Interfaith Dialogue

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by Botolph, May 19, 2016.

  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    We have an upcoming Interfaith Dialogue, with The Anglican Bishop, the Catholic (Latin) Bishop, and two Moslem Sheikhs and Bright Islamic Academic.

    The theme is Peace - personally and religiously. All questions have to be submitted before hand.

    I have posed this question:
    I am probably in about seven minds on the value of such events, and in the end it is happening and the Anglicans are hosting it this time, so I want to be positive.

    I would be interested in, and hopefully helped by, what other people in this forum think.
     
  2. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Is it entirely accurate though to refer to interfaith dialogues as religious pluralism? Please advise if I'm misinterpreting the question.
     
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Hi Zimkhitha

    Religious Pluralism does not need to imply or exclude Religious Pluralism. In the context of the world in which we live, I am asking a question about religious pluralism, that we might find out what different people think and why, and I have couched it carefully in a solid historic context, which also suggests that religious faith communities do have a responsibility to the secular authorities. As an Australian, when our constitution enshrines some form of religious pluralism, (Though I suspect those who drafted it were thinking in terms of christian denominations). Hope that makes sense.

    I remain very interested in what others think.
     
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  4. CWJ

    CWJ Active Member

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    Personally, I can't imagine that St. Paul, St. Peter or any of the apostles would have participated in such dialogue with non-Christians. Or for that matter would Cranmer, Luther, Calvin? Or how about the Church Fathers?
    I just don't think they would've approved of interfaith dialogue.

    I'm all for inter-Christian dialogue for mutual understanding of each other, however.
     
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  5. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Re Interfaith Dialogue, when Mohammad fled Arabia in peril of his life, he had talks with and was given sanctuary by the Christian King of Ethiopia. Interfaith dialogue is not a new idea
     
  6. CWJ

    CWJ Active Member

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    Yeah I was thinking more of "pluralism" I guess, rather than being treated well, protected or given refuge by those of other faiths, which is definitely a good thing :)
    Christians should always be respectful of everyone. Peacemakers. But still, evangelism is important. And indeed can be done as much by example of deeds as by words alone.
     
  7. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    I also understand it in a similar way and also to demystify other faiths. Sometimes the lack of understanding can be a stumbling block to evangelization. I'm not certain though if too much time or resources are worth spending on interfaith dialogues.
     
  8. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Interfaith dialogue will be essential for world peace. Clergy of all faiths have a wonderful opportunity to assist in the achievement of world peace. In reality we all share in Gods religion but simply have different ways of representing it
     
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  9. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    There has at all times been interfaith dialogue. Literally in all eras of human history... I don't see why there is a need to give it a special name or give it notice in anyway
     
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  10. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Thank you people for some thoughtful response. I tend to concur with Spherelink. On the day of Pentecost it was into the world of a million voices that the Apostles tumbled. In a sense though, I don't know that I would have called this Interfaith Dialogue. I think part of the rub about Interfaith Dialogue is that we should be looking for the common ground, not simply for that which sets us apart. None the less I think we need to be honest about what we believe sets us apart.

    I have just had a email to advise me that my question will be asked in the context of the interfaith dialogue, so I look forward (in part at least) to hearing what they have to say in answer.
     
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  11. Madeline

    Madeline Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful, and I hope you will post a follow-up here. We struggle with similar issues. Best wishes for a fruitful event!
     
  12. Andy

    Andy Member Anglican

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    I'm all for facilitating interfaith discussions for the purpose of the enlightenment, debate and, God willing, even indirect/direct evangelism, but the Gospel must never be compromised in such discussions, should any aspect of it come up.

    There is always such a great danger of being seen to condone and even to support the false beliefs of other religions, either out of ignorance or for fear of causing offense. When that happens, all is for nought. The discussion just becomes yet another politically correct conversation and no-one benefits at all.
     
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  13. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Which religious beliefs are false, and how can you be totally sure they're completely false?
     
  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    As Christians we try to be honest, kind, and helpful - all at the same time. It is possible to be honest without being kind or helpful. Being kind and helpful without being honest may well be neither kind nor helpful. This leads us to Pilate's question - What is Truth?

    For some Truth is an Objective Reality, a Moral Absolute, or a Empirical Fact. Truth in a Faith Perspective is rather more complex. If there is no possibility of doubt, then it is simply a matter of science. Objectivity in Faith is a Subjective Possibility - just out of reach.

