Interreligious dialogue

Thomas

So it goes ...
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A fundamental principle of any such dialogue, in any real sense, is that it is nonsense to suggest that one religion abandon its doctrine or tenets to find common ground with another.

Thus, the quest for a 'synthetic' religion, most evident in many New Age compotes - a palatable and self-serving 'pick n mix' spirituality determined mostly by ego and sentimentalism, is metaphysically insupportable.

A Christian will never abandon the Three Persons of the Trinity in discussion with a Muslim who professes there is but One God. If he does he ceases to profess Christianity.

Likewise a Buddhist need accept that the Asiatic standpoint of an apparently non-theistic Objectivity is just one perspective, as the 'personal god' theism of a Divine Subjectivity in the West is another.

Such a dialogue can only occur when all participants accept the difference of their standpoints, and that 'degrees of difference' mark nothing more than the arc of a circle, at the centre of which lies that axis of their own and every other belief.
 
A possible addendum to such comments is that faith is ultimately a personal matter, and that the differences between faiths is as much a different between cultures - or social groups - which are perhaps merely macro-reflections of the very real diversity of belief even within any particular sphere of faith.

On the point of dialogue being a position of sharing information - I am quite agreed that is a tenable position. Of expecting people to unseat themselves from their own rocks would perhaps be not simply unwise - but also a precursor for the sort of ulterior motive that would flaw inter-faith dialogue in the first place.

There are a couple of generalisations about what should and should not be accepted by others - perhaps better to accept the positions stated and work from there? :)

Otherwise to engage people with prior expectations of their beliefs can result in little but the reinforcement of unfounded boundaries.

Personal faith is so personal that it is easy for anyone to be accused of a "pick and mix" attitude to any particular stance.

Or am I being pedantic for the sake of discussion, or else attempting a critique of language? :)

Either way, the following sentiment:
Such a dialogue can only occur when all participants accept the difference of their standpoints, and that 'degrees of difference' mark nothing more than the arc of a circle, at the centre of which lies that axis of their own and every other belief.
is certainly most agreeable.

However, perhaps an additional most salient point is that it is not the degree of difference that is ever objectionable - merely the delivery of it. I have met some very strong-minded fundamentalists - who were always such a delight of civility and politeness - that the degree of difference always came second to an overt acceptance of our common humanity.
 
This discussion happened when the forum was very young, '03 I see, and I think there are quite possibly other voices that might want to way in on this discussion and so I *BUMP*

I think I have to agree with Thomas in terms of not compromising one's own views but also lean toward Brian in that I think being unwilling to view one's own ideas from another perspective or to reflect more deeply on how seeming differences might really have more in common may construct false boundaries that get in the way of a real dialogue.
 
This quote came to mind:

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)
 
I think I have to agree with Thomas in terms of not compromising one's own views but also lean toward Brian in that I think being unwilling to view one's own ideas from another perspective or to reflect more deeply on how seeming differences might really have more in common may construct false boundaries that get in the way of a real dialogue.
Both make good points, but I believe the point most crucial then as now is this that Brian made:
"it is not the degree of difference that is ever objectionable - merely the delivery of it."
Afterall, we are not speaking of conversion, or of synthesis, we are speaking of dialogue. We do *not* have to agree in order to communicate with one another, but in order to coexist we *do* have to communicate with one another. At least, that is where I place my emphasis. :D
 
Juantoo,

I agree and I think that a big part of that is not just between the two people but between the individual and himself. If I'm inflexible in my feeling that there are no similarities between my conceptualization of the Divine and yours then I'm effectively putting a cork in the conversation that prevents a free flow of the conversation. At the same time if I want to ignore the differences, it's dishonest and misleading. I think both of those issues need to be acknowledged at the same time in interreligious dialogue.
 
It's interesting that often those whose sect or religion bears the most similarity have the most difficulty remaining objective. It's not so much the differences but the similarities that piss people off. A person who is easily identified as "other" is less of a threat than one who is perceived to be a usurper of "us" status.

Chris
 
It's interesting that often those whose sect or religion bears the most similarity have the most difficulty remaining objective. It's not so much the differences but the similarities that piss people off. A person who is easily identified as "other" is less of a threat than one who is perceived to be a usurper of "us" status.

Chris


That is an excellent observation. If the name is important because it stands for part of a person's identity, they have a bigger stake in protecting it from meanings different than their own.

Pretty understandable really, but leads to lots of hypocrisy.
 
That is an excellent observation. If the name is important because it stands for part of a person's identity, they have a bigger stake in protecting it from meanings different than their own.

Pretty understandable really, but leads to lots of hypocrisy.

I agree. A spy is far more dangerous than an overt combatant. I don't know about other religions, but there are a number of warnings in the Christian texts about being wary of false prophets, anti-Christs, and other wolves in sheep's clothing. So it really is understandable given that sort of orientation.

BTW, it's so nice to see you around Laurie! How are those gorgeous little girls of yours doing? I hope everything is going well for you all.

Chris
 
I agree. A spy is far more dangerous than an overt combatant. I don't know about other religions, but there are a number of warnings in the Christian texts about being wary of false prophets, anti-Christs, and other wolves in sheep's clothing. So it really is understandable given that sort of orientation.
Oh, that sounds kind of paranoid...we're not that bad are we? :D

Actually, I think what Thomas is pointing out is that it is an important part of respect to let other religions/traditions define themselves as we define our own beliefs.

