The premise of The Gift of Responsibility is that the fundamental, overarching commonality among the three major monotheistic religions should unite rather than separate them. By dealing with the often overlooked shared aims of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, rather than with their obvious differences, Lewis S. Mudge, professor emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary, presents a sophisticated yet practical approach to bridging the three religions.
Mudge asserts that old-fashioned “European diplomacy” has benefits but also limitations. He suggests using a different paradigm, approaching the issue from the point of view of religion. Until now, religion has been a wedge separating the parties; Mudge thinks that with proper intervention it can be a unifying force instead. The material is there, he says; the teaching and the texts exist; it is only the focus that is lacking.
The problem with this approach is the problem with all theoretical solutions — they do not take reality into account. Religions could certainly be the force of peace in the world were they to be practiced in a vacuum and were religious leaders to be believers, not exploiters, of religious teaching. If only that were the case.