Educating people on the many different faiths is a goal of the Interfaith ministry.
In Newberry County, a few people have come together so that people may be encouraged to discuss different faiths along with understanding where the different faiths come from.
Retired Methodist Minister Rudy Barnes, professor and Muslim scholar Dr. Waleed El-Ansary and Retired Methodist Minister Jim Nates are discussing and comparing some of the teachings of Jesus Christ and Muhammad.
Barnes and Nates invite anyone interested in discussing this topic to their round table discussions. They have already had one this year and will have another one Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at The Blend coffee shop in Prosperity.
Barnes says that this discussion has been a project in the works over the past few years and while El-Ansary cannot attend the next discussion because of where he works, he was the one who put much work into this project.
Barnes explains that El-Ansary was instrumental in this discussion.
One discussion is planned for Thursday and more will be planned as interest accrues.
The teachings that Barnes and others will talk about comes from a lot of what Thomas Jefferson wrote about in reference to that of Jesus.
The pastors and scholar wanted to use Jefferson because of how he attempted to separate moral teachings from mystical teachings.
Moral relates to other people while mystical relates to God, Barnes explains.
“How would God have us relate to other people,” is a question that Barnes proposes.
He goes on to further say that people of other faiths may relate to the moral teachings because they are not exclusively Christian, explains Barnes.
Thomas Jefferson was probably one of the most significant of the the founding fathers when it comes to individual liberties, Barnes says who goes on to say that Jefferson considered the teachings of Jesus to be the sublimest moral code ever devised by men.
As for the Muslim scholar, El-Ansary, he has taken Jefferson’s teachings and passage of the Koran and Muhammad’s stories and come up with dialogue between Jesus and Muhammad.
The discussion will be deep but Barnes hopes for a productive, interfaith discussion on Thursday and hopes it to continue as people express interest.
So far, there are more than 20 pages of a draft of a book roughly put together up for discussion and when the book is finished on the comparison of the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad, it will be around 400 pages.