BTW, it's so nice to see you around Laurie! How are those gorgeous little girls of yours doing? I hope everything is going well for you all.
Thank you Chris. The girls are thriving, although today the five-year-old had a stomache virus which was not fun for either of us. :(
Otherwise enjoying each day as it comes. :)
 
I'm sorry to hear you're baby isn't feeling well. It's hard for a parent when their child is sick. I trust she will be feeling better soon.

Chris
 
I'm sorry to hear you're baby isn't feeling well. It's hard for a parent when their child is sick. I trust she will be feeling better soon.

Chris


Oh, I think it is probably just a 24 hour bug, but I'll keep her home from pre-school tomorrow just in case. She was really hurting last night, and not well today, but the pay-off for her was that I let her watch movies all day. I usually have pretty strict rules about TV etc., but when they are sick they get to watch as long as they stay still and rest.
 
Actually, I think what Thomas is pointing out is that it is an important part of respect to let other religions/traditions define themselves as we define our own beliefs.
I too am sorry to hear your little one is not feeling well, I hope she gets well soon.

I took away a bit different interpretation. It seems to me Thomas was supporting the notion that a given tradition should not be watered down or diluted, and that one adhering to that tradition had every right to dig their heels in against all comers.

To which I agree.

In our recent exchange I wonder if he still felt that was a valid point. I know he did from his own side, I question whether he still felt such a point was valid from my side...

Then too, I suppose I must allow that we were merely exchanging ideas. I know for my part I withheld a great deal because it can be wrongly interpreted as being accusative and hateful. I sense he knew well where I was pointing to, and it had nothing to do with the foibles of individuals. It had everything to do with policy, history and long standing political tradition.
 
I too am sorry to hear your little one is not feeling well, I hope she gets well soon.
Thank you. She was feeling a bit better by this evening. She happens to have a Dr. appointment tomorrow anyway, so if anything is still going on we can at least get an expert opinion about it.

I took away a bit different interpretation. It seems to me Thomas was supporting the notion that a given tradition should not be watered down or diluted,
Yes, I see that in his OP too.
and that one adhering to that tradition had every right to dig their heels in against all comers.
I guess it depends on the situation, whether one really is being attacked or unduly criticized, and the tact with which one replies. I guess I prefer the phrase 'consitently clarifying ones views,' which implies reason and courtesy, to 'digging in ones heels,' which implies to me unthinking reaction and a defensive position.

To which I agree.

In our recent exchange I wonder if he still felt that was a valid point. I know he did from his own side, I question whether he still felt such a point was valid from my side...

Then too, I suppose I must allow that we were merely exchanging ideas. I know for my part I withheld a great deal because it can be wrongly interpreted as being accusative and hateful. I sense he knew well where I was pointing to, and it had nothing to do with the foibles of individuals. It had everything to do with policy, history and long standing political tradition.
I missed the exchange, so I'm not exactly sure what you mean here.
 
I took away a bit different interpretation. It seems to me Thomas was supporting the notion that a given tradition should not be watered down or diluted, and that one adhering to that tradition had every right to dig their heels in against all comers.

To which I agree.

I think our traditions mean something to us on a personal level, but when we 'dig our heels in' against all comers, or those who might hold a different position, we are essentially widening the division between us. Ones views are one's views, but when those views stir up anger, and contention, it is best to let them be, or keep them to self. [imo] That is to say, not insist that we are right, and the other is wrong. I think it is silly to do so ... dailog is fine when it is civil, and the other party is intersted in what you have to offer, but if it is all one sided, then you essentially have yourself a monologue, lol. :rolleyes:

Choose love,

James
 
I guess it depends on the situation, whether one really is being attacked or unduly criticized, and the tact with which one replies. I guess I prefer the phrase 'consitently clarifying ones views,' which implies reason and courtesy, to 'digging in ones heels,' which implies to me unthinking reaction and a defensive position.

I think our traditions mean something to us on a personal level, but when we 'dig our heels in' against all comers, or those who might hold a different position, we are essentially widening the division between us. Ones views are one's views, but when those views stir up anger, and contention, it is best to let them be, or keep them to self. [imo] That is to say, not insist that we are right, and the other is wrong. I think it is silly to do so ... dailog is fine when it is civil, and the other party is intersted in what you have to offer, but if it is all one sided, then you essentially have yourself a monologue, lol.
OK, I can see I chose a bad phrase to express my intended meaning. Perhaps "digging in our heels" has a more negative connotation I didn't consider.

I basically agree with you both. I was trying to convey the idea that a tradition would have to be worthy of defending if it is worthy of holding in the first place. One wouldn't defend some silliness quite frankly because silliness would have a difficult time being defended. So there must be some element of truth and reason behind a tradition. By digging in heels I was meaning this idea that a tradition worth having is one that is worth defending.
 
Hmmmm this bumping a thread lark....

I think I'd like to know what Thomas thinks here in 2008...

I'm happy to say that what I thought in 2003 should probably stay in 2003, but then that's just me. :)

s.
 
I second snoopy and I also encourage more thread bumping!
 
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