INTER-FAITH DIALOGUE MEETINGS (dan Kupang)

In Indonesiaby

05Mar2016

The Asia Foundation

To celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week 2016, The Asia Foundation (TAF) in collaboration with the International Conference on Islam and Peace (ICIP), on February 27, 2016 held a community interfaith dialogue on the Sikh religion in Ciputat, South Tangerang. On March 2, 2016 in collaboration with the Muhammadiyah University, Malang (UMM), TAF held a dialogue on Islam and Buddhism in the Buddhist community, Batu, Malang; and on February 25, 27, March 5, 2016, in collaboration with the Bandung State Islamic University and the Artha Wiyata Christian University (AKAW), in Kupang, TAF held an interfaith dialogue series on Islam and Christianity. 24 Inter-faith dialogue is a challenge for all religions, especially the monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which have been "exclusive" for hundreds of years. Problems of interfaith dialogue have now become an integral part of reform movements of the world religions. The reality and complexity of today's world has led religious thinkers seriously to reassess their understanding of God's will and the teachings of Scripture regarding other religions. Many theologians today conclude that theology can not continue to be formulated separately from other religions. Today increasingly it is recognized that to be religious is to be intereligious, and that the real development of the theology of religions in the future will be a direct result of a serious dialogue with other religions. In an effort to restore contacts broken off around world, religions have accepted dialogue with the community and other world religions as a basic. Most of this change of attitude is caused by the development of the pluralistic nature of the world, brought about by globalization, particularly by the development of information and communication technology. Earlier, religions wanted to share truth with others. This new situation forced religions to switch from an all-knowing attitude of "Let us teach you" to an approach of listening to the wisdom and the problems of other religions. The new dialogic attitude led to important changes in the doctrines of traditional religions tegarding other faiths, becoming more inclusive and plural and open to new perspectives. The understanding of pluralism, tolerance, and interfaith dialogue is only possible when the adherents of every religion are able to get rid of narrow exclusive views and tryto accept the assumptions of others and "see" the universe throughothers’ concepts. If this effort develops, a mutual recognition will arise where all world religions accept each other as fellow mountaineers, covered with clouds, seeking the peak which is covered in God’s invisible embrace. To benefit from understanding the riches of other religious tradtions calls for inclusive and pluralistic attitudes. So interfaith dialogue requires two main things: first, an new awareness of the principal concerns of the faith of others; second, cooperation to solve humanitarian problems together. This type of dialogue leads to an authentic understanding of the faith of others, not underestimating, let alone distorting, their noble beliefs. An earnest dialogue is a step toward mutual enrichment and a deeper appreciation of others’ religion and one’s own.

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