It Takes Two for a Dialogue

Posted in Other | 26-Feb-05 | Author: Dieter Farwick

There are a lot of people asking for a dialogue between Christians and Muslims. There is an urgent need for such dialogue. Christians are asked to contact Muslims, visit the mosques and start a “critical” dialogue in their neighborhoods. There are a lot of well-intended initiatives, but progress is close to zero.

There are mainly two reasons for this:

  • Christians are quite often weak in presenting their religion to Muslims.

  • On the other hand, Muslims are masters at hiding their real views. Deception – taquiya - is considered a Muslim art and virtue.

Therefore – no dialogue ? There must be dialogue , but it is necessary to make some serious preparations for this – on both sides. Both sides must learn more about their own religion and about other religions. The following four steps can lead us in the right direction:

  • One: Educate people to exercise tolerance – starting already in “kindergarten”

  • Two: Revise the school books – delete all elements of hatred and intolerance

  • Three: Start an “informed dialogue” at the local level to build confidence

  • Four: Strengthen the moderates – isolate the views of extremists

No one should be forced to give up his or her beliefs. However, a Christian living in an Islamic or Hindu state has to adjust to the laws and rules of that particular country, just as a Muslim must do the same when living in a country that is primarily Christian. No individual can claim that his own state's order, laws, justice and rules overrule those of the host country where he/she is residing. Individuals who fight against the laws and rules of the host country should be forced to leave the host country.

The majority of moderate believers should distance themselves from the minority of extremists and terrorists. They should not hide or support the extremists and terrorists.

In his newsletter, Knut Bültemeier offers another attempt to differentiate between the small minority of extremists and terrorists and the majority of moderates. He concludes with some recommendations on how the West should act and react.