Jewish - Christian - Muslim Trialogue (Kennedy Institute of Ethics in Washington)
Stati Uniti d'America 1979The members of the Jewish-Christian-Muslim Trialogue, sponsored by the Kennedy Institute of Ethics in Washington, D.C., have agreed to issue a "Joint Statement of Goals and Directions". In it, the group, which includes prominent scholars of each of the three great monotheistic traditions of Abrahamic origin, dedicates itself to the "intensive study of our three traditions" in order to promote an "accurate understanding of each tradition in itself" and in relation to the others.
Joint Statement of Goals and Directions
I. Overall Purpose:
The Jewish-Christian-Muslim Trialogue is to be a regular meeting of individuals who are both scholars in and committed to Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. We come together not only as scholars, but as men and women of faith whose traditions, Abrahamic in origin, affirm God the Creator, who makes moral demands on and offers hope to all people and all nations. Our purpose is to engage together in an intensive study of our three traditions in order to promote an accurate understanding of each tradition in itself and in the history of its interaction with the other traditions.
II. Shared Hopes and Tasks
What we share, at the outset of this three-way engagement, is both simple and immensely difficult to articulate, even on the preliminary level. Minimally, we share the belief that understanding rather than ignorance, fact rather than fancy, and reasoned exchange rather than blind assumption will provide a surer basisfor peace among our communities, Jewish, Christian and Muslim.
We share a common belief that although religion has played a role in the conflicts which plague the world today, in the Middle East and elsewhere, religion has the potential for being a large part of the solution. Hence we share a common hope that the potential for peace lies within the three traditions we represent.
Knowing, as we do, something of the use and abuse to which our religious beliefs have been put in the past, we realize that transcending the history of conflict will not be easy. We agree that essential and central elements in each tradition call for, indeed demand of their adherents that they make such an effort.
III. Goals of the Group
In the face of such a complex set of interrelationships as exists among the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions and communities, the initial goals of this group must be modest and general. They are:
1) to learn in systematic fashion what each of our religious communities believes and practises;
2) to learn how each of our traditions views the others;
3) to be open to the fresh insights and creative solutions to long-standing problems which may emerge from our discussions, but which would not have been conceivable to any of us working in isolation. (Standing as we are at the beginning of this three-way religious dialogue, it is impossible to say what such insights might be. But experience in other ecumenical and interreligious dialogues provides a sound basis for our hope that they do lie over the horizon of our present views and knowledge of each other);
4) to share what we learn with our co-religionists, in ways appropriate to us as scholars, individually and as a group.
IV. Characteristics of the Group
1) We meet as a group of individual scholars, not as official representatives of our religious communities.
2) The scholars invited will consist of those expert in modern methods of the study of religion, including most importantly their own.
3) Each scholar undestands him/herself as deeply committed to his/her own religious community and to interreligious dialogue.
4) To make substantive progress, the group sees that it will need:
a) to meet regularly (approximately every six months);
b) to be composed of essentially the same persons, with others brought in only to meet specific needs or to provide specific "outside" expertise;
c) to set its own agenda and to produce its own scholarly research where necessary, while utilizing existing resources where possible.
5) The group will focus its attention on religious subjects of common interest to all three religious communities. It will dedicate itself to the search for affirmations that are both authentically founded in each of our own unique traditions and at the same time can assist our communities to achieve positive religious stances toward each other.
Finally, we are greatly encouraged by the fact, that, today, such a task, however complex it might prove to be, can even be conceived as a possibility. Our three faiths call their adherents toward the ultimate peace of humanity as a common destiny and goal. Within the vortex of truly awesome events in which we stand in the latter portion of this twentieth century, we recognize that religion remains a powerful force moving human beings. It is a force which needs to be understood and channelled with hope.
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