THEOLOGY OF DIALOGUE


Rev. Dr. Selvam Robertson
THEOLOGY OF DIALOGUE
Introduction
Plurality of religion is as old as human history but what is new now is religious pluralism.  It is the recognition of the real existence of different religions and their history and to sincerely attempt to live together. This process has necessitated the planning and programs of dialogue. Dialogue is not only between different faith traditions but also with ideologies both political or any for that matter.
In the first place there are many factors that have contributed to the development of “dialogue”, particularly interreligious. Secondly there were genuine attempts whether relevant or otherwise in today’s context, by both catholic and protestant churches and individual thinkers /theologians which have moved the discussion on dialogue much forward. In the third place, these initial attempts have contributed to some of the major developments in the contemporary debates on dialogue among religions and ideologies. In the fourth place, the paradigm of dialogue is often attacked as Christian attempt to continue mission, particularly in Indian context. And finally it is useful to present a “life sustaining” paradigm to continue practicing dialogue in a multi-faith and ideologies context.

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTED FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
Humanity has always lived in the midst of many religions and ideologies consciously or otherwise. Now there is a need to willfully develop principles to live together in harmony and fellowship for the larger good of the globe. This was obvious from the later part of nineteenth century may be because of the following reasons.  They can be discussed under general and Indian reasons.
            In general European geographical explorations in the 15th to 17th centuries stimulated a new interest in other religions.[1]  It challenged the superiority and relevance of Christianity to be the only world religion.  It also encouraged missionary zeal but definitely broadened the understanding of early Christians and missionaries about their relation to the people of other faith-traditions. 
            Collapse of colonial power, particularly in Asia and Africa, helped revival ‘of indigenous cultural and religious values of the people of the liberated nations’.[2]  It was ‘only a couple of decades after the dismantling of colonialism that both the Vatican (1965) and the World Council of Churches (1971) came out rather reluctantly, with more positive statements about people of other faiths’.[3] 
Modern technology, scientific developments and advancements in
communication have reduced the world to a global village.  People of different religious persuasions often come face to face.  They are ‘exposed to mutual claims and commitments’.[4] Towards the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, these developments helped people to encounter each other as never before. Added to this was ‘study of the religious traditions’ which ‘helped people to change their attitudes to religious traditions other than their own’.[5]
            Knowledge of other faith traditions and setting up of departments of religious studies in the universities for the study of religions supplied Christians, ‘for the first time, with full factual information on the other world religions’.[6]  John Hick calls this as ‘the modern explosion of knowledge among Christians in the west concerning the other great religious traditions of the world’.[7]  This has become one of the ‘greatest challenges to Christian theology today’.[8]  It is not just religious knowledge about other religions but also ‘knowledge of other religious persons’.[9]  The study has helped realize the ‘humanity’s multi-religious context’.[10] 
The Sacred Books of the East edited by Max Muller brought to light the Eastern faith-traditions. As a result ‘there is in the West a growing interest in openness toward Eastern religions’.[11]  Thousands of Westerners, especially the young, journey to India each year in quest of religious experiences. ‘Hindu ashrams and Buddhist monasteries are built in Western countries, which attract significant number of devotees’.[12] It is also suggested that “inter-Faith Dialogue is the natural outcome and the direct result of the challenging encounter of Christianity with Hinduism, after a hundred and fifty years of missionary activity on the Indian soil.”[13]
With the Rise of Islam ‘the Christian Church was faced for the first time with a new and powerful missionary religion’.[14]  Further, ‘far from disappearing, the religions of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are alive and well in spite of all the Christian missionary efforts’.[15]
Struggle of the oppressed people who belong to different religions and cultures, for a life of freedom, self-respect and human dignity, prompted religions probably to come together and work together.[16]  There was also the realization that “the problem of the relations between the religions of the world is decisive in the quest for world peace and community”.[17] 
From academic point of view, Ernst Troeltsch in 1902, in his book The Absoluteness of Christianity and the History of Religions, ‘called into question Christianity’s claim to absoluteness’.[18] 
Historically, due to the ‘the rise of secularism and materialism’ after the world wars,  the members of the Jerusalem Meeting of the International Missionary Council called on the followers of other religions to cooperate with them to fight against these evils.[19]
Although India witnessed a negative Christian attitude towards people of other faiths, ‘the freedom struggle brought together large number of Hindus, Muslims and Christians’.[20]

 

ORTHODOX APPROACHES

It is true that Christian attitude towards other religions has always been evolving and accordingly Catholic and Protestant churches have responded. These responses, though, in early stages, orthodox in nature have yielded scope for more relevant and positive approaches leading to dialogue.
