Interreligious and Intercultural Dialog Guidelines
by Dr. Lucien F. Cosijns
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We believe the following:
1) Dialogue is only possible when we respect each other’s individuality. Thus, knowledge of others in their cultural setting is essential. By recognizing and accepting social, cultural, and religious diversity, an exchange of mutual values and union in collaboration, humanity ultimately will be led to unity.
2) Everything is actively involved in a continuous growth process toward a better world in an ever-higher intellectual and spiritual environment. This awareness that all people belong to the same family, through their common origin and destination, should lead to a higher universal responsibility to practice this awareness in our lives.
3) The inspiring role of the leaders of world religions, traditions, and other convictions is of prime importance in our effort to create a better world order in peace and justice. In their cultural and philosophical traditions, their churches, organizations and institutes are the organizations par excellence to proclaim and sustain universally accepted moral principles.
4) The tenets of world religions and other faith traditions have their roots in their native culture, have developed on the basis of their culture’s philosophical and moral concepts, and have approached and proclaimed the faith in transient expressions and culturally appropriate ceremonies. As pilgrims always on their way to new discoveries and subject to change, no faith community should claim exclusive representation of the Truth or superiority.
5) The world religions should move from their “approach of converting” to an “approach of testifying.” The essential elements of one’s own faith should be presented in a language understandable by the local faithful, so that dialogue between the world religions and faith traditions will lead to a better mutual knowledge and understanding, and to an exchange of mutual values. This will enrich one’s faith and that of others.
6) In the passionate search for the truth and a more comprehensive approach to spirituality, meditation should be re-evaluated and practiced to engender a deeper awareness of the Divine presence. Meditation crosses all religious boundaries and is universally shared and accepted. Silent meditation should be part of all interreligious encounters.
7) People involved in interreligious and intercultural dialogue must remain aware of and concerned about our world’s escalating ecological, social, economic, and financial problems.
Accepting these seven guidelines could become a major stepping stone to a union, in collaboration between the world religions and other faith traditions, that transcends doctrinal differences. Such a dialogue in collaboration with the political world would be the most effective contribution toward more efficient solutions to the world problems. At the same time, it would be an important stepping stone to a new world order of more peace and justice for all.
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