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Interfaith Dialogue

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Some issues of different attitudes about interfaith relations and the purpose of interfaith dialogue

Some issues of different attitudes about interfaith relations and the purpose of interfaith dialogue

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  • 1. Interfaith Dialogue
      • By Bob Munson
  • 2. Communication between different religions
    • Can we talk?
    • Why should we talk?
    • How should we talk?
  • 3. Can we Talk?
    • Some would say that interfaith dialogue is simply impossible. Derek Philips believed that one may simply not be able to communicate in a meaningful way between religions. “If certain religions have enough in common, then there is a basis for discussion. If not, then the basis for such a discussion is lacking.” <Vroom, 51>
  • 4. Christians searching for a common starting point in dialogue with other religions have gone through three stages.
    • Christocentric
    • Theocentric
    • Pneumatocentric
    • <These transitions have been to seek commonality.>
  • 5.
    • Although many have drifted to Theocentric or Pneumatocentric points for discussion, Harvie Conn recommends Christocentric. He believes Christ provides a point of common interest, and a guide for dialogue.
  • 6. Why should we talk?
    • To bring people to our viewpoint?
    • To understand each other better?
    • To gain insights from each other?
    • Maybe… all three?
  • 7. How should we talk?
    • Proclamation/Preaching?
    • Instruction/Teaching?
    • Apologetics/Argument?
    • Dialogue/Discussion?
  • 8.
    • Preaching has its place. So does teaching and argument. However, Christians should become better at dialogue.
    • ---Dialogue tends to break down hindrances to conversion.
    • ---Dialogue leads to better understanding.
    • ---Dialogue leads to greater insight of each other.
  • 9. But isn’t Dialogue bad?
    • John Hick believes that dialogue means that one must switch from being confessional to being truth-seeking. (Toss aside our beliefs and seek new truths.)‏
    • But that presumes that those who are most interested in truth are those that don’t know what is true. Why assume that?
  • 10. Martin Buber’s Response
    • “ the presupposition of genuine dialogue is not that the partners agree beforehand to relativize their own convictions, but that they accept each other as persons.”
  • 11. Christ’s Guide for Interfaith Dialogue (based on Harvie Conn)‏
    • Jesus always moves the discussion from theory to practice. “The reign of God is not an abstract ideal; it is a reality actualizing itself in history.”
    • Jesus reminds us that “religion is always a mixed blessing. Jesus, after all, was fiercely opposed by many (not all) of the religious people of his day.”
  • 12. Christ’s Guide for Interfaith Dialogue (based on Harvie Cox) Part II
    • “ Jesus' example reminds us also that the search for human oneness-in-diversity in interreligious dialogue is not only a matter of making judgments; it sometimes requires refraining from judgment.”
    • Jesus guides us to “expect to find God already present in the &quot;other,&quot; including the one with whom we are in dialogue, no matter how strange or unfamiliar that other's ideas or religious practices may seem.” <Cox>
  • 13. Is there risk in dialogue?
    • Yes! Some have fallen beside the way because they fell prey to the arguments of others.
    • However, Christians have never been called to avoid all risks… certainly not risks with a high possibility of gain.
  • 14. Can learning from other religions be beneficial?
    • Peter and Cornelius describes a win-win in interfaith conversation. Cornelius left his former faith and became a Christian. However, Peter also learned a great deal from Cornelius. Being an Apostle of Christ did not mean that he had nothing to learn from a syncretistic pagan. One could even argue that Peter was, in a sense converted. He now knew that the Gospel of Christ is revealed and available to Gentiles. (Anderson, 188-190)‏
  • 15. Works Cited
    • Anderson, Norman “Christianity and World Religions: The Challenge of Pluralism”
    • Cox, Harvey. “Many Mansions or One Way? The Crisis in Interfaith Dialogue”. The Christian Century. August 17-24, 1998. p. 731-735.
    • Karkkainen, Veli-Matti. “How to Speak of the Spirit Among Religions: Trinitarian ‘Rules’ for a Pneumatological Theology of Religions.” International Bulleting of Missionary Research, Vol. 30 No. 3. p. 121-127.
    • McLaren, Brian D. Finding Faith: A Self-Discovery Guide for your Spiritual Quest. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999).
    • Vroom, Hendrick M. Religions and the Truth: Philosophical Reflections and Perspectives.