Interreligious Dialogue Presentation


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This is a presentation done for a PhD class on a particular book we were asked to read. This is a fraction of the material covered and discussed. Copyrights are due to the respective authors and or publishers.

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Interreligious Dialogue Presentation

  1. 1. Interfaith Dialogue: A Catholic View <ul><li>Part III </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation by Michael McGravey </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate Student, Duquesne University </li></ul>
  2. 2. Mary as a sign: Islam <ul><li>N. A. - Islam honors Mary, the Virgin Mother, and at times invokes her name. </li></ul><ul><li>Together with Jesus, according to the Quran, she is regarded as the whole of humanity (153). </li></ul><ul><li>Mary is presented along “a long line of figures presented as models.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mary is in fact mentioned by name 34 times in the Qur’an, the only woman to have this privilege.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ the story of Mary and the virginal birth of Jesus must have been well known” in antiquity and the Middle East (153). </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The spirit in the Qur’an who comes to Mary, will be translated as the angel, Gabriel </li></ul><ul><li>“ Jesus himself is said to be not only God’s word which He cast into Mary, but also a Spirit from God” (154). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mary and her son ... are made ‘a Sign’” (154). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mary and Jesus are not each of them a sign, but rather form together a single sign. It is ‘for all peoples’” (154). </li></ul>
  4. 4. Qu’ran and Mary <ul><li>Sura 19.16-21 </li></ul><ul><li>17. ‘...and [Our angel] appeared before her as a man’ </li></ul><ul><li>20. She said: ‘How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?’ </li></ul><ul><li>21. He said: ‘So: thy Lord saith, “That is easy for Me: and to appoint him as a sign unto men and a mercy from Us”: it is a matter declared.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel Comparisons: </li></ul><ul><li>“ And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you’” (Lk. 1:26) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’” (Lk. 1:34) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you” (Lk. 1:35) </li></ul><ul><li>“ ...‘For nothing will be impossible with God’” (Lk. 1:37) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Similarly, Mary will withdraw from her family (the Qu’ran says to the East). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mir Ahmed Ali suggests that this east is in reference to “the easter part of the synagogue” or “a house of prayer on the eastern side of Jerusalem” (155). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yusuf Ali writes that “Mary went ‘to a private eastern chamber, perhaps in the Temple’” (155). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The point being, Mary withdraws from her family, from her neighbors, just as is written in the biblical text. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Jesus - “refers to himself as Son of Man” in the Gospel, “and there are obvious echoes of the Suffering Servant” (157). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Here the choice of the name ‘servant of God’ is in contrast to the Christian claim that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus, for Muslims, is a prophet, and nothing but a prophet” (157). </li></ul><ul><li>There is no mention of the sacrifice upon the cross, nor would Muslims accept the cross as a redemptive or salvific act. </li></ul><ul><li>The Muslims stress this point, according to sura 23.50: “We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign” (157). Together, they are accepted as this sign. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>“ Indeed, for Islam, Jesus and Mary are united in the single sign of God’s creative power” (158). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sura 19: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>.34: “Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: it is a statement of truth, about which they vainly dispute.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>.35: “It is not befitting to (the majesty of God) that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, he only says to it ‘Be,’ and it is.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The authors note that Jesus remains a sign of contention between Muslims and Christians, and also among Christians themselves. They suggest that it is necessary that ecumenical dialogue take place in order to present a “united witness to Jesus” (159). </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>How can Christians/Catholics and Muslims use this common theological figure, that is Mary, to dialogue with one another? </li></ul><ul><li>What common attributes can be found within the Christian/Catholic depiction of Mary and Jesus, and the Muslim tradition? </li></ul>Questions:
  9. 9. Monotheistic Religions <ul><li>Wrong to think that Muslims, Christians, and Jews worship different gods. Lumen Gentium (16) articulates that these three religions worship the same God. </li></ul><ul><li>Each religious tradition expresses this monotheistic faith: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Judaism & the Shema : “Listen, Israel, I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no gods except me.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Christianity & Credo in unum Deum: I believe in one God. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Islam & shahada : “There is no divinity except God” (163). </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>The tension between Christians and Islam: the incarnation & the trinity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For Christians: God becomes incarnate. It is through this incarnation that the trinitarian nature comes to be known. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ For Muslims, such a trinitarian concept would seem to destroy the essential oneness of God. Moreover God’s transcendence would exclude the possibility of incarnation” (163). </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Christianity - did not start out to be a new religion </li></ul><ul><li>Islam - realized that neither Judaism or Christianity, and its adherents, would not accept the message of the Qu’ran. </li></ul><ul><li>The 3 traditions: must coexist, “leaving it to God to resolve their differences in his own good time” (164). </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>What is most evident is that there is a shared monotheism. There is no “sort of dualistic vision of the world” (164). </li></ul><ul><li>This also means, as the authors point out, that there is the avoidance of polytheism between the two religions. </li></ul><ul><li>Both the Qu’ran and the Old Testament offer examples of how God’s superiority trumps that of other polytheistic traditions (i.e, Baal and Abraham’s family idols) (165). </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Witness to the one God: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both faiths are called to witness to God </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ In the Christian tradition, the good news of the Kingdom preached by Jesus, is destined to be ‘proclaimed to the whole world as a witness to all nations (Mt. 24:14)” (166). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ In Islam the profession of faith takes the form of witness, but the witness of human beings is founded on divine witness” (166)* </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Shared responsibility of human beings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Humans are not “pawns on the divine chess-board” (167). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It is our duty to cooperate with the Spirit of God, to work so that the kingdom of God may come” (167). </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Service to humanity, based on 1999 interreligious dialogue meeting: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A series of final statements were made to address common concerns within the modern world. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Further, those gathered recognized the necessity for interreligious collaboration (168). </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>“ Conditions for true dialogue” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To have “an open mind and a welcoming spirit” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People should be allowed to question </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The automatic suspicion needs to be cast aside in favor of impartiality (168). </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialogue should be seen as a way to overcome suspicion and stereotypes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand that God is the only truth, and therefore, put aside the impulse to declare one faith as more truthful to that of another (169)*. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Jewish Fundamentalism <ul><li>Two Examples Presented: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gush Emunim: “the Bloc of the Faithful” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Haredim: “the ultra Orthodox Jews” </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Gush Emunim : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed out of the 60 Days War (1967-8) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Desires the establishment of the State of Israel, as described in the Old Testament </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attempts to work politically, by forcing the hand of the government. Rebellious in building in the ‘Territories’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Radical in 3 Ways: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1. Expansion of the Land of Israel </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2. Opposes secularism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3. Judaism is synonymous with nationalism, and therefore Zionism. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Haredim : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Took shape after WWII where Jews moved from the USSR to Israel and the USA. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The present state of Israel is illegitimate” (173). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secular Zionism is also rejected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Haredim tend to be apolitical , though they can yield some political power as a group. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Hinduism: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vishwa Hindu Panishad & Bharatiya Janata Party -- both aim to apply the nature of nationalism with the individuals’ religious sentiments (174). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These are reactions to Nehruvian secularism which would allow other religions to coexist alongside Hinduism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They recognize Hinduism as the “cultural cement” of India (174). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religion, then, becomes the subject of politics. The rich maintain wealth, while the poor grow poorer. </li></ul></ul>(Eastern) Religious Fundamentalism
  21. 21. <ul><li>Sikh Fundamentalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[This is the first time in the text the authors grant significant space to Sikhism] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fundamentalism is a response and defense mechanism (174). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historically, had their own homeland, but were defeated by the British. Hindus do not accept them as another faith, in large part, and hence, the desire for some Sikh’s to have a land of their own. Fundamentalism is the result. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not all Sikh’s agree with violent methods of fundamentalists, despite their long history of suffering (175). </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Traditional Sikh Homeland </li></ul>Punjab
  23. 23. <ul><li>Buddhist Fundamentalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yukako Matsuoka: “if the term fundamentalism can be used at all in Buddhism, it might apply only to parts of Theravada Buddhism” (175). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Sri Lanka </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anagarika Dharmapala: teachings state that the west is largely immoral </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This leader’s approach, however, was to adopt the approach of Christian missionaries </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Theravada & Mahayana </li></ul><ul><li>Expansion through Asia </li></ul>Buddhism
  25. 25. Thomas Merton
  26. 26. <ul><li>Borelli offers a number of examples in which dialogue has been shared between Catholic monastics and Buddhists monks and nuns. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thomas Merton: 1968 journey to Asia and his experience with the Dalai Lama. He states he believes they had becomes friends and shared a common spiritual bond (195). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1996, Gethsemani Abbey (Kentucky): Trappist monks and the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama affirms his bond with Merton </li></ul></ul>Buddhist & Catholic Dialogue
