Recently I’ve been contacted regarding the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, an organization which “aims to decrease disrespect and ill will between people who adhere to different religious or ideological beliefs and practices”.
So far, so interfaith.
What’s interesting and different about this group, however, is that they require participants to hold central their disagreements with each other, and to recognize that the discussants have incompatible views they both hold to be true. The FRD believes that “Attempts to resolve fundamental religious identity conflicts into harmonious unity can actually increase resentment and ill will” and asks participants to question “whether their group, which has the truth, will benefit from building respect and mitigating ill will with others who hold erroneous religious beliefs?”
This is interesting, because it puts the incompatible truth claims of different religious and ethical traditions front and center in a way that is sometimes absent in other interfaith work. One of the things that always annoys me in interfaith discussions is when someone propagates the idea that “all religions are true” when it is blatantly obvious that this cannot be the case – unless you’re willing to stretch the meaning of “true” well beyond breaking-point.
The FRD has some interesting videos showing their method up on the site – not a lot of sparks flying there, to be honest, but I’ll update with more information as I have it!