The “Dialogue Decalogue” and New Religious Movements

I mentioned earlier John Moorhead’s reflection on the application of Leonard Swidler’s “Dialogue Decalogue” to the Evangelical/ Mormon conversation (see Moorhead’s Musings). Last week, he followed up with a conversation with Jesuit John Saliba, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Detroit Mercy, who teaches New Religious Movements there.

Swidler’s “Decalogue” was originally formulated for Christian/ Jewish dialogue, and Swidler himself modified it over the years to include encounters with other religious traditions. Still, Saliba notes, the guidelines assume an ongoing conversation between long-standing religious traditions. But the dialogue with New Religious Movements may require slightly different rules. “Dialogue between traditional religions and NRMs must take into account several new factors,” Saliba says. “Till recently at least, most members of NRMs have been converts to the new religions. Some many harbor some dissatisfaction with the religions of their upbringing. Some modifications of the Swidler’s rules are necessary for dialogue with NRMs. Since some dialogue has in fact taken place, one can start by observation what went well and what didn’t in such interactions. But one must note that just as Christians have to be educated in the process of dialogue, so have members of NRMs.”

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About D Andrew Kille

Editor of the Bible Workbench
This entry was posted in 10 Commandments of Dialogue, Christianity, National, New Religious Movements, Theory. Bookmark the permalink.

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