Luke Bretherton–Hospitality, not Tolerance: Civil Society and Inter-Faith Relations

I would suggest that the conversation in ethnically diverse and cosmopolitan cities such as London – and to a lesser extent Sydney and Melbourne – needs to move beyond advocating working “side-by-side,” and instead should discuss what it means to be part of a robust civil society within which religious groups undertake shared political action in pursuit of goods in common – not to mention where such action may well involve conflict with the priorities and policies of government and business corporations in pursuit of a critical yet constructive relationship with both.

Real encounter, dialogue and understanding is, I would suggest, best generated as a by-product of shared civic action, because in such shared civic action the focus is neither on face-to-face encounter nor even on simply working side-by-side.

Rather, the focus is rightly on the pursuit and protection of goods in common – or, to put it another way, it is through the relationships that emerge between people of different faiths and none, as they identify and uphold the things they love and hold dear, that something genuinely worthwhile emerges.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Philosophy, Religion & Culture