The Rev. Canon Dr. George Sumner is principal of Wycliffe College, my seminary alma mater, and a very fine theologian. These words appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of Insight, the college publication, and are apropos of some recent posts here on relations between Christians and other faiths. MP+
The word “dialogue” has come, in the religious realm, to refer to a blending of religious claims in which talk as personal empathy overwhelms truth, and a pluralistic model of relations between the religions comes to prevail. But Hegel would remind us that the silouhette of our individuality comes clearest against the background of dialogue. This is something that other religions too want to affirm – a devout Muslim or Sikh has no interest in compromising the distinctness of their walk or their claims either. In fact dialogue is best throught of as the engagement by which a tradition challenges and is challenged by, learns from and teaches, its neighbours; in so doing it seeks to display the truth of its claims, not least in a charitable understanding of its neighbour.