Talking about difference:a simple way to do interfaith dialogue

Students have developed a very simple way of doing interfaith dialogue. Students from different faiths have joined the Baha’i Society’s weekly  meeting in the Chaplaincy Centre. The Baha’i group were meeting for their own practice of prayerfully reflecting on readings and key texts from different world religions. This is a key part of the Baha’i tradition that seeks religious reconciliation as one of its key aims. This turns out to be a great practical gift to those of us also wanting to radically improve understanding between different religious traditions.

So how does the dialogue work? Well, once everyone has gathered the selected key texts are handing around. We read them quietly to ourselves. Quiet music plays on someone’s iPhone. After the quiet personal reflectioncomes time for discussion. What I like is that becasue we come from different religious traditions we will have someone in the group who can talk about the text ‘from the inside’ of that tradition. So it is a discussion of the ideas present in the texts. Yet   we also  learn to hear the texts through the personal insight of those who live in that tradition. It means we get to hear how the text fits to other practices of that faith community. This also prevents the discussion from sliding into bland agreement. There are real differences expressed from Muslim, Christian, Baha’i, Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Yet these are handled with deep respect.

 With thanks to Steph and Jan from the Baha’i Soc for making it possible.

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