There is a tremendous need for interfaith dialogue in the modern world. When done right, dialogue can ease tensions, reduce anxiety, build trust, increase empathy, and change perceptions. However, when done wrong, it can cement distrust, fortify stereotypes, and deepen divides. The wrong way, in this context, is to bring total strangers together and lead with the most controversial topic that you can find. It doesn’t take an active imagination to see where that will end.
If you are interested in improving relations—both between people of different faiths and between people of no religion and the faithful—allow me to offer a step-by-step approach that has served the interfaith community well.