Theology 4/School Year 2013-2014 Missiology: Interreligious Dialogue Outline I. Understanding Religion II. Definition of Interreligious Dialogue III. Factors facilitating the Dialogue IV. Reasons for the Dialogue V. Forms of Dialogue VI. Christian Attitudes Towards the “Other” I. Understanding Religion A. Definition of Religion Religion is sacred engagement with that which is believed to be a spiritual reality. It is a worldwide phenomenon that has played a part in all human culture. Hence, it is much broader that the set of beliefs or practices found in any single religious tradition. Religion is our quest for God. It is also our response to the Ultimate Mystery. John Paul II observes that “ancient history shows history shows clearly how in different parts of the world, with their different cultures, there arise at the same time the fundamental questions which pervade human life: Who am I? Where have I come form form and where I am going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life? These are the questions which we find in the sacred writings of Israel, as also in the Veda and the Avesta; we find them in the writings of Confucius and Lao-Tze, and in the preaching of Buddha; they appear in the poetry of Homer and in the tragedies of Euripedes and Sophocles, as they do in the philosophical writings of Plato and Aristotle. They are questions which have their common source in the quest for meaning which has always compelled the human heart.”1 Religions address the aforementioned overwhelming questions. The world’s religions are a composite of the insights into the ultimate mystery that people who struggled with these lofty questions have gained. Each religion proposes its own basis for fundamental trust, a belief that life has meaning. Religion, then, is our response to the ultimate mystery.2 B. Beginning of Religion How did religion begin? Some maintain that it originated with a belief in spirits (animism), then evolved into the notion that there were many gods (polytheism), and ultimately emerged as the ideal of a single god (monotheism). Others hold that religion began in a sense of awe at the impressive activities of nature (Nature worship), in a feeling of reverence for the spirits of the dead (Ancestor Worship), or in an attempt to overcome mortality. C. Aspects of Religions 1 2 John paul II, Fides et Ratio, no. 1. Edgar Javier, Lectures: Interreligious Dialogue, Tagaytay City, 2009. Religions has three aspects: creed, code and cult. Others add community and central myth.3 Creed includes the basic beliefs of the community. What are the basic belief about the community’s interpretation of: 1. ultimate reality? 2. Creation and order in the universe? 3. What does it mean to be human? 4. Does human being have purpose? 5. What is salvation, liberation,…? Code is about how members the community should live their life. 1. How should one live? 2. What behavior, attitudes, conduct should one have? 3. What sacred texts guide behavior? Religious life reflects the individual’s attempt to live in accordance with the precepts of a religious tradition. Buddhists imitate the Buddha, Christians strive to be Christ-like, followers of Taoism strive to practice noninterference with the natural course of things. Most major religions provide paths that deliver individuals from the bondage of sin, immorality, ignorance, and other types of impurity or disharmony and lead them toward a state of purity of soul, spiritual knowledge, wisdom, goodness, enlightenment, or even eternal life. Religions typically hold that human beings have a higher nature that exists in tension with a lower nature, and religions offer ways to redeem the former from the latter. All the historic religions address the need for the individual holiness in some form and can point to exemplars who fully embody the ideals of their traditions. Cult involves the way to worship. 1. What/whom should someone worship? 2. What symbols, rituals, postures, gestures and sacred ceremonies should be shared? 3. How should someone worship? 4. Does dress indicate allegiance? The distinguishing mark of religion in its most basic form is not belief in divinity or in the supernatural but the existence of objects considered to be sacred by a group. Religions provide for continual renewal by setting aside special times for their adherents to recollect and demonstrate what they hold sacred. These occasions may take place annually, monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly. Every religion, large or small, has regular major festivals and observances that celebrate and display its fundamental commitments and that intensify and renew the spiritual memory of its followers. Community 1. How is the religious group distinct from other groups? Lincoln University, A Definition of Religion. http://www.lincoln.edu/philosophy/leaman/defofreligion.pdf.accessedFebruary 12,2014. 3 2. How does this religious community relate to other? 