Christianity, even from ‘apostolic times’[21], attempted to influence other religions, often shrewdly. Such attempts continued during the second and third centuries of the Common Era. It took back seat for almost one thousand five hundred years and “in the nineteenth century it began to appear again as an issue of major importance for the church and in our day it is perhaps more vital than ever before”.[22]  The missionary attitude to Hinduism during the early part of 19th century was ‘one of stark hostility’.[23]  It, of course, changed at the end of the century.
            The traditional Catholic attitude toward other faith-traditions as fond in the declaration of the Council of Florence (1438-45) is that “there is no salvation outside the Church”.[24]  The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) decided more positively and declared that “She therefore urges her sons, using prudence and charity, to join members of other religions in discussions and collaboration.  While bearing witness to their own Christian faith and life, they must acknowledge those good spiritual and moral elements and social and cultural values found in other religions, and preserve and encourage them.”[25]  This helped the Indian church to be open and encouraged the initial efforts of Indian Christians to relate with others.
The Protestants maintained that there was no salvation outside Christianity.  Only in the first International Missionary Council in Edinburgh in 1910, for the first time, they discussed ‘missionary approach to other religions’.[26]  The commission for the International Missionary Council ‘reiterated its conviction that the Christian attitude to Hinduism, notwithstanding the elements which the Christian must reject, should be one of understanding and sympathy’.[27] The Second IMC at Jerusalem in 1928 paid major attention to secularism and the relation between older and younger churches.  However, ‘in spite of these stated new priorities, when the preparatory meeting listed the priority issues for commission work, Christian relationship to other faith was at the top’.[28]  There was also a demand ‘to respect the religious sentiments of the people of other religions’.[29] The next missionary conference at Tambaram in 1938 was dominated by Hendric Kraemer’s The Christian Message in a Non-Christian World.   His radically negative attitude towards other religions was vehemently criticized by the Indian theologians.  The subsequent IMCs followed a more positive outlook about others. The World Council of Churches adopted positive attitude towards others. It formed a subunit called “Dialogue with people of living faiths and ideologies”, in 1977 and WCC issued a set of guidelines for dialogue with the people of living faiths and ideologies. 

THEOLOGICAL STANDPOINTS PRIOR TO DIALOGUE
Alan Race categorized these theological developments as Exclusivism, inclusivism and relativism.
