In this episode, Hannah Meholick talks with Frank Fredericks, founder of World Faith, an international nonprofit based here in New York City that mobilizes religiously diverse young people to address religious violence. Frank is also an interfaith chaplain at New York University. Today we talk with Frank about how religious, economic, political, psychological – and even biological – factors contribute to a person’s propensity for violence.
World Faith’s approach to reducing violence in the world distinguishes, as Frank describes it, “two main drivers that push people to engage in violence … the first is the dehumanization of the perceived ‘other’ (that there is an ‘us’ and ‘them’ and that ‘they’ are a threat to ‘us’), and secondly, that when young people lack direction, opportunity, and purpose, they are more likely to engage in violence. Our theory of change is … if you get young people to work together, with a shared objective, that under the right conditions they humanize one another and view their communities as an extension. And secondarily, when young people see themselves making a positive difference in the local community, they feel more empowered … which reduces their likelihood of engaging in violence.”
We’d like to offer props to our underwriter, One Spirit Learning Alliance!
One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.”
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“Interfaith Matters” is hosted by Hannah Meholick, and engineered and edited by Jeff Berman. Learn more about Hannah and Jeff on our website.