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    Why most inter-faith dialogue is rubbish

    by Sunny on 6th June, 2009 at 4:34 am    

    I have an article in the Guardian newspaper today (Face to Faith section) that is also published on the website here.

    Inter-faith dialogues sound good, but they ultimately fail to make any progress, writes Sunny Hundal

    Barack Obama’s speech as inter-faith dialogue! Though his was at least a good example.

      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Religion

    10 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. London Muslim — on 6th June, 2009 at 6:47 am  

      Why feed a crocodile hoping it will eat you last.

    2. Boyo — on 6th June, 2009 at 8:48 am  

      Like asking competing football teams not to score in their opponent’s goal.

    3. Rumbold — on 6th June, 2009 at 9:07 am  

      So something is bad unless Obama does it. Then it is good.

      Just kidding.

      This is a good piece. As you say, the trick isn’t to get well-meaning people around the table, but people who hate one another. Although the results aren’t always too pleasing:


    4. billericaydicky — on 6th June, 2009 at 9:14 am  

      I think you have missed the point about these forums. They are meant to be talking shops rather like Race Equality Councils and various groups which have words like Diversity and Inclusion in the titles. In other words they do nothing except talk.

      The other points to consider are do they have any power to influence anything and does anyone know about them? The answer to both questions is no so why bother taking u column inches in the Guardian?

    5. Shatterface — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:46 pm  

      I remember reading The Three Christs of Ypsilanti when I took psychology: this was a report on an experiment in which three schizophrenics suffering from the delusion that they were Christ were brougt together just to see what would happen (ah, the Golden Age of Psychology when you could get paid good money for taking acid or giving people electric shocks! It’s no fun now, bloody do-gooders!).

      Anyway, they seem to have got on well but they each thought the others were delisional and there was no lessening of their own delusions.

      That, basically, is the flaw in trying to bring people of other faiths together. The most that you can expect is a conditional ‘tolerance’ of other people’s ‘blasphemes’.

    6. dave bones — on 6th June, 2009 at 8:09 pm  

      The first step in dealing with rising tensions among groups of people belonging to different religions would be to persuade authoritative figures to openly recognise the other side has a point.


    7. Andy Gilmour — on 6th June, 2009 at 10:24 pm  

      Well, over the last couple of years the poor dears have had a stab at getting together to go “secularist bashing”, but we heretics are clearly not enough of a distraction from their intractable theological differences. Ho hum.

      Father Jack was wrong, alas…

    8. Amrit — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:38 am  

      I can’t help feeling that I should link to this excellent analysis of Obama’s speech on Heresy Corner:


      It is a bit overly negative, I’d say, but it, and the comments too, are WORTHWHILE. WORTHWHILE, people. In capitals!

    9. riverScrap.com — on 7th June, 2009 at 8:59 am  

      I like what you said about the main stumbling block being that “the loudest voice on each side is unwilling to acknowledge the other side has legitimate concerns”. When talking about the Middle East I’ve gone blue in the face trying i.) to convince Jews that forcibly relocating millions of indigenous people was bound to ruffle some feathers, and ii.) to convince Arabs that support for terrorism hurts their cause. A worrying number of people just aren’t interested in the other side of the coin - hence the intractability…

    10. edsa — on 7th June, 2009 at 9:45 am  

      I don’t follow this thread - what is about? The responses seem muddled.

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