Inter Religious Dialogue (IRD)

This is a summary of a seminar on Inter Religious Dialogue which was conducted at Ashirvad, Bangalore, on 26 and 27 January-2006. 
  1. Meaning of IRD
  2. Need / Purpose of IRD
  3. IRD in action
  4. Church’s teaching


  1. Meaning of IRD: - 
    “Inter Religious Dialogue is a conversation between persons of different minds, where the dialogue partners come to learn from the other, witness to the other, as well as to convert the other.” (Edmund Chia, fsc)
    1. IRD is therefore a conversation, a two-way communication between two or more persons.
    2. The primary purpose of IRD is for both parties to mutually learn about each other & in the process one will also learn much about one’s own religion.
    3. IRD is to be committed to witness one’s own religious convictions which demands knowledge & also courage & authenticity – even if it means disconcerting to the other.
    4. The ultimate goal of IRD is conversion of the dialogue partner – which means more of “winning over” than “sharing with”. It is mutual conversions – a win-win conversion.
  2. Need / Purpose of IRD: 
    We are living in a global world. Transnational migration, tourism, multinational business, mass media, higher education, internet, etc. are bringing cultures/ religions closer to each other.
    1. 1. The most obvious reason motivating IRD is that religions are different – the difference are not only perceived but real, hence cannot be ignored.
    2. IRD helps in bridging this gap & encourages collaborative action & partnership.
    3. Even if IRD is not facilitated on the formal from it is inevitable. Fear, insecurity & hostility lead to violence. It is here that IRD helps to bring in peace & harmony.
    4. Even as religions continue to thrive, there is much suffering in the world. This can be alleviated only if people of all religions come together.
      The following diagram (adaptation of Johari Window) explains the need/purpose of IRD
      • Knowing my religion well+Knowing others’ religion well[Harmony]
      • Not knowing my religion well+Knowing others’ religion well[Aimlessness]
      • Knowing my religion well+Not knowing others’ religion well[Bigotry]
      • Not knowing my religion well+Not knowing others’ religion well[Indifference]
  3. IRD in Action: 
    1. Dialogue of discourse – takes place among trained scholars & religious leaders to discern points of convergences & areas of divergences
    2. Dialogue of religious experiences – is usually between persons deeply involved in religious practices like monks, nuns, Sufis, sadhus & mystics.
    3. Dialogue of action – takes place when people of different religions come together to address common social concerns.
    4. Dialogue of life – is what happens in our day-to-day life among people of different religions in their homes, workplaces & neighborhoods. It is a mother teaching her childe4r to lo0ve all irrespective of their religions, a taxi driver, a teacher, a public servant, serving people irrespective of their religions.

      All types of dialogues are interrelated. The dialogue of life should finally be a way of life for all people of all religions.
  4. Church’s Teaching:- 
    The Church is ever aware of her duty to foster unity & charity among individuals/ nations. All men form but one community. Hence the Church backs the Christian faithful to be at peace with all men & be true sons of the Father Who is in heaven.

Mrs. Olivia Sequeira 


© 2006. St. John the Baptist Church

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