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Challenge and Opportunity: Changing Patterns of Inter Faith Engagement in the UK – Inter Faith Network

June 22, 2017

CAOWhich disciplines does the study of inter faith relations need to include? I offer just a few thoughts. Clearly it needs to include theology, my own discipline. But it also needs to include history; the study of religion (which is not the same as theology); political science; literature; cultural studies; and philosophy.

we need to take into account the intra-faith dialogue. For example, the tensions inherent within Judaism are illustrated in a number of ways. The secular and religious divide is well exemplified by Isaiah Berlin saying to Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: “Please forgive me, Chief Rabbi, for I am a lapsed heretic”.

Differences within Judaism are also reflected in the tension between its traditional and liberal wings [demonstrated by theological differences over the extent to which the

Torah was divinely revealed to Moses.] This, of course, is not just true of Judaism, but also of most faith traditions. It is essential that our study of inter faith relations takes into account not only religion but also culture and peoplehood.

There was an account of how the Faith Communities’ Capacity Building Fund was spending its money. I attended this meeting, courtesy of that fund. There was advice about making bids for funding.

If you talk to us as people of faith we say that we live in a secular society. If I talk to my humanist friends they say we do not live in a secular society, that there are religious activities going on all the time and that religion informs much of our social

life, particularly in education and other areas. I think there is room, in addition to the dialogue we have amongst ourselves as people of faith, for dialogue with secularists, with humanists, with those who have non religious belief systems.

People can be inhibited from joining in dialogue because they feel they lack sufficient knowledge. But we can always learn from one another.

There were some examples of women’s initiatives, which got dealt with in more detail later.

It’s online here

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