Exclusivists hold that, ‘only one’s own religion is true and good; others are erroneous, false or evil’.  For Karl Barth ‘Christianity was revelation and all other religions are religions’.  He held that “religion is unbelief”[30] and Church is the locus of true religion because it is founded on the basis of revelation.  Following Barth, Hendrik Kraemer suggested “Biblical Realism” i.e.  Church is revealed in the Bible and is absolutely true.  He claimed ‘as the Christian faith is the crisis of all religions, so the Christian ethic is the crisis of all ethic and ethics’.[31]  In contrast to W.E. Hocking’s ‘reconception’ he held the ‘theory of discontinuity’[32] in line with Karl Barth. David Lochhead held ‘God’s activity in Jesus Christ cannot be equivalent to any other act’.[33]  A.C. Bouquet maintained that Christianity ‘is the true and best of all faith, rich in marvelous recuperative powers and in the capacity for objective self-criticism’.[34] Ajith Fernando viewed that ‘the Christian approaches the unbelievers with a sense of authority wholly derived from God whose word he proclaims’.[35]
Inclusivist/fulfillment model considers that ‘all religions are inspired and empowered by God but find their fulfillment only in one religion or saviour’.  T. Slater, who laid the foundation for fulfillment theology, said ‘all those noble and true in the non-Christian religions would be taken over into Christianity for their complete fulfillment’. J. N. Farquhar (The Crown of Hinduism), demanded ‘the death of Hinduism in order to give place to Christianity’. William Miller, the principal of Madras Christian College envisaged this fulfillment to take place, ‘not by replacement or extinction of Hinduism but through the simultaneous development of all higher religions along with Christianity into a world religion with Christ as the centre’.[36] Karl Rahner said ‘the religious people who are outside the visible Christianity are “anonymous Christians”.[37]  Kenneth Cragg moved forward from ‘unknown Christ’ or the ‘anonymous Christ’ of other faiths and said ‘they know him by their own naming’.[38]  Hans Kung argued   ‘though the religions of the world are ways of salvation for their followers, their salvation will have to be confirmed finally by the saviour of the world, Jesus Christ through communion with him’.  Paul Tillich ‘affirmed that the crucified Jesus is the most valuable criterion for discerning God’s activity within the non-Christian religions’.[39]  Heinz Robert Schlette held “the ordinary ways of salvation represented by the religions lead to the one living God, it is true, but, relatively speaking they are paths through the darkness while the extraordinary way of special sacred history, that is to say now, the Church, is one which leads through clear light”.[40] Jacques Dupuis was also of the opinion that “far from fostering exclusivism, Christian Christocentrism is capable of integrating, in their difference, all religious experiences into a truly Catholic – inclusive and universal theology”.[41] 
Most of the inclusivists hold either uniqueness of Jesus Christ or Christocentrism. Some argued for universality of Jesus while others ‘Christ is the answer to the aspirations of the world.  Hence, Eeuwout Klootwijk asked, “When we start from inclusivist premises, can any dialogue between people of different faiths be a real dialogue”.[42]
Relativist view holds that all religions are equal and that lead to the same goal.  Hence the question of uniqueness does not arise here. Arnold Toynbee the famous historian advocated relativist view. For him all religions come from God and they represent some fact of God’s truth.  He wrote “I think that it is possible for us, while holding that our own convictions are true and right, to recognize that, in some measure, all the higher religions are also revelations of what is true and right”.[43]  And “we should recognize that they too are light radiating from the same source from which our own religion derives its spiritual light”.[44]  Ernst Troeltsch was another scholar who held relativist perspective in his refined scholarly works. 
A. Pushparajan is of the view that ‘Christianity should accept equality of all religions’.[45]  Arvind Nirmal criticized relativist approach as “any talk of a radical relativization of all religions’ tends to undermine religions”.[46]  According to Panikkar relativism ‘overlooks the concrete and historical religious situation of real people’.[47]  P.D. Devanandan, (Preparation for Dialogue) was also critical of it.  S.J. Samartha, says, “the affirmation that all religions are the same makes little room for critical interaction between them”.[48]

THEOLOGIES THAT LED TO DIALOGUE
            It was pluralist theology that culminated in interreligious dialogue. It holds that ‘the different religions are unique, thereby necessitating mutually critical and enriching dialogue’.  Pluralism seeks ‘mutual recognition of one another’s truths and values, in order for truth itself to come into proper focus’.[49] Pluralism ‘rejects the claims of any particular responses to be absolute’[50]  and “pluralism is not synonymous with tolerance toward a multitude of opinions.  Pluralism climaxes in acknowledging the unimaginable, that which is absurd for me and, to a certain degree, unbearable to me”.[51]  John Hick says Pluralism includes the process of ‘transformation of human existence from self-centeredness to reality-centeredness’[52] that is manifestly taking place among religions.  In Paul F. Knitter’s “unitive pluralism”,   “each religion will retain its own uniqueness, but this uniqueness will develop and take on new depths by relating to other religions in mutual dependence.”[53]  K.P. Aleaz’s ‘pluralistic inclusivism’ envisages that ‘richness of religious experience grows by mutual giving and receiving’.[54]  My humble appeal is for a ‘life sustaining pluralistic’[55] paradigm.
