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That’s right, the Parliament of the World’s Religions…transcends.

Today is day five of the seven-day Parliament of the World’s Religions, an event held every five years in a major international city. The current parliament is being held in Melbourne, Australia. It has brought together around 10,000 religious adherants and leaders from more than 80 countries to discuss religion, religious understanding, diversity, and more.

How did all this start?

The first Parliament of the World’s Religions was held in conjunction with the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. This parliament was the first of its kind to bring together leaders and followers from the world’s religions to talk peace. At that meeting, the Baha’i faith was mentioned for the first time in the United States – and Americans got a crash course in Hinduism from Swami Vivekananda.

Learn more about the first parliament and its speakers online.

What are they talking about?

At each parliament, members of various religions are called to understand and respect one another’s differences. The event also challenges them to work through conflicts, extremism, and diversity issues and fosters peace, understanding, and dialogue — and otherwise “transcending” the muck, if you will.

In particular, they consider everything from global poverty and global warming to artistic expression and education of the young. This year’s topics include:

• Healing the Earth with Care and Concern
• Reconciling with the Indigenous Peoples
• Overcoming Poverty in a Patriarchal World
• Creating Social Cohesion in Village and City
• Sharing Wisdom in Search for Inner Peace
• Securing Food and Water for All People
• Building Peace in Pursuit of Justice

There’s quite a diversity of responses at these forums. You’d kind of expect it from Australia, which is home to all five major world religions along with smaller faith movements like Baha’i and Sikhism and even Aboriginal spiritualities.

Want more?

View photos, videos, and news bits from the event.

Check out today’s list of events.

View tweets from the parliament.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2009

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