My Review of the 2012 Christian Scholars’ Conference
August 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Historically, attempts at ecumenical and interreligious dialogue have focused on finding common ground, shared beliefs, or analogous practices as ways of bridging the divide between communities that have found themselves in conflict with, or at best suspicious of, each other. These meetings often conclude with trite affirmations of sameness or claims that “all religions teach peace” or “each tradition is a different path up the same mountain.” In doing so the assumed solution to conflict is the promotion of generic sameness. This is not unlike well-intentioned attempts at “color-blindness” in American social life that often hinder more than help in overcoming the negative legacy of racism in the United States.
In contrast to this approach, scholars and practitioners have begun to emphasize the uniqueness of religious communities as a resource for mutual learning and social transformation. In its own way, the Christian Scholars’ Conference is an exemplar of this approach to dialogue and learning …