world council of churches

Thinking together -- an interreligious process
Hans Ucko

In 1999 the Office on Interreligious Relations and Dialogue (IRRD) organised a workshop at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey entitled "What difference does religious plurality make?" This workshop was an attempt to address if and how religious plurality informs us in our work and as people of different faiths (see Current Dialogue no. 34).

At the workshop in Bossey, some of us felt that an important follow-up would be to focus together on some basic issues of belief, to see how we, in the midst of our religious diversity, express our common convictions and how one could explore core issues present in all our religious traditions.

Our religious traditions relate to religious plurality in different ways and certain issues of faith are more or less important in each religious tradition. What is a key issue in one religious tradition is not immediately a relevant concern in another tradition. Exploring key issues in our respective religious traditions and relating our efforts to the reality of religious plurality, is above all about how we can be truthful to our religion, faith, heritage, belief and at the same time truly open to the religious diversity in which we live. Which core-issues are in need of a focused interreligious thinking? Are there possibilities for a rethinking? And can we do this thinking and rethinking together? We have usually formulated what we are about in the absence of the other. Our self-understanding has been reached without much consideration for who the other is or how the other wants to be understood. When we reflect upon what we are or want to be, could we do so in the presence of the other? Could one theologise together with people of other faiths? In our world of religious plurality, where we live with each other, is there also scope for some intentional theological thinking together?

We, a few Jews, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists, held our first meeting at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, CA, USA November 4-8, 2000. Regretfully our Muslim participant had to cancel his participation at the last minute. We had plenty of time to listen to each other and to discuss with each other the implications of our reflections. The introductory presentations are part of this issue of Current Dialogue. We listed for our continued work that :

Go to Jesus the Christ: the ONLY Way to God and to Human Flourishing -- M. Thomas Thangaraj
Return to Current Dialogue (37), June 2001

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