Dialogue will light up our lives

October 28, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Muslim Christian dialogueReligion is for spiritual guidance and growth of people. It is a significant resource for promoting peace, harmony, liberty and Justice. We must use religions to esteem and enrich our composite culture and plurality of faith traditions, which is our asset. Our response must be based on reverence, respect, tolerance and compassion.

Every person is an image of God (Genesis 1:27). Hence, a person is sacred, unique, and irreplaceable. This confers on every person an irreducible dignity and honour which must be respected and protected by all people and institutions. The basic tenets of all religious traditions orchestrate into a symphony of harmony. God, Iswar, Allah are the articulations in name and form of the experience of the Ultimate Divine Mystery which transcends all names and forms. One’s authentic religious world vision, the worth of prayer and spirituality lead one to respect religions as ennobling culture which enables people to believe in the goodness of humanity as preached by the founders of religious traditions.

A person’s spiritual quotient leads him/her to the recognition of Islam and Christianity as faiths beyond fanaticism. Christianity and Islam share a historical connection. Both are Semitic religions, having a common origin in the Middle East. They are prophetic in character emphasizing on a vital connection between faith and ethics: that the authenticity of one’s faith is to be seen in good deeds. Both are also known as Abrahamic religions. Muslims commonly refer to Christians as ‘People of the Book’, people who follow the same general teachings in relation to the worship of One God (Tawhid) as this was acknowledged in the eleventh century by Pope Gregory VII.

It is appropriate here to remind ourselves of the declaration of the Second Vatican Council on Christian-Muslim faith affinity:  “The Church has also high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one…merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth…They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God’s plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link their own. Although not acknowledging him as God, they worship Jesus as a prophet, his virgin Mother they also honour… Further, they await the Day of Judgment and the reward of God following the resurrection of the dead. For this reason they highly esteem an upright life and worship God, especially by way of prayer, alms-deeds and fasting.” The Council further exhorts Christians and Muslims to work together for promoting world peace, liberty, social justice and moral values (Nostra Aetate, 3)

We know that religion and society constantly influence each other. Hence, an assessment of the Muslim and Christian faith-commonality shall help these two faith communities to work with world community to purge the human race of a sin which the seventeenth century French philosopher Blaise Pascal states as inherent in human nature: “Man never does evil more joyfully and wholeheartedly than in the name of religion.”

We need to promote interfaith dialogues at both the individual and institutional levels. As Dr. Hans Kung formulated, “There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions.”

In pursuit of implanting the importance of values and dialogue in students, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata has introduced a two credit Foundation Course on “Religious Studies and Social Harmony” from 2014-15 academic session. This course proposes to promote national integration and cause appreciation for all religious traditions and values. A student, as he or she leaves the portals of St. Xavier’s College, must carry within  greater knowledge and appreciation of multi-religious realities of India.

– j. felix raj

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!