‎“Is The Emerging Inter Faith Dialogue A Wake Up Call?”‎

1041 words - 5 pages

Buddhism and Christianity have been increasingly engaging in an inter-‎faith dialogue in an effort to better inform the respective views of each religious ‎tradition. Those who are engaging in such dialogues are not interested in, or ‎attempting to merge Buddhism and Christianity into one religion. Rather, their ‎aim is to create a conceptual language framework, which promotes a dialogue ‎leading to greater understanding of the value one religion can add to the other. ‎John Makransky and Paul knitter are two pioneers in the new phenomenon ‎known as engaged Buddhism. However, opposing approaches exist in how said ‎dialogue is being done.‎
Makransky’s approach is one of comparative theology, ...view middle of the document...

In direct contrast to Paul Knitter’s approach, which ‎is to finding answers to questions in his Christian religion by reaching out to ‎Buddhism, Makransky chose a comparative method to answer his main question, ‎‎“How is one to learn things for Buddhist understanding from Christian theology” ‎‎(1)? ‎
It is difficult to explain in interreligious dialogue context, the reasons that ‎would lead an ordained priest or monk to cross over to another religion for ‎answers one cannot find within his own religion without becoming the subject of ‎deep misunderstanding. In his book “Without Buddha I would not be a ‎Christian”, Knitter who is a former ordained priest, decided to follow this very ‎path. However, to knitter, it was best to experience it than to create a framework ‎for comparative discourse. His initial approach of combining “human experience” ‎with “Christian theology” did not become complete until he added other religions ‎into his toolbox of theological resources (Knitter, 7). ‎
The dialogue between members of different religions can be an enriching ‎experience, as long as there is an understanding and at least some sensitivity to ‎the other’s concern. Makransky’s experience falls on the other side of the ‎spectrum. To him, comparative theology serves the purpose of learning “from a ‎different religious tradition in enough depth and specificity to shine significant ‎new light on your own” (Makransky, 121). He did not intend to learn from a ‎distance; his intentions were for his own religious beliefs to be affected and ‎illumed by Christian theologians. Makransky argues that the stories of our own ‎tradition are essential in our lives because they help orient our religious ‎identities and ways of being and understanding (127). ‎
However, we all tend to get trapped in the stories of our own tradition, ‎becoming imprisoned in the narratives of our lives in ways not fully ‎understandable to us. For this reason, he argued that we are dependent upon ‎religious “others” to liberate us from bondage to our own stories, he stated that ‎‎“people of each tradition have much to learn from religious others, precisely ‎because of their otherness” (Makransky, 129). Religious others may empower in ‎the course of their practices and through their framework by showing certain ‎aspects of an...

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