Neale: But I am curious. What would you say to people who assert that following the words of their Holy Scripture verbatim, and interpreting them literally, is the only way?
I would ask them to notice that these words were written at a different time and in a very different kind of place and circumstance. I would observe that, while these teachings were based on a firm set of principles, to now interpret their words literally, rather than seek to understand the underlying principle that they reveal, could lead, at the very least, to misunderstanding, and, in the worst case, to a loss of the original wisdom in which they were grounded.
I would invite humans to explore whether they might derive more benefit from the original teachings of all faith traditions if those teachings were contextualized within the framework of a continually evolving society.
Neale: In other words, remain open to the possibility of new interpretations that might allow us to better apply ancient wisdom to contemporary life.
Yet in the end I would say to people everywhere:
Believe as you wish, follow your heart and your soul where it leads you, but do not seek to impose your views on others—and certainly do not seek to do so by force.