Friday, October 25, 2019
Women and Interfaith Dialogue :: Essays Papers
Women and Interfaith Dialogue The word dialogue implies a personal encounter, a meeting face to face, where the aim is not to change the other partner in the dialogue, but to risk being changed through the process. For women, the main point of dialogue is to build relationships or to conserve them. "Dialogue among women are more life-oriented; they come out of actual experiences, and they are more clearly oriented to bringing about concrete changes in perception and practice at the very basic level of the lives of people." Women's dialogical practice is an alternative to the traditional men's approach. Most men approach their religious tradition primarily with an intellectual, theological, and doctrinaire commitment. Women's religious positions, however, are not as strict as men's. They initiate discussion, reflection, dialogue, and different opinions. It accentuates the diversity of life styles, types of thinking, tolerance and freedom in expressing individuals' ambitions, and it distinguishes the unique charact er of personalities. There are discernible differences between men and women in their approach to and practice of dialogue; however, these generalizations are not made to stereotype all men as exclusively intellectual and dogmatic and all women as experiential and instinctive. This is not an attempt to idealize women and the dialogue among them; it is only to emphasize the distinctive features that characterize dialogue among women, and introduce some of the conflicts and obstacles that arise. The first unique characteristic of dialogue is the ability of a group of women from all different religious traditions to bond. Women develop interfaith understanding through their relationships with other women. Women tend to know the person first and her faith second. It is through such intentional relationship building that women relate to each other best. In experiencing the other, women also come to know themselves better. They are able to confirm their own faith, convert to another tradition, or become educated about another religious community that exists. As a result, interfaith dialogue enables women to understand each other, other faiths, and their own traditions. In a meeting of men, such a diverse group might have become rather controversial. The second factor is women's flexible approach in representing their traditions. In religious dialogue women tend to make contributions based on the content of their religion in scripture and tradition without being defensive or obstinate. In general, women seem to have a more tolerant understanding of religion, while most men approach their religious tradition as a responsibility that has become part of their understanding of life and reality.