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Caitlin Kennell Kim
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Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
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Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
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Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
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Our readers asked:

Don’t you have to water down Christian beliefs about Jesus in Interrelgious Dialogue?

Thomas Ryan, CSP Answers:

Interfaith dialogue does not involve being untrue to one’s own convictions of faith. On the contrary, it invites the partners to join together in a common seeking of the truth. In that process, they will share their own understanding in an honest and respectful way. For Catholics, the “uniqueness” and “universality” of Christ are understood to mean that by and in Jesus, God effected a self-manifestation in a manner that is decisive for all and can neither be surpassed or repeated.

The place Jesus Christ occupies in Christianity is central. No other religion attributes such a unique place to its founder. For Islam, Muhammad is the depository of the divine message, the prophet through whom God speaks. For Buddhism, Gautama is the great teacher, the Enlightened One showing the way. For Christianity, however, Jesus claims equality with God. He never refuses the title Messiah. He corrects holy writ. He insists that prophecy is fulfilled in him and that the Reign of God appears through his acts. It is the mystery of Jesus Christ himself, and not just his message, that is at the very heart of faith. It is the religion of a person, the Christ.

 
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The Author : Thomas Ryan, CSP
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP, directs the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in Washington, D.C.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • http://twitter.com/j_warren_hauser JenniferWarrenHauser

    I am in full agreement w/ your position that Christians need not ‘water down’ their beliefs in order to engage in inter-religious dialogue. It would be imperialist/colonialist to tell non-Western partners in inter-religious dialogue to keep their [Jainism, Islam, etc.] to a generalized, relativist scale to which I will object least. I would never presume to dictate to them how to ‘best’ present their religious system because meaningful dialogue requires honesty and authenticity from its contributors, Christians included.

    I’m a little uncomfortable with your terminology when you say that “[Jesus Christ] corrects holy writ.” This may be because I hail from the Protestant fold. “Corrects” seems to suugest that the Scriptures of Jesus’ day (Targums of, or the actual Tanakh) needed

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