Interfaith Dialogue Based On Ethics Not Politics

By: Aeneas Lavinium

In item 9 of the ICLA Mission Statement we make a commitment to engage in interfaith dialogue. In the spirit of this commitment we are now engaging with a new organization called Ethical Interfaith. It introduces itself in the following terms:

“This interfaith group is for people of all faiths who are for human rights, who have a generally shared ethics, and who openly renounce any parts of their religions that are not for these rights. This is something relatively new for the world.”

In recent times the concept of ‘interfaith dialogue’ has been abused. It has been used as a tool for bullying, a tool to impose the values of sharia, a tool to discourage rather than encourage open and honest debate. This one sided exchange is not dialogue but the imposition of dogma. It has been driven by political imperatives rather than those of a more ethical nature. We feel that Ethical Interfaith will provide an antidote to the unethical interfaith dialogue that has been predominant.

In the video clip below, Elsa Schieder of Ethical Interfaith introduces the concept of Reality Based Ethics. This concept forms the intellectual basis for the proposed dialogue (more related videos can be found HERE):

Just to remind people, the part of the ICLA Mission Statement that deals with interfaith dialogue reads as follows:

(9) Interfaith Dialogue
Encouraging individuals and organisations to engage in useful and respectful interfaith dialogue, and exposing any fraud attempted in such dialogues. This includes requesting of relevant parties that they be clear and explicit in their communications, and that sincere efforts be undertaken to uphold any agreements reached. Promoting the abolition of detrimental religious dogma, for instance by having Islamic organisations sign on to A Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding by Sam Solomon.”

Ethical Interfaith seems a very appropriate framework in which we can put forward our own ideas and debate the issues with others willing to engage in proper discussion and dialogue. We look forward to working with others who genuinely want to create a more free and tolerant world. We hope that groups from all religions will use Ethical Interfaith as a forum to increase their understanding of each other.