In the New Year, Let's Listen to Each Other: Principles and Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue

"A compendium of concise and handy resources provides insight into the interfaith movement and its treasure chest of wisdom and learning opportunities. The collection explores the goals, types and stages of dialogue and touches on issues such as interfaith etiquette, listening, peace-building, hospitality, respectful presence and dialogue-versus-debate. These principles and guidelines are useful for those who are new to interfaith as well as for veterans of interfaith work."

Dialogue Principles

Dr. Leonard Swidler is a highly respected American scholar in the field of interfaith dialogue. Dr. Swidler has published this set of ten inter-religious principles which have become a classic.  Below please find this “dialogue decalogue. 

FIRST PRINCIPLE

The primary purpose of dialogue is to learn; that is, to change and grow in the perception and understanding of reality, and then to act accordingly.

SECOND PRINCIPLE

Inter-religious, inter-ideological dialogue must be a two-sided project within each religious or ideological community and between religious or ideological communities.

THIRD PRINCIPLE

Each participant must come to the dialogue with complete honesty and sincerity.

FOURTH PRINCIPLE

In inter-religious, inter-ideological dialogue we must not compare our ideals with our partner’s practice, but rather our ideals with our partner’s ideals, our practice with our partner’s practice.

FIFTH PRINCIPLE

Each participant must define himself… Conversely, the interpreted must be able to recognize herself in the interpretation.

SIXTH PRINCIPLE

Each participant must come to the dialogue with no hard-ançl-fast assumptions as to where the points of disagreement are.

SEVENTH PRINCIPLE

Dialogue can take place only between equals… Both must come to learn from each other.

EIGHTH PRINCIPLE

Dialogue can take place only on the basis of mutual trust.

NINTH PRINCIPLE

Persons entering into inter-religious, inter-ideological dialogue must be at least minimally self-critical of both themselves and their own religious or ideological traditions.

TENTH PRINCIPLE

Each participant eventually must attempt to experience the partner’s religion or ideology ‘from within’; for a religion or ideology is not merely something of the head, but also of the spirit, heart, and ‘whole being,’ individual and communal.

Website of Dr. Swidler’s Dialogue Institute in Philadelphia, USA:  http://dialogueinstitute.org/

 

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