Dialogue of religions on the universal values basis

Dialogue of religions on the universal values basis

Objective and versatile opposition of globalization and anti-globalism lead to growth of interdependence between people, cultures religions and to increase in level of interaction between cultures and civilizations. Globalization, giving new opportunities for exchange and integration into areas of economic, financial and information and technical resources, at the same time is a challenge in respect of preserving and promotion of rich intellectual and cultural diversity of mankind and civilizations. In this context the extreme importance gets strengthening of mutual understanding and establishing constructive interaction between various cultures and religions. Mutual understanding and readiness for dialogue with other religions, cultures, ethnos are important for social coherence and sustainable development. The synergy effect in the solution of these missions is capable to render interreligious and cross-cultural dialogue.

The contradiction of universal global values and requirements to keep on it’s fundamentality constitutes content and determines the direction of social changes in our globalizing world. This contradiction can be determined as collision of identities. In conditions of new social communications which are built within global information and communication networks, there is strengthening of primary identity, i.e. those steady elements of cultural models which are usually described as traditionalist (national culture, religious values, common law, etc.). At the same time if earlier appeal to traditionalist values was considered as opposition to modernization, then now primary identity acquires qualitatively new traits. Traditional installations are now reinterpreted and adapt to new social reality which is characterized by open and nonlinear development. In particular, it also refers to religious values, revival of interest in which reflects man’s need for steady ethical and moral guidelines. Accenting national feelings, religious values, people show themselves and others integrity of the consciousness and behavior, rejection of breaking it “alien” influences, durability of his communications with traditional community. It should be noted that quite often it conducts to the phenomena of aggressive nationalism and religious fundamentalism.

The religion acts as one of the most important factors of forming and determination of identity. Also, revival of religion, or so to say, “God’s revenge”, creates a basis for identification in participation of the community which is goes by far beyond national borders – for consolidation of civilizations. Religions as a result of globalization go beyond initial national geographical boundaries. That is religions, “facing” globalization processes, also undergo certain changes in the development. World religions can’t be perceived only as certain conservative and invariable facts of history. These are the phenomena which are in development and in it’s own way answering challenges of time and realities.

Inherently religion gravitates to traditional forms of social life. At the same time the situation develops in such a way, so that religion can be read in modern and a postmodern aspect. Therefore the analysis of religion’s meeting with global culture and how it can fit into this culture as the uniting, but not generating the new conflicts is necessary beginning. Studying of these processes is important for forming of dialogue between religions, cultures and nations in the modern globalized world. Note that appeal to the role of religion in determination of identity means search of those forms of spiritual experience which are generated by adequate social practices changes, allowing to find recovery way from crisis of identity, connecting it to a certain rationality. The danger arises when the speed of changes in life exceeds the speed of ours adaptation to them adaptation when events advance our understanding of them.

In this situation values and truth of religious cultures must be read not only within canonical classical approaches and, of course, not from the point of fundamentalism, but in the context of global dialogue of civilizations, in language of modern culture and philosophy. In conditions of promptly social reality changing the appeal to such dispute of religious and cultural identity which would give to the individual and society integrity and strong belief in values, would help to overcome collision of identities of traditional, modern and postmodern societies, “schism”, “hybridism”, “boundarity” of modern identities.
In situation of new challenge to modern society the eternal question of the world is of particular importance: what are the new forms or methods of peoples’ coexistence of various cultures and confessions. Today’s picture of interreligious relations in the world is complicated and ambiguous, saturated of contradictory tendencies and factors. In much higher degree modern situation is characterized by aggravation of various religious-based conflicts. All this occurs on the background of global migration processes, when new areas are added to former of interreligious contacts. Modern world connected by global interdependence needs new approach to the analysis of cultural and religious diversity and the prospects of establishing interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue. In conditions of multiple and dynamic identity acceptance in society the following questions are discussed: in what measure between us distinctions are admissible? How similar we shall be? Recognition of multiple originality involves serious transformation of public consciousness.