  27. 27. <ul><li>Paul VI 1963: “the Catholic religion holds in just regard all that which in them is true, good, and human” (196). </li></ul><ul><li>VII: Only one statement about Buddhists: Nostra Aetate 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Pope Paul VI: 1978 visit to Japan and dialogue with Buddhist monks, and other religious people. His legacy would continue in the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>U.S.A. and Buddhists: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1840s: “first sizeable group of practicing” Buddhists, in the Chinese immigrants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 1860: 1/10 of California’s population was Buddhist. They would soon move to other states. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Japanese at the start of the twentieth century. In 1942, following Roosevelt’s Exec. Order 60% of Japanese in internment camps declared themselves to be Buddhist. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Under Johnson admin.: U.S. saw increase in number of Buddhists because of conflicts throughout Asia </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>1973: Cardinal Serio Pignedoli writes to Abbot Primate Weakland. Request: to examine how Catholic monastics can serve as a bridge to eastern religions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1977: two Catholic groups meet in USA and Belgium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>c. 1977: Buddhists of Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO, are asked to initiate programs for interreligious dialogue. In 1980, they invite Catholic monastics to participate in a series of conferences (199). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1981: Dalai Lama participates in first Naropa Conference. Dalai Lama and Catholic monastics agree to exchange of monks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This was the start of several conferences and meetings that would take place between American Catholic monastics and other Buddhist groups. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>1996: Gethsemani Encounter: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>50 participants: 1/2 Catholic, 1/2 Buddhists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussed prayer and community life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Psalms were offered as common prayer, to which one Jewish convert to Buddhism, noted his deeper understanding of the words at that moment. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resulted in further discussions, meetings, prayer groups, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There were also tense moments: particularly surrounding one Buddhist’s questioning of the crucifix present in each room. </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>After Gethsemani: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Continued Catholic-Buddhist dialogue. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The publication of Dialogue and Proclamation (1991) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2000: Conference in California: “Purity of Heart and Contemplation”* (207) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dialogue between Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists, Chinese </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They published a document on the groups reflections </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second Gethsemani Encounter in 2002, with 50 participants. No one was able to travel from abroad. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The result was an examination of suffering </li></ul></ul></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>“ Monastic life in the USA, Buddhist or Catholic, has felt the effects of dialogue. Principally, it seems, monastic life now includes a charism for interreligious dialogue” (210). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Theological reflection is not simply an exercise of the mind, although clarity, logic, accuracy and consistency are important. Theological reflection arises from practice, which is as much discipline as study” (210). </li></ul>
  33. 34. “ Christ in the religions” <ul><li>Jesus the Jew: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Jesus was a perfect man, a perfect Jew, but he does not embody the fulfillment of the Jewish religion; he was a man of faith, but not an object of faith; he was a messianic man, but he is not the Messiah whom the Jews still await” (221). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jesus is something special, but not regarded equally between Jews and Christians </li></ul></ul>
  34. 35. <ul><li>Jesus for Islam: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jesus is specifically named 25 times in the Qur’an and the term Messiah appears 11 times (221). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Christians are able to relate to the Qur’an’s image of Christ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ In the Qur’an Jesus in fact reject the attribution to himself of divinity. He presents himself as the servant of God” (222). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is no mention of the cross or resurrection within the Qur’an. “Thus any salvific value of Jesus’ life is denied. In Islam, God has no need of a mediator” (222). </li></ul></ul>
  35. 36. <ul><li>The Qur’an does not equate Jesus to that of Savior or God incarnate. </li></ul><ul><li>Rather, the presentation of Jesus seems to be more like an angel. </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus is exalted, however, as a prophet above others, and as such, is taken into the presence of God (223). </li></ul>
  36. 37. <ul><li>Hindus and Jesus: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Three Different Attitudes: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1. Admiration of Jesus, although rejection of the Church </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2. Hindus could commit to Jesus’ message, within the walls of Hinduism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3. Acceptance of Jesus and Baptism, but remain critical of the Church </li></ul></ul></ul>
  37. 39. <ul><li>Ghandi and Jesus: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ He admired Jesus but not the Christians. In common with many Hindus, Ghandi had no difficulty in recognizing the divinity of Jesus, but as one of the incarnations of God and not as someone unique” (224). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ He said: ‘I consider Jesus Christ as one of the great masters of humanity but not as the only Son of God.’” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ He was struck by the teaching of the gospel, and in particular that of the Beatitudes. For him Jesus became a model of ethical behavior, but of a symbolic nature” (224). </li></ul></ul>
  38. 40. <ul><li>Christians can see value in the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, in relationship to the teachings of Jesus. </li></ul>
  39. 42. <ul><li>Buddhism & Jesus: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is no explicit faith in God </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buddhadasa (Theravada Buddhism): “presents Christ as the Redeemer. Jesus, sacrificing himself, wished to free the people from ignorance and blindness” (226). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>He “speaks of the compassion of Christ” which allows each “person to become reconciled with their self” (226). </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ He speaks of love as the central element of Christ’s message, a love that takes its origin not from the person of Christ but from God” (226). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  40. 43. <ul><li>The Dalai Lama </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less philosophical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In reflection of his journey to Lourdes, the Dalai Lama saw value in how people can attach to the experience associated with this respected place. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ [the Dalai Lama] does not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, but he does accept that the life of Jesus influences millions of persons and brings about their liberation” (227). </li></ul></ul>