2016 | 4 | 25-47
Article title

Possibility of Inter-Religious Dialogue: Structural and Formal Conditions

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In this paper the author explores the conditions under which inter-religious dialogue can be a transformative process not only of the interlocutor’s understanding of the be-liefs and values of the religiously different other but also her attitude toward him or her. The proposition elucidated and defended is that, to be transformative, the dialogue should be God-centered, objective, empathic, and it should be grounded in the values of equality, respect, and toleration. The paper is composed of two parts. The first is devot-ed to an analysis of the concept of dialogue in general and of inter-religious dialogue in particular: What are the structural elements of dialogue between (a) individuals and (b) religious communities? The second part is devoted to an analysis of the conditions under which inter-religious dialogue can be a transformative process. The focus in this analysis is on the following question: What does it take for a person who has grown up in a certain religion, who understands herself and in fact lives from the standpoint that religion, to discern the religious truth proclaimed by another religion, to comprehend it, appreciate it, assent to it, and incorporate it in the structure of her mind or worldview? We may construct a formidable strategy, one that wins the blessing of reason, still, the question remains: How can a community, which tends to be exclusivist in its religious orientation, change its understanding of God or attitude toward the religious different other?
  • Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, 1701 N State St, MS 39202 U.S.A.
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