In general ‘pluralists call for mutual enrichment; cooperation; and the sharing of religious resources’.[56]  Samartha went to the extent of saying that “the rejection of religious pluralism is a more serious form of injustice than the merely economic”.[57]  Critics say ‘pluralism as a category simply does not exist, only another form of exclusivism’.[58] However, the pluralists have underlined the necessity for religions to cooperate and work together for common good which calls for interreligious dialogue.

INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE A CHRISTIAN INITIATIVE
Although, pluralists paved the way for dialogue, “It was Pope Paul VI who in his encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, employed for the first time the term ‘dialogue’ to designate the “new attitude” which the Second Vatican council had adopted”.[59]  P. D. Devanandan, initiated dialogue in India in its narrow sense. For Samartha “Dialogue is an attempt to understand and express our particularity not just in terms of our own heritage but also in relation to the spiritual heritage or our neighbours of other faiths”.[60]  .More vividly, “Dialogue is part of the living relationship between people of different faiths and ideologies as they share in the life of community”.[61] Further “The dialogue which is called for is a face to face existence of living together and struggling together as we seek community”.[62]  He warned “It will be unwise to form ‘a religious alliance’ against ideologies in order to save and to perpetuate traditional religious institution”.[63]
            Dialogue requires openness that ‘others have something to say to us – that we need to listen as well as speak’.[64]  Harold G. Coward writes, ‘it is the way of dialogue, and not theological bulldozing’, that is required of Christian in today’s pluralistic world.[65]  Samartha writes “Inter-religious dialogue, carefully prepared and practiced can help people to respond to the dangers of religious fundamentalism not just on the political but on the religious level as well.”[66] In the words of Raimundo Panikkar “the way to peace is neither isolation nor competition, but through dialogues.”[67] 
For Panikkar ‘the context of dialogue, is not the narrowly specific “religious” field but the arena of life, the daily struggle for justice, peace, happiness’.[68]  J. Rusell Chandran, says ‘one of the important objectives of dialogue will be our common quest for a just society free from all forms of oppression and marginalization’.[69] Dialogue cannot be pursued unless considered from a ‘life sustaining perspective’[70] which Jesus practiced.
            Christians fear that “in the case of dialogue with believers in other traditions there is danger that sympathetic appreciation of their concerns may lead to compromise of faith itself”.[71]  Another fear is ‘dialogue with men of other faith is a betrayal of mission and disobedience to the command to proclaim the Gospel”.[72] Another perception is that ‘dialogue has so far tended to favour the dominant class and not the poor’.[73]


INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE PERCEIVED BY OTHERS
There is a perception among people of other faiths and ideologies that ‘dialogue is simply a new and subtle Christian tool for mission that is being forged in the post-colonial era’[74]  and “there is always the fear of hidden agendas”.[75]  Sita Ram Goel said “‘dialogue’ does not seem to be a sincere attempt at reconciliation; on the contrary, it is only a strategy for survival on the part of Christianity” and he appealed that “It is high time for the Christians theologies to come down to earth and recognize every person’s right to seek truth and salvation in his or her own way”.[76] It is endorsed by S. J. Samartha as “Neighbours of other faiths also ask humbly and sometimes not so humbly: what about our centers and our names?”[77] Paul J. Griffiths says Christians have ‘not learned to listen very carefully to what members of’ other communities say.[78]
  The Buddhist response to Christian initiated dialogue is a ‘responsible
participation in the conviction that the message of the Buddha has a distinctive contribution to make to the world today’.[79] Now Muslims have a seemingly positive attitude towards dialogue that they ‘attempt to work out a theology of dialogue based on Islam even as Christians are seeking to develop a Christian theology of dialogue’.[80]
These developments strengthen the commitment for real dialogue pursued and inspired by religions and ideologies while persuading openness to go beyond the narrow constrains of religions and ideologies without dishonoring  their  commonalities and differences for a ‘life sustaining’ dialogue.

