Ground Rules for Inter-religious, Inter-ideological Dialogue:
These principles of dialogue were formulated by Professor Leonard Swidler of Temple University. The text is printed in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies 20:1 (1984).
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.
Inter-religious, inter-ideological dialogue must be a two-sided project within each religious or ideological community and between religious or ideological communities.
Each participant must come to the dialogue with complete honesty and sincerity.
In inter-religious, inter-ideological 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.
Each participant must define himself… Conversely, the interpreted must be able to recognize herself in the interpretation.
Each participant must come to the dialogue with no hard-ançl-fast assumptions as to where the points of disagreement are.
Dialogue can take place only between equals… Both must come to learn from each other.
Dialogue can take place only on the basis of mutual trust.
Persons entering into inter-religious, inter-ideological dialogue must be at least minimally self-critical of both themselves and their own religious or ideological traditions.
Each participant eventually must attempt to experience the partner's religion or ideology 'from within'; for a religion or ideology is not merely something of the head, but also of the spirit, heart, and 'whole being,' individual and communal.
Three Goals of Interreligious Dialogue
- To know oneself ever more profoundly and enrich and round out one's appreciation of one's own faith tradition
- To know the other ever more authentically and gain a friendly understanding of others as they are and not in caricature
- To live ever more fully accordingly and to establish a more solid foundation for community of life and action among persons of various traditions
(Leonard Swidler, Toward a Unlversal Theology of Religion, p. 26)