Posts Tagged ‘Dialogue’

Taken by the author at the 2009 Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne, Australia.

Choice and Safety: Required Ingredients for Interfaith Progress

Classic “contact theory” predicts that diverse societies automatically bring about tolerance. I argued against this idea here when I discussed how proximity generally exacerbates the anxiety of difference, and fails to disconfirm negative stereotypes when people see—but do not understand—their differences. If your goal is increasing tolerance and civic cooperation, it is not enough just […]

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Generalizations Are Never Defensible. Or Is This an Indefensible Generalization?

Figuring out how to talk about religion, especially in boundary crossing contexts, can be a struggle. Isn’t that part of what we are trying to do at State of Formation–figure out the how of interfaith as much as actually doing interfaith? One of my biggest struggles writing about interbelief just feels trite. Sometimes. And sometimes […]

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Interfaith Dialogue with Those Who Belong to Exclusivistic, Literalistic Religions

When I read Jenn Lindsay’s recent State of Formation blog post entitled “On Irreconcilable Differences: My Interreligious Dialogue with Mormon Missionaries” I was immediately intrigued for a number of reasons. Primary among these is that I, although no longer believing or practicing, used to be a devout Mormon. I even served a two year proselytizing […]

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Photo taken by the author at the 2009 Parliament of the World's Religions.

What Is the Unity of “Unity in Diversity”?

Notwithstanding the prizing of diversity, there IS some unified bottom line to interfaith dialogue. Nonviolent behavior is the basis for “unity in diversity.” Behavior is a category about which all parties participating in a dialogue must actually be on the same page. A behavioral covenant of nonviolence is necessary to contain and maintain an interfaith engagement, […]

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taken by the author on December 5th, 2009 at the Parliament for the Word's Religions in Melbourne, Austalia.

Romantic Distance vs. Vexing Proximity: the difficulty of real up-close interfaith encounters

My research on interreligious dialogue and engagement has reinforced an old cliché: absence makes the heart grow fonder. When two people are distant from each other, it is easy to idealize each other. It is easy to recall them enshrouded in mists and to dream of an incandescent, ecstatic reunion. It is easy to gleefully […]

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Photo taken by the author Jenn Lindsay near Piazza di Popolo in Rome.

Pluralismo Vivo: The Interfaith Roads of Rome

It’s not easy to find clear examples of “interreligious violence” in Rome. The closest thing Rome suffers to religious violence are distant shrieks from ISIS across the Mediterranean Sea about “bringing Rome to her knees.” Overt religious conflict requires a more closely balanced religious demographic—and with Italy’s current Catholic-affiliating demographic topping out at 85% (not […]

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By Sri Chinmoy.org (http://www.srichinmoy.org/interfaith) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What Can Interfaith Dialogue Really Do? Part 3 of 3

Read Part I here, and Part II here. When I ate lunch with the rabbi he inveighed against interfaith dialogue and its inability to reach or transform the minds of those who are closed to dialogue. He said, “Interfaith activists say one thing and they do another—they preach transformation and tolerance, but they are already […]

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By Sri Chinmoy.org (http://www.srichinmoy.org/interfaith) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What Can Interfaith Dialogue Really Do? Part 2 of 3

Read Part I here. At lunch after Purim, I heard the rabbi criticize interfaith projects for being “just another religious group.” I reflected on the irony of a religious clergy person dismissing the bonding function of the interfaith society. If indeed the interfaith society becomes a “religion” of its own, this is no reason to […]

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By Sri Chinmoy.org (http://www.srichinmoy.org/interfaith) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What Can Interfaith Dialogue Really Do? Part 1 of 3

After the most recent Purim morning service at my synagogue, I ate lunch with the rabbi. He told me he thinks interreligious dialogue is an in-group hobby, that interfaith groups become cliques. He felt these groups “preach to the choir,” and that people interested in dialogue are already liberal, educated, and concerned about religion. Interfaith, […]

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By unidentified [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How Do We Tolerate the Intolerant?

What do tolerant people do with the intolerant? We tolerate them. We ignore them. We insult them. We try to change them:        By explaining.        By demonstrating.        By oppressing. We rationalize their existence: People disinterested in interfaith dialogue are ignorant, uncultured, or disengaged. ISIS is not really Islamic […]

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