LIFE SUSTAINING DIALOGUE
It is obvious that there is overwhelming commitment for interreligious dialogue if initiated for the sake of addressing common concerns that affect the earth. Wilfred Cantwell Smith writes that “Unless men can learn to understand and to be loyal to each other across religious frontiers, unless we can build a world in which people profoundly of different faiths can live together and work together, then the prospects for our planet’s future are not bright”.[81]  S. J. Samartha asserts “It is agreed that the most helpful relationship between persons of different faiths in the world today must be one of co-operation in pursuing common purposes like justice, peace and human rights”.[82] Paul F. Knitter says people and events in my life have led me, sometimes lured me, to what has become for me the moral obligation to join ‘dialogue and global responsibility’. [83] 
  Religions must speak and act together in dialogue ‘to removing the oppression that contaminates our globe’[84], to discuss the ‘world of suffering’[85], to establish ‘peace’[86], to work for ‘eco-human justice’[87], ‘to learn from and help each other’[88] and to help the ‘poor’.[89] Dialogue can help correct the perceptions that ‘religions continue to be more effective at motivating wars than peace’[90], it is ‘used as handmaidens to political interests’[91] and it is used as a tool for communal riots motivated by nonreligious considerations.

LIFE SUSTAINING VISION
The ‘life sustaining dialogue’ demands that  every individual or community must be rooted and filled with the Sakti or spirit of their particular religion or ideology while being open to learning from each other and working with each other even with differences. It is a long, laborious and sacrificial process comparable to the notion of “Jivan Mukta” in the Indian setting that considers the world as one i.e. Vasudevakudumbam where concern for the lives of others is the sign of spiritual maturity attained in and through interreligious and inter ideological dialogues. This process takes spiritual inspiration for dialogue seriously because the person who has rooted in the spiritual foundation can be the upholder of dharma towards people, creatures, and the cosmos as a whole. This realization dawns to a Christian because of his/her intensive commitment to the principles of Jesus.
A close observation of life of the people of different traditions can teach us that every human being is striving to live. A better life is what every one aspires for. No one wants to enslave himself/herself to poverty or suffering of any kind. In this stark necked struggle for life, rather better life, no individual is comfortably placed because of his/her religious identify. Interreligious/ideological dialogue is an unavoidable tool to realize the multifaceted potentials of humanity to establish ‘life sustaining vision’.  Our endeavor in working for the friendliness of religions is to strengthen life. Life sustaining vision of dialogue is the tangible solution for religious harmony, peace and prosperity. 
The church has the responsible mission of facilitating cooperation between religions and ideologies through a selfless dialogue which is symbolized in the death of Jesus on the cross with the firm hope of glory.  One has to be strong in his/her faith and conviction for effective and fruitful dialogue. 
Jesus came to enrich life, to obliterate all the religious systems and practices which worked against ‘life’. To give life to the needy, Jesus broke away many traditional laws. He was always of the view that religion is for life and life is not for religion. Hence, ‘life sustaining vision of dialogue’ can help religions and ideologies to explore their best for a sustainable life. 

Religion and Dialogue


[1] J. Paul Rajashekar, ed., Religious Pluralism and Lutheran Theology (LWF Report 23/24),Geneva, 1988, 11.
[2] V.F. Vineeth, “Inter-religious dialogue: Past and present a critical appraisal”, Journal of Dharma,Vol. XIX, No.1 (January – March 1997), 42.
[3] S.J. Samartha, One Christ Many Religions: Towards a revised Christology (Bangalore: SATHRI in association with Ward makers, 1992), 3.
[4] J. Paul Rajashekar, ed., Religious Pluralism and Lutheran Theology, 9.
[5] Jose Kuttianimattathil, Practice and Theology of Interreligious Dialogue (Bangalore: Kristu Jyoti Publications, 1998), 27.
