Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Interfaith dialogue and Religionrap

About 10-15 years ago I belonged to the RELIGION conference on the RIME BBS network. It was an interesting forum where people of different religious backgrounds and traditions discussed various topics and learnt about each other’s beliefs and practices.

BBS networks and forums began to die after 2000, partly because much of the software that made them so useful was not Y2K compatible, and there were bugs in the date format, and partly because Windows 95 and later versions hid the software one needed to access BBS networks.

But I still miss that forum.

There were interesting people there, like Deke Barker, Soonand Myosurus, Jon Eveland and many more.

Recently there has been a proposal for an interfaith synchroblog. That is OK, but it is not really the best medium for interfaith dialogue. In a blog individuals express their views, and people can respond to each individual by way of comments. But there is no real back-and-forth discussion.

A couple of us have therefore started an interfaith discussion forum, called Religionrap. I hope that if any of the people from the old RIME religion conference are around and see this, they may join in. I hope that the people who want an interfaith synchroblog will also join in — after all, there has to be somewhere where one can discuss the topic for the next synchroblog, and some of the points raised in the synchroblog.

For anyone interested, the people who started it are me, Steve Hayes, an Orthodox Christian from South Africa, and Yvonne Aburrow, a Wiccan Unitarian from England. For the time being we are the moderators, to try to keep discussion civil.

Group Email Addresses

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5 thoughts on “Interfaith dialogue and Religionrap

  1. Yvonne on said:

    I’ve posted about it at Metapagan » Interfaith dialogue and synchroblog.

    The way I had envisaged the synchroblog part working is that we would all blog on the chosen topic (such as spiritual formation, what interfaith dialogue means to us, the environment, or whatever) from our personal perspective, and then comment on each other’s blog posts (that’s where the dialogue part comes in).

    I like the new look of your blog, by the way.

  2. Wiccan?

    Where do we start on this, Steve? I mean we can have an interfaith between rationalists, satanists, gnostics and Christians but what does that achieve? You could have a fulfilling discussion with Dawkins but where does it lead?

  3. Better understanding?

    You might not end up agreeing, in fact it is very unlikely that you would, but it is better to disagree with what people actually believe than with a wildly distorted figment of your imagination.

  4. I’m the last one to encourage any bigotry against a group based on things they can’t alter – colour, hair, gender etc.

    But there are divisions based on behaviour stemming from belief. It’s true that the average Wiccan and Muslim are not all that orthodox and therefore dialogue is possible but the spokespeople for them are.

    The essential problem for the Christian is that he has to be Christian, that is welcoming to all God’s children but other religions, forgive me, are quite the opposite. Plus there is a dogma attached to Christianity in the form of the gospels and unfortunately for interfaith, it says there is one way.

    You’ve not seen me push this other than a reference to John 3:16 at my place, Steve but it is the fulcrum around which the whole thing pivots. The only way an interfaith dialogue can work and again – forgive me if this is already your intention, is to speak of nothing religious or faith based whatever.

    In other words, it’s just an international meeting of people drinking tea and swapping yarns. I’m not trying to rain on the parade, Steve but those were the immediate thoughts which crossed the mind.

    • I learned a great deal from the previous forum, mainly about Judaism, the Bah’ai faith, and Wicca.

      Among other things, I leaned that adherents of the Bah’ai faith like to speak of the Bah’ai faith, but Jews do not like the term “the Jewish faith”, they prefer to be called Jews and their religion is Judaism. They also dislike the term “Judaeo-Christian” and regard it as patronising, and condescending in the bad sense.

      I think that Christians, Jews and Muslims could profit from such discussions, though I doubt that Christianists, Zionists and Islamists will. Nor, probably could the adherents of Hindutva.

      From a Christian point of view, I think I agree with the person who said that our task is not to convert people, that is the Holy Spirit’s work. Our task, and it is enough for us to be getting on with it without bothering about anything else, is to see that if people accept Christ, then they accept the true Christ and not a caricature of him, and that if they reject Christ, then they reject the true Christ, and not a caricature.

      And there are a lot of caricatures around.

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