Whether global dialogue between civilizations, cultures and religions is possible in that case? One of the most important borders separating one civilization from another is religion. Even within Christian religion it’s arch difficult to adjust dialogue between its different branches – Orthodoxy, Protestantism and Catholicism. Does the mankind really expects the scenario of “collision of civilizations”?

On the other hand, today, when integration, migration and globalization promote establishment of more and more close relations between various races, cultures, and nations, to speak about religious exclusiveness or about division of the world by civilization religiously principle would be not absolutely correct. The same person can have a set of the most different identities (language family, culture, religion, ethnos, nationality). And when variety of identities is put under question, any way of life is rejected, when there is a threat to the fundamental liberty of choice, conflicts become at most inevitable.

It should be noted that interreligious dialogue with all it’s relevance and demand remains still low-researched phenomenon. In general it’s possible to state, as in understanding of semantics of “dialogue of religions”, uncertainty and ambiguity block it’s way, and many specialists in general are skeptical about such opportunity. In modern, dynamically changing world there is a shift, erasing the boundaries. dividing once “ours” from “aliens”. The category of “we” finds new enlarged sense. The characteristics which were once seeming “alien” become more habitual and familiar.
Awareness of various cultures, regions, identities not as threats, but as realities of the world shall serve “overcoming barriers” for dialogue between civilizations. The division which became axiomatic on “we – others” isn’t any more so categorical as can allow also other intermediate, transitional characteristics connected with interaction, a variety and plurality of cultures.

It means that the former cultural stereotypes dominating in peoples’ and societies’ consciousness throughout the millennia and interfering dialogue between them begin to change. As a result, all derivative cultures, in particular religions, receive new measurement. In this situation tough differentiation between religions doesn’t answer time challenges any more. Moreover, it becomes not only unproductive, but also (in view of politicization of religions) absolutely harmful. Relevant is an understanding of religion in the context of the certain cultures (interacting among themselves or isn’t present).

The lack of dialogue can lead to misunderstanding, intensity, collisions. And the international order based on dialogue is the most reliable measure of prevention of collision between civilizations. Dialogue is possible only between those who are capable to overcome the narrow horizon of the identity, to rise over it, having joined thereby in broader communication system of relations. Those who, having realized the identity not similar to others, at the same time realize also the communication with others participate in it. Dialogue also exists for the sake of establishment of this communication, for the sake of achievement of mutual consent between people, between nations. In our promptly changing world dialogue between religions and cultures is necessary for maintenance of the single all-civilization field, universal space.

Philosophical judgment of questions of identity in the modern globalized world is necessary in respect of the effective policy forming of cross-cultural and interreligious dialogue answering the challenges of time, search of the new reference points of development relying on multi-vision of the global world and multi-identity of the modern person.
But still, one country deserves special mention – India. One of the most ancient states, religions, cultures, civilizations. Although nowadays it is officially – the largest democratic state with 2nd population and 3rd economy in the world it still somehow maintains the balance of modern and ancient aspects. India still has (although of course much modernized) strict caste system and keep their ancient traditions and culture clean, pure and unchanged. But it’s not an obstacle for India to share it’s enormous heritage with the entire world.

Firstly we must mention of the best known “invents” came from India – Yoga – a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which were originated in Ancient India. It becomes more and more widespread and extended with each year and allows it’s students and followers to understand Indian culture, religion and mentality.
Also we must mention about the Jagannath Temple in Puri. For many centuries it was forbidden for non-hindu people due to cultural and religious aspects and untrusty attitude to Europeans. And only today, in 2018 Supreme Court of India decided to open the temple for everyone and even to prevent illegal money collecting. Judges decided that it was wrong to seal their main sanctum from the world, meaning it was a false way to protect the purity of it’s religion and culture. “Secularism merely means that no religion has the monopoly of religious wisdom” – said the bench, quoting from a book, written by the former Chief Justice of India, PB Gajendragadkar. Strange that understanding of such thing came only now, but better later, than never.

CIPDH Expert

Dr. Koramangala Jayaram Purshotam.