[6] Harold G. Howard, Religious Pluralism and the World Religions (Madras: University of Madras, 1983), 25.
[7] John Hick, “The Non-absoluteness of Christianity”, The Myth of Christian Uniqueness: Toward A Pluralistic Theology of Religions, ed. By John Hick and Paul F. Knitter (New York: ORBIS Books, 1987), p 17.
[8] Kuncheria Pathil, “Christian Approach to other Faiths. A Historical Perspective”, N.C.C Review, Vol. X, No.2 (February 1990),  66.
[9] Paul. F. Knitter, No other name?: A Critical Survey of Christian Attitudes Toward the World Religions, (London: SCM Press Ltd, 1985),  3.
[10] Jacques Dupis, Jesus Christ  at the Encounter of World Religions, Translated from the French by Robert R. Barr, First Indian Edition, (New Delhi: Intercultural Publications, 1996), 3.
[11] Owen C. Thomas ed., Attitudes Toward Other Religions: Some Christian Interpretation
(London: SCM Press Ltd, 1969),  10.
[12] Jacques Dupis, Jesus Christ  at the Encounter of World Religions, Translated from the French by Robert R. Barr, First Indian Edition, (New Delhi: Intercultural Publications, 1996), 4.
[13] CH. Sreenivasa Rao., ed., Inter-faith Dialogue and World Community (Madras: CLS, 1991), 14.
[14] Owen C. Thomas ed., Attitudes Toward Other Religions: Some Christian Interpretation(London: SCM Press Ltd, 1969), 11.
[15] Harold G. Coward, Religious Pluralism and the World Religion (Madras: University of Madras, 1987), 15.
[16] S. J. Samartha, One Christ Many Religions: Toward A Revised Christology,  2.
[17] Owen C. Thomas ed., Attitudes Toward Other Religions: Some Christian Interpretation(London: SCM Press Ltd, 1969),  4.
[18] Jose Kuttianimattathil, Practice and Theology of Interreligious Dialogue), 29.
[19] Jose Kuttianimattathil, Practice and Theology of Interreligious Dialogue, 32.
[20] Jose Kuttianimattathil, Practice and Theology of Interreligious Dialogue , 23.
[21] A.C. Bouquet, The Christian Faith and Non-Christian Religions (New York: Harper andBrothers,  1958),  335.
[22] E. C. Dewick, The Gospel and Other Faiths (London: The Canterbury Press, 1948),  11.
[23] Marcus Braybrooke, The Undiscovered Christ, A Review of Recent Developments in the
Christian Approach to the Hindu (Madras: CLS, 1973),  1.
[24] Valson Thampu, “Christian Spirituality in a Religiously Plural Context”, NCC Review, Vol. CIX. No. 1 (January 1989), 4.
[25] John Hick and Brain Hebblethwaite, ed., Christianity and Other Religions, Selected Readings (Great Britain: Fount Paperbacks, 1980),  82.
 [26] Eeuwout Klootwijk, Commitment and Openness: The Inter-Religious Dialogues and Theology  of Religions in the Work of Stanley J. Samartha (Zoeetermeer: Bockencentrum, 1962), 103.
[27] Wesley Ariarajah, Hindus and Christians: A Century of Protestant Ecumenical Thought(Michigan: William B. Eerdmas Publishing Company, 1991), 27.
[28] Wesley Ariarajah, Hindus and Christians: A Century of Protestant Ecumenical Thought(Michigan: William B. Eerdmas Publishing Company, 1991), 32.
[29] CH. Sreenivasa Rao, ed., Inter-Faith Dialogue and World Community (Madras: CLS, 1991), 21.
[30] Karl Barth, “The Revelation of God as the Abolition of Religion”, Christianity and OtherReligions, ed., by John Hick and Brain Hebblethwaite, 35.
[31] H. Kraemer, The Christian Message in a Non-Christian World, (London: The Edinburgh House Press, 1938), 88.
[32] Marcus Braybrooke, The Undiscovered Christ, 3.
