First rule for dialogue: Acceptance of our common humanity
Max Warren’s first rule for true dialogue between Christians and people of other faiths, is the acceptance of our common humanity. What he means is that two religions are not in dialogue with each other, but two people. I found the following quote interesting: “Christianity cannot have any relationship with other religions. No more can Hinduism or Buddhism or Islam. To think that they can have such a relationship is a purely academic exercise which very soon leads to that preposterous parody of real life – the study of comparative religion … What you can get is men of religion meeting one another and seeking to discover what it is that their respective religions mean to them” According to Acts 17:26-28 we all originate from the same source, whoever we are. All of us have sinned and all of us are in need of salvation.
In all my years of theological study, I don’t think anything made a bigger impression upon myself than a single sentence I read in one of my text books. D T Niles was quoted: “A Christian witness is not like a rich man who has a lot of bread which he hands out to the poor beggars who have nothing. He is rather like one beggar who tells another beggar where he has found bread.”
Could such an attitude become a better foundation for true dialogue?