Amsterdam, July 13-15, 2017
The conference "Virtuous Character: Common Values, Shared Visions" was a gathering of 26 guests from Muslim and Christian communities. It included scholars, professionals, and community leaders specializing in the study and practice of character virtues in Islam and Christianity.
This theme arises from the fact that public discourse around character development usually focuses either on public education and shared secular values, like tolerance, or on religious education and values that arise from within the faith tradition. Rare is any conversation about character virtues that are common to different religious traditions, and how it might be possible for people of different faiths to cooperate in cultivating character virtues that advance human flourishing and the common good.
This conference reflects our desire to shape a new conversation about topics of interest to both Christians and Muslims, and to support cooperative activities between the faith communities that work for the common good in our societies. We live in a time where stories of fear and mistrust between faith communities dominate the headlines. Yet this current situation provided a unique Sitz im Leben to engage both traditions in a series of conversations that builds upon recognized strengths and convictions internal to each faith.
Millions of Muslims and Christians believe our faiths have something positive to offer our broken world. Our shared belief in human dignity is based on our status as God's children; it is expressed in the relational character virtues--love, gratitude, compassion, humility, generosity, empathy, charity, forgiveness, and commitment--that are central to the moral vision of both faiths.
A series of interviews and discussions were videotaped at the conference and will be posted soon.