[33] David Lochhead, The Dialogical Imperative, A Christian Reflection on Inter-faith Encounter (New York: ORBIS Books, 1988), 17.
[34] A.C. Bouquet, The Christian Faith and Non-Christian Religions, 15.
[35] Ajith Fernando, The Christian’s Attitude Towards World Religions (Mumbai: Gospel Literature Services, 1980), 158.
[36] CH. Sreenivasa Rao, ed., Inter-Faith Dialogue and World Community (Madras: CLS, 1991), 19.
[37] Karl Rahner, “Christianity and the Non-Christian Religions”, Christianity and Other Religionsed., by John Hick & Paul F. Knitter, 75.
[38] Kenneth Cragg, The Christ of Other Faiths (Great Britain: ISPCK, 1986), 4.
[39] CH. Sreenivasa Rao, ed., Inter-Faith Dialogue and World Community, , 30- 31.
[40] Heinz Robert Schlette, Towards a Theology of Religions (London: Burns & Oates, 1966), 104.
[41] Jacques Dupuis, Jesus Christ at the Encounter of World Religions, 247.
[42] Eeuwout Klootwijk, Commitment and Openness: The Inter-Religious Dialogues and Theology of Religions in the Work of Stanley J. Samartha, 10.
 [43] Arnold Toynbee, Christianity Among the Religions of the World (London: Oxford University Press, 1958)), 99-100.
[44] Arnold Toynbee, Christianity Among the Religions of the World,  99-100.
[45] Pushparajan, “Prospects of Christian Dialogue with other Religions”, Journal of Dharma, Vol. VIII, No.3. (July – September 1983), 330.
[46] Arvind P. Nirmal, Heuristic Explorations, (Madras: CLS, 1990), 75.
[47] Raimundo Panikkar, Unknown Christ of Hinduism,  New edition, (Bangalore, Asian Trading Corporation, 1982), 75.
[48] S.J. Samartha, “Commitment and Tolerance in a Pluralistic Society”, NCC Review, Vol. CVI, No.2 (February 1986), 75.
[49] Alan Race, Christians and Religious Pluralism: Patterns in the Christian Theology of Religions (London: SCM Press Ltd, 1983), 148.
[50] S.J. Samartha, Between Two Cultures (India: Asian Trading Corporation, 1997), 190.
[51] Raimond Panikkar, A Dwelling Place for Wisdom, Trans. By Annemarie S. Kidder (Louisville: Westminister Press, 1993),  85.
[52] John Hick, Problem of Religious Pluralism (… : The Macmillan Press Ltd., 1985),  91.
[53] Paul F. Knitter, No other Name?, 9.
[54] K.P. Aleaz, Theology of Religions  (Calcutta: Moumita Publishers and Distributors, 1998), 193.
[55]S. Robertson, Bhakti Tradition of Alvars and Theology of Religions(Kolkata: Punthi Pustak, 2006), 281-286.; S. Robertson, Approaching Religion in a Pluralistic Context (Bangalore: BTESSC, 2011), 128-134.; S. Robertson, “Life-sustaining pluralistic perspective”, Asia Journal of Theology, Volume 18, Number 2 (October 2004), 374-397.; S. Robertson, “Religion as Life-sustaining- A Pluralistic Perspective”, Religion and society, vol. 51, No. 1 (March 2006), 1-20.; S. Robertson, “Pluralism Defended?”, Dharma Deepika, Issue 29, Volume 13, No. 1 (January-June 2009), 35-48.
[56] Eeuwout Klootwijk, Commitment and Openness: The Inter-Religious Dialogues and Theology of Religions in the Work of Stanley J. Samartha,12.
[57] S. J. Samartha, One Christ Many Religions, 2.
[58] Gavin D’ Costa, “The Impossibility of a Pluralist View of Religions”, Religious Studies, Vol. 32, No. 2 (June 1996), 232.
[59] A. Pushparajan, From Conversion to Fellowship, 47.
[60] S.J. Samartha, Courage for Dialogue, 99.
