Interfaith Dialogue

I read a sidebar story the other day in the newspaper about a rift that had occurred in the dialogue taking place between Jews and Catholics.  Apparently the Jews got the impression that the Catholics were using the dialogue as a means of seeking the conversion of Jewish people.

The purpose of interfaith dialouge is to gain a better understanding of each others views.  It also aids in the acceptance of each other as human beings.  We also explore ways in which we can peacefully work together for common goals. 

  Some would say that in order for interfaith dialogue to be effective, all parties must accept the views of others as acceptable alternatives.  Others would recognize that we can hold conversations with people with whom we profoundly disagree, but still be rational, civil, and productive in our discussions. 

For many Christians, they consider “The Great Commission”,  the mandate of Christ to “Go into all the world and make disciples” to be their primary directive.  They take very seriously John 14:6 where Jesus says “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.”  For these types of Christians, it is a part of their nature to seek the conversion of nonbelievers.

Does that mean that we shouldn’t talk?  That the lines of communication should be closed?  That there are no areas in which we cannot cooperate as religious people, for the common good of humanity?

I don’t think so.

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