I submit that perspective is half the battle. Those of us trading comments on this blog are similar in the sense that we are sufficiently interested to comment in ethical or religious matters. We are perhaps of the more sensitive sort, being oriented behind the lining of an existence that others take at face value and simply live out. So when I’m reading a comment here, I don’t really stop to ask..is this person Catholic? The differences between our vantage-points within this domain are dwarfed by how different we are from those people who are primarily interested in what the stock market is doing today or who is playing tomorrow. Too often in religious discussions, we lose sight of this distance and overstate the extent of our own differences. That there isn’t more fellow-feeling simply a grace de our shared interest in the domain suggests to me that we might be taking the obvious for granted. A shared recognition of our domain-interest could act as a check on the overstating of differences that is unfortunately typical in interreligious dialogue.
Just as a spiritual pursuit involves assuming a perspective that includes transcending our realm, interreligious dialogue has as its perspective the distance existing between the table and the stock-ticker or sports stadium. Concentrating on maintaining such a perspective can draw on the same sort of concentration that one uses to transcend the world in entering into a religious experience. I don’t think, however, that the religious perspective of transcendence of this realm is suffiicent for interreligious dialogue. Hence, I add here an inter-domain perspective wherein all participants at the table are essentially one point in being sufficiently interested in religion as distinct from other competing domains such as government, business, hollywood and sports. Viewing the chasm existing between these domains and religion, one’s perspective changes regarding the other people sitting at the table of interreligious dialogue. Suddenly nuanced differences in cognitive beliefs or rites become less important as we gain a sense of being on the same planet of religiosity.
Gaining and achieving perspective is at least half the battle. One could call this: having a sense of what really matters rather than trying to get everything one wants. Too often, religious discussion is simply an exchange of veiled self-centeredness. So humility is perhaps the rest of the battle.