the work.

This segment aired on December 19, 2019.

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Paris Alston Host, Consider This
Paris Alston was WBUR's host of the Consider This podcast and a former producer for Radio Boston.


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Tiziana Dearing Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.



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