Inter- religious understanding is one aspect of religion that should be given a lot of concern. This is so because there has been a lot of misunderstanding in the past that led to misconceptions and calamities in the past. It is therefore imperative to understand this from the onset in order to foster respect, mutual understanding among all religious groups in the quest to achieve religious pluralism in the whole diverse world (Saliba 2003). Among the contributors to this ideology is Leonard Swidler who propagated so many ideas among them, is that dialogue is meant to help people learn, change, grow and also act accordingly (Swidler 1983).
It is imperative that this happens in a dialogue or else the people engaged in it will get out of a religious dialogue worse than they went in to it. I support this idea because it helps one open their mind and understand the other party that they do not share the same religious views by first changing their attitude and perceptions about the other parties. If it is done in an amicable and understanding way, much will be achieved in regard to inter- religious dialogue and understanding.
This notwithstanding, Swidler’s perception of dialogue taking place among equals is way too out of this world (Swidler 1983). If this is what should happen, then what will happen to those religious groupings that are considered not equal to others? It is a sad reality that some religious groups consider themselves to be superior to others. This therefore makes it difficult for them to give audience to those considered inferior and dialogue between them is a pipe dream so to say. It is this same idea that is unlikely to become a reality if such feelings and attitudes are left to thrive.
In order to deal with the very serious conflicts existing between followers of different religious groupings, I would encourage nothing else but dialogue amongst them. It is only this way that they can forge a way forward by learning to understand and accommodating each other by changing their attitudes towards each other (Groothuis 1996).
Groothuis, D. (1996). Are All Religions One? Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.
Saliba, J. A. (2003). Understanding New Religious Movements. Walnut Creek: Rowman Altamira
Swidler, L. (1983)"The Dialogue Decalogue: Ground Rules for Interreligious Dialogue," Journal of Ecumenical Studies http://globalethic.org/Center/decalog.htm