    And the dynamic tension happens when we consider Jesus great statement ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' (John 14.6 for the chapter and verse people). And then in Romans the sainted apostle to the gentiles writes 'They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.' (Romans 2:15-16).

    I am not insecure in Christ, and the thing about interfaith dialogue is that I do want to understand, and to be understood. Christians throughout our history have done many good things and some very bad things. The same can be said for the followers of the Prophet. And it is not all ancient history, for it seems still to be going on today. We need to know that there is a difference between the struggle for hearts and minds, and the struggle for Kingdom, Empire, Power or Caliphate.

    My Dear Baha'i friend, science tells us we live in an expanding universe yet has no idea where the centre is, or where the edges are. I think there is something of the like of a many faceted diamond showing many lights and hues. All of us can learn from the other. The great moments of the Birth of Jesus and the Crucifixion of Jesus remind us that it is in God's absolute vulnerability that we are caught and captured in his love.
     
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  15. Andy

    Andy Member Anglican

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    For me, based upon multiple readings of the Bible, listening to multiple and various expositions of the Bible, witnessing the changes that have been wrought in my life, witnessing the changes that I have seen wrought in the lives of others, reading about the lives and experiences of Christians throughout history and just generally witnessing the world around me have convinced me that God is real, His providence is real and that His word, as evidenced in the Bible, is real.

    I have been a Christian for about 35 years. Certainly, I have had my share of doubts about certain things, particularly in the early years, but thankfully never enough that I felt that my faith was ever in jeopardy. For the last 20 years or so, I cannot even imagine my life without the influence of God and His revelation to us in scripture. Through my time I have been exposed to some fairly extreme and traumatic events. As a firefighter, I have been up close and personal with people who have met with their demise. I have tried to comfort people who have died in front of me. I have even found myself in intensive care after having a heart attack. Throughout all of these events, God has provided me with a wonderful peace and assurance of His existence. I have never doubted, that when my life here on earth comes to an end, when God decides it is time, that I should not be immediately in His presence to glorify Him forever with all the saints that have gone before me. All of this experience goes hand-in-hand with what I see written in scripture.

    So, to answer your question, I am convinced, because of what is written in the Bible, that anything that is contrary to what is written for us in the Bible is patently false and is a creation of man’s imagination and/or the influence of the devil. My faith dictates that I cannot believe otherwise. If it were not for the word of God, I would have to rely upon my own judgement and/or the judgement of others. Speaking as one who knows myself fairly well, I can tell you that I would not relish any thought of having to relying upon my weak, selfish and sinful nature for guidance and instruction on living on this earth, let alone any preparation for eternity.

    I hope that this is more helpful than not. For me it is rather “black and white” for most things, but especially for what I understand of the things of God. If I thought that I could not rely upon the Bible, everything would be pointless.

    Blessings,
    Andy
     
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  16. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely brother Andy, anything contrary to the Holy Bibles teaching is not of God
     
  17. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Report

    The Interfaith meeting happened last night. The Membership of the panel slightly changed as the Anglican Church sent the Assistant Bishop, and one of the Imams was committed elsewhere.

    The evening began with prayer in English and Arabic. There were five formal questions up for debate. The discussion was pleasant and constructive in the main. There was the discussion about the commonality of the centrality of God as the focus of our being.

    In the specific discussion of my question, the Moslem participants were very keen to point out the Islam was founded in the pluralist society and that at its heart Islam is submission, and the is no compulsion in Islam to convert. The Anglican Bishop seemed to feel it was off to speak of secular government arguing that the Government of Australia was not Secular. (I didn't follow his argument at all).

    There was quite a bit if discussion about Jihad which the Islamic participants explained was not as often suggested in English "Holy War" but rather about the internal struggle to submit to God and to the way of peace.

    The question was asked if the Christians had ever apologized to the Moslems for the Crusades. The Anglican Bishop felt that as a Reformation Church it was outside our province, and the Catholic Bishop, discussion the Millennial apologies of the Pope with addressed Moslems, without specifically mentioning the Crusades and felt the answer was yes and no.

    The evening concluded with discussion about how we might make some progress, not so much by meeting together but by engaging in projects together where we might put our shoulders together for the common good.
     
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  18. CWJ

    CWJ Active Member

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    God bless you Andy, my brother in Christ.
     
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  19. Andy

    Andy Member Anglican

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    Thank you, and may God bless you too!
     
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