3. What are the expectations/ideal of this community? Central Myth 1. What stories are re-told and re-enacted that inform the adherent of the essentials of creed, code, cult and community? 2. What stories are foundational to their faith and future? Most religious systems are organized around certain past events and models. Each religion has its own account of the history of the world – the great time when gods, creators, sages, ancestors, saviors, founders, or heroes established or revealed the essential elements of the religion. These collective memories are ordinarily preserved in carefully maintained oral traditions or in the classic accounts known as scriptures or sacred writings. D. Functions of Religion 1. Psychological function is to provide an orderly model of the universe. By explaining the unknown and making it understandable, the fears and anxieties of individuals are reduced. The explanations usually assume the existence of various sorts of supernatural beings and powers, which may be potentially be appealed or manipulated by people. This being so, a means is provided for dealing with the crisis. Divine aid is, theoretically, available when all else fails. 2. a. Social function is to sanction a wide range of conduct. Religion plays a role in social control, which does not rely on law alone. This is done through the notion of right and wrong. If one does the right thing, one earns the approval of whatever supernatural powers are recognized by a particular culture. If, on the other hand, one does the wrong thing, one may suffer retribution through supernatural agencies. Religion sets precedents for acceptable behavior. b. Another social function is its role in the maintenance of social solidarity. Common participation in rituals helps to bind people together and reinforce their identification with their group. E. World Religions They are also called Great or Major Religions. The term was coined in 19th century and included only Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Later it was expanded to include Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism and Shintoism. They have (1) scriptures or foundational texts, often written, with a philosophico-theological elaboration of their doctrines, (2) with a rich cultural base, but at the same time (3) with a missionary outreach across cultures and finally (4) with sufficiently long historical tradition. F. The Geography of World’s Religions Traditionally, may scholars of religion divided the world religions into those of the East and those of the West. Actually, all of the world’s major religions began in Asia. Therefore, another way to group religions is to talk about the “three rivers” of religious traditions. 1. One river runs through the sub-continent of Asia known as India. India gave birth to Hinduism and Buddhism (In a sense, Hinduism is the parent religion; Buddhism is its child). Thus, these two religions share much in common. For the most part, Buddhism in India came to be submerged into Hinduism, but it spread throughout the Far East. Buddhism has touched all countries of Southeast Asia. 2. Another River is that which runs through China. Taoism and Confucianism are the Traditional religions of China, balancing each other for most Chinese history. These two religions are influenced neighboring areas, such as Korea and Japan. For centuries, Buddhism lived side by side with Confucianism and Taoism in China. 3. The third river is that of Southwest Asia of the Middle East where Judaism, Christianity and Islam began. Although Judaism was actually a minor religion in the area for many centuries, nonetheless it has continued to be a strong presence in the world today and also directly influenced Christianity and Islam. These three religions share many beliefs in common and even lay claim to common history. II. DEFINITION OF INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE The term Dialogue may be understood in three ways. A. Firstly, at the purely human level, it means a reciprocal communication leading to a common goal, or at a deeper level, interpersonal communion. B. Secondly, dialogue can be taken as an attitude of respect and friendship which permeates or should permeate all those activities constituting the evangelizing mission of the Church. This can appropriately called ‘the spirit of dialogue.’ C. Thirdly, in a context of religious pluralism, dialogue means “all the positive and constructive interreligious relations with individuals and communities of other faith which are directed at mutual understanding and enrichment, in obedience to truth and respect for freedom. It includes both witness and the exploration of religious convictions’ (Dialogue and Proclamation 9). III. FACTORS FACILITATING THE DIALOGUE A. Rapid changes in the world (international contacts, the growing interdependence in all areas of human life, the need for peace and the fact of religious pluralism ). Fact of Religious Pluralism Worldwide Adherents of All Religions Figures on Worldwide Adherents of All Religions by Six Continental Areas are provided in the table. Worldwide Adherents of All Religions by Six Continental Areas, Mid–2010 Africa Asia Europe Latin America Northern America Christians 488,880,000 350,822,000 584,809,000 544,592,000 283,308,000 Muslims 421,938,820 1,083,354,900 40,174,000 1,599,000 5,598,000 Hindus 2,945,000 935,753,000 991,000 789,000 1,867,000 Nonreligious (agnostics) 5,995,000 504,352,000 84,652,000 16,941,410 43,211,700 Buddhists 258,000 455,412,000 1,777,000 760,000 3,845,000 Chinese folk-religionists 133,000 452,762,000 438,000 189,000 781,000 Ethnoreligionists 109,592,000 153,565,000 1,150,000 3,802,000 1,246,000 Atheists 594,000 116,204,000 15,390,000 2,901,000 2,013,000 New religionists 117,000 59,611,000 364,000 1,744,000 1,747,000 Sikhs 74,000 22,496,000 500,000 6,900 613,000 Jews 134,000 5,980,000 1,914,000 963,000 5,720,000 Spiritists 2,900 2,100 143,000 13,330,000 247,000 Daoists (Taoists) 0 8,412,000 0 0 12,700 Baha’is 2,178,000 3,433,000 142,000 902,000 572,000 Confucianists 20,200 6,433,000 15,500 490 0 Jains 95,100 5,056,000 18,800 1,400 102,000 Shintoists 0 2,700,000 0 7,800 64,200 Zoroastrians 980 148,000 5,700 0 21,400 Other religionists 85,000 245,000 275,000 120,000 690,000 Total population 1,033,043,000 4,166,741,000 732,759,000 588,649,000 351,659,000 % Change Rate (%) Number of Countries Oceania World Christians 28,205,000 2,280,616,000 33.0 1.20 232 Muslims 524,000 1,553,188,720 22.5 1.79 209 Hindus 526,000 942,871,000 13.6 1.38 125 Nonreligious (agnostics) 4,629,100 659,781,210 9.6 0.48 231 Buddhists 573,000 462,625,000 6.7 0.86 150 Chinese folk-religionists 101,000 454,404,000 6.6 0.56 119 Ethnoreligionists 368,000 269,723,000 3.9 1.44 145 Atheists 462,000 137,564,000 2.0 −0.17 220 New religionists 101,000 63,684,000 0.9 0.21 119 Sikhs 48,600 23,738,500 0.3 1.42 55 Jews 113,000 14,824,000 0.2 0.69 139 Spiritists 7,600 13,732,600 0.2 0.89 57 Daoists (Taoists) 4,400 8,429,100 0.1 0.52 6 Baha’is 110,000 7,337,000 0.1 1.56 221 Confucianists 47,600 6,516,790 0.1 0.45 16 Jains 3,200 5,276,500 0.1 −0.04 19 Shintoists 0 2,772,000 0.0 1.32 8 Zoroastrians 2,500 178,580 0.0 0.83 27 Other religionists 12,000 1,427,000 0.0 1.31 79 Total population 35,838,000 6,908,689,000 100.0 1.19 232 New religionists. Followers of Asian 20th-century neoreligions, neoreligious movements, radical new crisis religions, and non-Christian syncretistic mass religions. Other religionists. Including a handful of religions, quasi-religions, pseudoreligions, parareligions, religious or mystic systems, and religious and semireligious brotherhoods of numerous varieties. 2. Deeper understanding of the mystery of the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation (Dives in Misericordia 2;cf. 21). The teaching is central to the thinking of Vatican II and gave rise to the new attitudes towards Christian churches, religion and the world. Ecclesiam Suam, the charter of dialogue, Gaudium at Spes and Lumen Gentium teach dialogue method in the theology and practice of the church. Vatican II Teachings: a. Seeds of the Word (Ad Gentes, nos 11 and 15) The Council spoke of the ‘seeds of the Word ‘ in other religions. These seeds could be providential gifts that could find their fulfillment in Christian faith. The expression does not imply the word of God itself is present in these religions, for according to the International Theological Commission. “there is difference between the seed of something and the thin itself”. These seeds, quite evidently, do not sprout spontaneously, but are planted by the divine Logos. To be fruitful, they have to be “watered by divine dew.” b. Preparation for the Gospel (Lumen Gentium, no. 16 and Ad Gentes, no. 9) This is an expression borrowed from the Fathers of the Church, especially Eusebius of Caesarea. The council evidently means that God providentially prepares people of other nations not for bringing forth the Savior, as Israel did, but only for the reception of the Gospel. It means that Great Religious traditions can be bearers of saving values that prepare for the recognition of the fullness of truth found in Christianity. c. Ray of Divine Truth (NA) The expression could mean revelation according to Avery Dulles. But since Christ as the eternal Logos is the source of all truth, both natural and revealed, the reference could be simply to philosophical truth attainable by the use of right reason. There is only one divine plan of salvation. All people are called to share finally in the one divine life of the Trinity. d. Anonymous Christian (LG) It is a controversial notion introduced by the Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner that declares that people who have never heard the gospel might be saved through Christ. Lumen Gentium stated that “those who through no fault of their own do not know the gospel of Christ, yet sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.” Pope Francis embraces this view. He said, ‘non-Christians and Christians may end up in the same place in the grand schem of things. (Huffington Post, May 2013) Nostra Aetate points out: Humanity forms but one community” and that today “people are drawing more closely together” (NA no. 1) Therefore we cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat any people as other than sisters and brothers, for all are created in God’s image. (NA no. 5) Nostra Aetate proposes: The Catholic church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. It has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which, although differing in many ways from its own teaching, nevertheless often refect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men and women.(NA no. 2) Post Vatican Documents Redemptoris Missio Interreligious Dialogue is part of the Church’s evangelizing mission. Understood as a method and means and mutual knowledge and enrichment, dialogue is not in opposition of the mission ad gentes; indeed, it has special links with that mission and is one of its expressions. This mission, in fact, is addressed to those who do not know Christ and his gospel, and who belong for the most part to other religions. (RM no. 55) Dialogue is a path toward the Kingdom and will certainly bear fruit, even if the times and seasons are known only to the father” (Acts 1:7) (RM no. 57) 3. Examples of Popes a. Paul VI- in 1964, he met Hebrew and Muslim leaders in Holy Land; in Bombay he met with the representatives of the Indian religions. He stated that all must be considered to be “pilgrims of the ways in their search for God.” b. JP II- Address to young Muslims in Casablanca on August 19, 1985; Visit to Roman Synagogue (April 13, 1986); Day of Prayer in Assisi (October 27, 1986) 4. Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (formerly Secretariat for Nonchristians)-Church’s central body for the coordinations of initiatives in dialogue. Interreligious dialogue and proclamation, though not on the same level, are both authentic elements of the Church’s evangelizing mission. Both are legitimate and necessary. They are intimately related, but not interchangeable: true interreligious dialogue on the part of the Christian supposes the desire to make Jesus Christ is to be carried out in the Gospel spirit of dialogue. The two activities remain distinct but, as experience shows, one and the same local Church, one and the same person, can be diversely engaged in both. The Church encourages and fosters interreligious dialogue not only between herself and other religious traditions, but even among these religious traditions themselves. This is one way in which she fulfills her role as ‘sacrament, that is, a sign and instrument of communion with God and unity among all people’ (LG no. 1). She is invited by the Spirit to encourage all religious institutions and movements to meet, to enter into collaboration, and to purify themselves in order to promote truth and life, holiness, justice, love and peace, dimensions of that kingdom which, at the end of time, Christ will hand over to his Father (1 Cor. 15:24). Thus, interreligious dialogue is truly part of the dialogue of salvation initiated by God) (Ecclesiam Suam no. 3) 5. Various Episcopal conferences Tirimana, Vimal, ed. SPROUTS OF THEOLOGY FROM THE ASIAN SOIL: Collection of TAC and OTC Documents [1987-2007], Bangalore: Claretian Publications, 2007. Theses on Interreligious Dialogue: An Essay in Pastoral Theological Reflection. It aims at facilitating “a new insight into the identity of the Church in a religiously pluralistic world, and a renewal of its mission, so that it may be at the service of the Spirit, who is leading the whole world to unity”(3). It calls religions to be forces not to crush but to build the lives of people by faithfulness to their prophetic role. And, this can do through collaboration and cooperation. Dialogue is part of God’s design. Christians, animated by the Spirit, must facilitate dialogue that involves forgiveness and reconciliation. They are also called to a dialogical proclamation. All Churches, with a task of authentic dialogue, are called to common witness. Moved by the Spirit, Interreligious dialogue is a journeying together towards the Kingdom. IV. REASONS FOR DIALOGUE A. Expanding our View of the World Members of the world’s many religions are now neighbor. Also, thanks to increased communications, we are much closer to our neighbors throughout the globe. We benefit from learning the beliefs of the various groups or people with whom we live, work and share resources. B. Deepening our Self-Understanding By encountering people from different religions, we understand ourselves better. Christians can understand Jesus better. Christians can understand Jesus better when they compare and contrast him with Muhammad, Buddha. By steeping outside of our religious world, entering into another’s, and