During Interfaith Week the Canary Wharf Multifaith Chaplaincy organized a panel discussion in partnership with Citi, who we are very grateful to for hosting this event. We chose the theme ‘Why God is not going away, even in the corporate world’. The inspiration for this panel discussion was an article which appeared in the Guardian Newspaper in August 2018 ‘Religion: why faith is becoming more and more popular’ by Harriet Sherwood. She began the article by saying “If you think religion belongs to the past and we live in a new age of reason, you need to check out the facts: 84% of the world’s population identifies with a religious group”. I thought if the Guardian is talking about religion then maybe its time to have the conversation within the business community.
Another influence was a World Economic Forum report which made the following comment about religion and economic life.
“Faith permeates our world, providing a moral and ethical compass for the vast majority of people. Eight in ten people worldwide still identify with a religion. Evidence shows that –beyond individual religious practice – faith is increasingly moving into the public sphere and may affect various aspects of economic and social life. More and more often, people of faith are becoming key partners in organizations aimed at tackling a varied set of global challenges – a sign of the important role of faith leaders and communities in bringing about social change.”
A positive argument for the role of faith is made against the backdrop of an often-distorted understanding of faith and religion which is the cause of much destruction, distress and pain within our world. Indeed, people with a religious faith, as the World Economic Forum has recognised do not leave their faith at home – rather it is an important part of their daily lives and indeed can be a positive influence for good.
Previous assumptions that religion was on the decline particularly in the West and in communist countries have proved not to be the case. Religion plays a significant role within today’s globalised world; this is particularly true for the Middle East, Africa and Asia where it thrives alongside economic and technical advances. Any many companies operate globally and in these countries.
We had a very lively and engaging conversation with our panelists who were: Bishop Sarah Mullally DBE, Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Dr Shaunaka Rishi Das. It was chaired by Chair: Carolanne Minashi, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at UBS.
It is our intention when permissions have been given to either post a full video of the conversation or an audible version – what this space!