In our contemporary society, cultural contact enhanced by the dynamics of globalization, migration and new communication technologies, underlies and encourages the meeting of religions and cultures. This meeting crosses geographical, political and economic territories and provides an opportunity for religions and cultures to interact both at the personal and institutional levels. This meeting and interaction is more than a reality; it is more importantly a great challenge that can outline at least four different attitudes: 1) indifference – the lack of interest and concern for other religions or cultures, 2) fundamentalism seen as fanaticism or intolerance to religious and cultural diversity, 3) openness to other religions and cultures without changing one’s identity, and 4) acculturation – a two-way process of social change that affects religions and cultures.

 

In this context, dialogue can be a mechanism or a framework and a source for respecting others’ values while maintaining one’s own religious and cultural identity. Through dialogue one can gain the certainty of his own religious and cultural beliefs and be open to contact with other religions and cultures – which is inevitable – and have a constructive recognition of different religious and cultural values. A genuine inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is based on respect, understanding and hospitality. This will redound to peaceful living not violent conflicts, to mutual respect not mutual disrespect, to cultivating ethnic and religious identity together with the different ones, and to develop a culture of living together in harmony – a culture that avoids transforming diversity to adversity and mistaking identity with isolation. Such inter-religious and cultural dialogue can also be a platform for analysing contemporary social issues and concerns like moral trivialization, family crisis, ecological crisis, man’s identity crisis etc.

 

Amidst the misunderstanding, chaos and violence in our contemporary pluralistic world there is a need for deeper reflection and a sustained rational discourse among individuals from different religious and cultural persuasions and background; and a genuine dialogue, one that is based on respect and hospitality can be a framework for religious understanding and world peace. 

 

Subthemes:

 

  1. The theological and philosophical considerations of dialogue as inter-human relationship

  2. Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue: efficient standards and patterns in maximizing peace

  3. The significance of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue in a pluralistic world

  4. Identity and alterity in dialogic relation: philosophical perspectives

  5. Peace as an integrative basis for social coexistence

  6. Spirituality in the horizon of inter-religious dialogue

  7. Religious radicalism and fundamentalism: sociological analysis

  8. Globalization as a challenge or opportunity in affirming religious identity

  9. Tolerance and intolerance in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism

  10. The challenge of religious extremism to religious understanding

  11. The effect or impact of globalization to religions and cultures

 

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