then returning to our own, we grow in awareness and undemanding of our own faith and beliefs. C. Encountering the Wisdom of the Ages By encountering the people of other beliefs, we discover ancient wisdom. The world’s religions are a true wellspring of wisdom. D. Establishing for Justice and Peace More than ever, our world is an interdependent world. Either all of us learn to get along together, or else we chance destroying ourselves. Unfortunately, religions have at times been causes of conflict rather than partners for peace. The solution is not to do away with religions. Instead we need to appeal to and build upon those element present in every religion that foster justice and peace. With dialogue we will discover potential friends and allies rather than enemies. V. FORMS OF DIALOGUE A. Dialogue of Action, in which Christians and others collaborate for the integral development and liberation of people. B. Dialogue of Theological Exchange or of Understanding in which the partners come to mutual understanding and appreciations of each other’s spiritual values and cultural categories and promote communions and fellowship among people” (Attitude of the Church,” no. 34). C. Dialogue of Religious Experience, where persons, rooted in their own religious traditions share their spiritual riches, for instance with regard to prayer and contemplation, faith and ways of searching for God or the Absolute” (“Dialogue and Proclamation,” no. 42) D. Dialogue of Life, where people strive to live in an open and neighborly spirit, sharing their joys and sorrows, their human problems and concerns. VI. Christian Attitude Towards the “the other” and Three Theological Modes The other - anyone who is different belongs to the category of “the other” Adherents of other religions are “the other” In discussing the Christian attitudes towards other religions, the following statement by Michael Amaladoss might help in situating the stages through which the Church has evolved in its theology of religion: “Twenty years ago, I studied Hindu religion and culture so that I could present Christ to Hindus in a way more adapted to their mentality. Later, I tried to discover the ‘unknown Christ of Hinduism’ so that I may make the Hindu recognize the Christ I preached to them as their own, but further fulfilling their deeper aspirations. Today, I dialogue with my Hindu brothers and sisters looking forward to mutual enrichment and collaboration in the building of a new humanity” (Vidyajyoti, 1985). A. 1. Ecclesiocentric Model: Exclusivism (with conviction that the Church (RCC) is extremely necessary) This is the theological perspective with which Christians viwed other religions throughout most of Christian history. It maintains the 3rd century Cyprianen dictum, which was later adopted by the Council of Florence, of extra ecclesiam nulla salus (outside the Church, no salvation). Christians of this mindset regard all other religions as not having the power to bring peoples to salvation, despite the good which may be contained in them. (with belief that) Salvation is only possible for those who explicitly belong to the Catholic church. This model is overly ecclesiocentric as it believes that the Church is necessary fo one’s salvation. It excludes all other means for salvation. Like the early Amaladoss, the dialogue with the other religions is motivated by the desire to present Christ to the “other,” since without Christ, who resides in the Church, the poor souls would be damned to eternal hellfire. 2. The Conquest Mode: Theological Mode that Guided the Church when she is exclusivist If the Church perceives the other religions as demonic and in error of false, hers would be an attitude to conquer. Such a church is oriented towards the “conquest “ mode. B. 1. Christocentric Model: Inclusivism This theological perspective gained currency in the 1960’s, especially thorugh the insights of Karl Rahner, and was adopted by the Second Vatican Council as the official teachings of the Church. Beginning with the conviction that God wills salvation for all, it posits that this universal salvific will can only be real if it is embodied in the various religions. Thus, if we are to be serious about our belief in God’s desire to save all persons, we have to be serious about viewing the religions as the vehicles of that saving grace. Thus, this theological perspective allows for the other religions to mediate salvation for their respective adherents. However, it is still Jesus Christ who is the means of salvation. In other words, salvation through other religions is ultimately mediated indirectly through indirectly through Christ, and the people, unknown to them, are actually “anonymous Christians.” The other religions, therefore, are a preparation for the gospel” or stepping stones to the garden of gospel truth, effected only through Christ. This model is Christocentric since it is Christ who brings about the ultimate fulfillment of the other religions. The other religions are appreciated for the fact that they will be eventually fulfilled and included in Christianity. Like the mid-years’ Amaladoss, dialogue is engaged to enable”the other” to recognize that it is really Christ of Christianity who is operationg and saving them in and through their religions. 