[61] S.J. Samartha, Dialogue as a Continuing Christian Concern,11.
[62] S.J. Samartha, “Courage for Dialogue: An Interpretation of the Nairobi Debate”, Religion and Society Vol. XXIII, No. 3. (September 1976), 35.
[63] S.J. Samartha, “Dialogue as a Continuing Christian Concern” in Christianity and otherReligions, 159.
[64] John B. Cobb, Jr., “Dialogue”, Death or Dialogue? Ed. By Leonard Swidler, John B. Cobb Jr., et al., (London: SCM Press, 1990), 2.
[65] Harold G. Coward, Religious Pluralism and the World Religions, 40.
[66] S.J. Samartha, “The Future of Inter-religious Dialogue: Threats and Promises”, Journal of Dharma, Vol. XIX, No. 1 (January-March 1997), 83.
[67] Raimundo Panikkar, “Forward” in Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Perspectives and Encounters (New York: OBRIS Books, 1990),  9.
[68] Raimundo Panikkar, “Forward” in Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Perspectives and Encounters (New York: OBRIS Books, 1990),  9.
[69] J. Russel Chandran, “Mission in Today’s Pluralistic Context”, NCC Review, Vol. CXIV, No. 5 (May-June, 1994), 360.
[70] S. Robertson, Bhakti Tradition of Alvars and Theology of Religions, 281-286.;S. Robertson,Approaching Religion in a Pluralistic Context, 128-134.; S. Robertson, “Life-sustaining pluralistic perspective”, Asia Journal of Theology, 374-397.; S. Robertson, “Religion as Life-sustaining- A Pluralistic Perspective”, Religion and society, 1-20.; S. Robertson, “Pluralism Defended?”, Dharma Deepika, 35-48.
[71] John B. Cobb Jr., “Dialogue”, in Death or Dialogue,  3.
[72] S.J. Samartha, “Dialogue as a Continuing Christian Concern”, in Christianity and other Religions, 62.
[73] Jose Kuttianimattathil, Practice and Theology of Inter-religious Dialogue (Bangalore: Kristu Jyothi Publications, 1995),  118.
[74] S.J. Samartha, “Dialogue as a Continuing Christian Concern”, in Christianity and other Religions, 3.
[75] S.J. Samartha, One Christ Many Religions, 16.
[76] Sita Ram Goel, Hindu of Hindu – Christian Encounters (New Delhi: Voice of India, 1989), 4-5.
 [77] S. J. Samartha, One Christ Many Religions,18.
[78] Paul J. Griffiths, Christianity Through Non-Christians Eyes (New York: ORBIS Books, 1998), 3.
[79] S. J. Samartha, One Christ Many Religions, 31.
[80] S. J. Samartha, One Christ Many Religions, 24.
[81] Wilfred Cantwell Smith, “The Christian in a Religiously Plural World”, Christianity and other Religions, 95.
[82] S. J. Samartha, Courage for Dialogue: Ecumenical Issues in Inter-religious Relationships (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1981), 30.
[83] Paul F. Knitter, One Earth Many Religions, 11.
[84] Paul F. Knitter, “Toward a Liberation Theology of Religions”, The Myth of Christian Uniqueness181.
[85] Paul F. Knitter, One Earth Many Religions, Mutlifatith Dialogue and Global Responsibility (New York: ORBIS, 1996),  58.
[86] Paul F. Knitter, One Earth Many Religions, Mutlifatith Dialogue and Global Responsibility (New York: ORBIS, 1996),  66.
[87] Paul F. Knitter, One Earth Many Religions, 113.
[88] Paul F. Knitter, No other Name?, 6.
[89] Aloysius Pieris, Fire and Water, Basic Issues in Asian Buddhism and Christianity (New York: ORBIS Books, 1996),  156.
[90] Paul F. Knitter, Inter-religious Dialogue and the Unity of Humanity”, Journal of Dharma Vol. XVI, No. 4 (October – December 1992), 284.
[91] S. J. Samartha, “Inter-religious Relationships in the secular State”, 62.

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