Update: I received an inquiry directly from the Claremont School, which is a very helpful email and cites what I hope is best for the school, below. Please read the comments section for clarificaiton and correction to this post.
I keep close tabs on Time magazine because I find it to be a cultural gatekeeper, one of those supposedly reputable bulwarks of good news. A week ago, they had an article entitled "Interfaith U.: A theology school's push to train pastors, rabbis, and imams under one roof."
An interfaith seminary is certainly a weird and new concept, and it's being pushed by Claremont School of Theology in California, a United Methodist Seminary. The seminary is also seeking to have Buddhist and Hindu partners. Clearly, this is a unique "innovation" of American religion.
If the seminary truly seeks to train each person seeking to lead in their faith, then it will require rigorous scholarship from all faiths. In other words, the best way this seminary could proceed is as if it's three seminaries under one roof. The worst way it could proceed, and the way I imagine it will proceed, is that each student will be required to rigorously study in the other faiths. This will result in people who aren't really trained to lead in their own faith, but they'll be appropriately sensitive to other faiths.
And over time, the school will probably become some amalgamation of all the faiths, which will develop a vague belief in a monotheistic god. In other words, the seminary will train people to believe what most Americans already believe anyway.
And to give some historical context, theological liberalism dies in America. Claremont is "innovating" because the school's enrollment is decreasing. The school's enrollment is decreasing because the seminary, as one representative seminary in a fairly liberal denomination of United Methodism, is liberal. Liberal theology dies in this country. Conservative theology thrives. That's why evangelicals are powerful political voices and liberal Christianity is a weak political voice. I could cite a dozen historical reasons why liberal theology doesn't survive, but there's a simple sociological reason: if all religions are basically the same, then why go to church?
And because Claremont seems beholden to even more liberal thought- the idea that all religions are basically the same- I suspect this will only quicken the decline of the actual Christian thought in the institution.
Hear me well: I think all people should study other faiths and always seek to listen and learn (that's partly why I'm so fierce on Islam, because I've actually read much of its scripture). But to do this in one institution seems to be a recipe for religious confusion and disaster. Seminaries should train people on their own faiths so that they can best lead people of those faiths. As a Christian pastor, I should not go to a seminary that trains me to be an Imam.