May 19, 2005
The Ten Commandments for Inter-Religious And Ideological Dialogue: Can They Be Used As A Guide To More Productive Blog Commentary?Topics: Commentary
Over the past weeks, BlogsForTerri has seen much dialogue which more often than not became heated and argumentative. Often, it served as much as a discussion board as it did a source of information, and the discussions sometimes became just a little too argumentative. So I asked my good friend and fellow vet, John Kieffer, if he knew of some guidelines that would be useful for not only BlogsForTerri, but for use at most blog sites where posts often draw a lot of heated debate. This post on Leonard Swidler's "The Dialogue Decalogue," with John's accompanying comments, is offered by John toward that purpose. John's academic field is religious studies.
- "Dialogue Decalogue" by John Kieffer.
1. The primary purpose of dialogue is to learn, that is, to change and grow in the perception and understanding of reality, and then to act accordingly.
2. Dialogue must be a two-sided project - within each religious or ideological community and between religious or ideological communities.
3. Each participant must come to the dialogue with complete honesty and sincerity. (Conversely - each participant must assume a similar complete honesty and sincerity in the other partners.)
4. In dialogue we must not compare our ideals with our partner's practice, but rather our ideals with our partner's ideals, our practice with our partner's practice.
5. Each participant must define her/himself (their own religious worldview).
6. Each participant must come to the dialogue with no hard-and-fast assumptions as to where the points of disagreements are.
7. Dialogue can take place only between equals. If a participant representing a differing religion is viewed by the other as inferior, no dialogue can occur.
8. Dialogue can take place only on the basis of mutual trust.
9. Persons entering into dialogue must be at least minimally self-critical of both themselves and their own religious or ideological traditions.
10. Each participant eventually must attempt to experience the partner's religion or ideology "from within."
I recommend that you read Swidler's short essay that elaborates on each of these ten rules. Once you have done this, you can do a little exercise that we, in religious studies, have done in several class settings. Write down which of the ten rules would be the easiest for you to do and why; conversely, write which one would be the most difficult and why. Once you have engaged in dialogue, go back from time to time and re-think/write these most easy/difficult commandments and compare how they have changed as you progress in this venture. It would be interesting to hear from HyScience and BlogsForTerri participants to see how their perceptions and views have evolved.
Cross posted by Hyscience
Posted by richard at May 19, 2005 8:31 PM
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