2. Fulfillment Mode: Theological Mode that guides the Church when she is inclusivist If the Church perceives the other religions as true, but only partially and without that fullness of that Truth, then hers would be an attitude which seeks to heal, fulfill, perfect, enlighten, purify, and ennoble. Here, the church is oriented to fulfillment mode. C. Theocentric Model: Mystical Pluralism The theocentric model, taking into consideration the data from the different religions, emphasizes that it is God who saves. All religions, including Chrsianity are but paths to God. The religions and their savior figures are therefore means and ways to God, who is the only absolute. The religions are different, even as they may be similar features amongst them, But, ultimately they are as different, for example, languages are different. It is, therefore, a pluralist model which appreciates differences across cultures. No one can claim superiority over the others. Persons of other religions are saved through their own religious faith just as Christians are saved through their own Christian faith. This model is theocentric since it posits that all peoples are untiamtely saved by God who occupies the center of the salvific universe. It also stresses a more mystical approach to religion, for at the core of all authentic religious experience of a Mysterion, an indefinable, ineffable mystery, beyond description. Thus, the theocentric model is a mystical pluralism. The participation in dialogue, like the later-years’ Amaladoss, is for mutual enrichment, where both parties gain more insights of this Ultimate Mystery called God. D. 1. Soteriocentric Model: Ethical Pluralism This is not new or different model, but merely a variation of the Theocentric model. It is both a response to criticisms of theocentrism and an effort to provide it with more practical and relevant basis. One of the criticisms of theocentism is that to claim that God is the centre of religious discourse is, in a sense, an act of imperialism. Futhermore, if there is a claim that there is only one God who is absolute, the questions which it begs is “whose God?” Scholars of religion are, today discovering that when one plunges beneath surface similarities between religions, one finds greater dissimilarities in the deeper understanding of God, the Absolute, the Ultimate Mystery. Another criticism leveled at the Thoecentric model comes from Christian struggling with issue of suffering. In proposing one God or Mystery within all religions which can be grasped through mediation and reflection, the theocentric model tends to neglect the suffering and injustice in the world. Theocentrists tend to be overly academic and mystical, with little regard for realities at grassroots. The theocentric model, therefore, proposes that the core of religious experience is the issue of suffering. The one thing common which cuts across all religions is that suffering is undesirable and that religions have a message of salvation or human liberation in the light of these sufferings. Moreover, it is the liberation of these sufferings which will usher in the Reign or Kingdom of God. Hence, this model is also sometimes referred to as Regnocentrism (Reigncentered). The criterion by which religions ought to be judged, therefore, is the degree to which they actually contribute to the liberation of peoples from the sufferings of the here and now. In specifically Christian parlance this means that all religions are destined to be visible signs of the presence in the world of the Reign of God; all can and sought to contribute on different counts to the growth of God’s reign among people and persons. The soteriocentric model, therefore, is concerned with concrete actions and is thus described as ethical pluralism. Like the later years’ Amaladoss, engaging in dialogue with “the other” is aimed at seeing how we can better collaborate with one another in the building of a new humanity. 2. Partnership Mode If the Church perceives other religions as genuine in their own right and as true, just as the Church herself is true and would like others to acknowledge Christianity as true, then hers would be an attitude which seeks to cooperate, collaborate, and to be in partnership with. The church would then be oriented towards the “partnership mode.” Conclusion Interreligious dialogue is all the positive and constructive interreligious relations with individuals and communities of other faiths which are directed at mutual understanding and enrichment, in obedience to truth and respect for freedom. (DP no. 9) Interreligious dialogue is a way to proclaim Jesus Christ.