Engaging in ecumenical dialogue

Religious unity
Undivided church
Inter-faith movement
Forging unity of religion
Linking faiths
Building interreligious convergence
Moving toward Christian religious unity, including a traditional movement of dialogue among established sectarian bodies and a counter-secular revolution equally founded on the doctrines of revelation and social justice. The movement promotes through functional organizations cooperation between church bodies on such common tasks as missions and work among students. Mutual understanding on fundamental issues in belief, worship, and polity, and a united witness on world problems is promoted through conferences.
Ecumenical Councils and contacts have existed since 325 AD. In recent times, the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and The World Council of Churches have highlighted the mission of the Christian ecumenical movement. The secular movement of the late 20th century comes out of underground Churches and emerging indigenous Christianity of Africa and Asia. It is a protest against what its proponents consider to be an institutionalized church, uncaring of social issues. The third type of ecumenism, also of recent origin, is among liberal Christians and others concerned with relations among all religious bodies. Often called inter-faith movements, they are concerned with an open dialogue between faiths and cultures.

The ecumenical movement has been a strategy to unite religious people in order to be more effective in the affairs of the modern world. The infighting and disruptive wars that have been committed in the name of particular sects and religions are still happening today. The Christian ecumenical strategy has been an attempt to have member religious bodies gain unity and therefore an influential impact on social roles. It includes institutional dialogue, coordinated administration of mission programmes, shared schools of theology and structural relationships through councils of churches and other coordinating bodies. In order to effect social change, however, the ecumenical movement will need to decide if its primary goal of unity is in beliefs, organization, or ethics. It will also have to be able to discern the difference between the cultural bias and the religious belief.

1. The Christian ecumenical strategy is empowered by having committed people in every culture who are concerned with social justice. As one of many concerned groups, the ecumenical movement is able to cross cultural and political lines to catalyze action in both small communities and on top government levels. As it gains in respectability among local people, the bureaucratic systems begin to listen to its concerns on specific issues.

2. Study of the cultural and religious heritages of humankind show we are more united than divided by them.

3. Dialogue is an indispensable step along the path towards human self-realization, the self-realization both of each individual and of every human community. Although the concept of "dialogue" might appear to give priority to the cognitive dimension (dia-logos), all dialogue implies a global, existential dimension. It involves the human subject in his or her entirety; dialogue between communities involves in a particular way the subjectivity of Peach. In all this, however, reciprocity is required. To allow these criteria is a commitment of each of the parties which desire to enter into dialogue and it is a precondition for starting such dialogue. It is necessary to pass from antagonism and conflict to a situation where each party recognizes the other as a partner. When undertaking dialogue, each side must presuppose in the other a desire for reconciliation, for unity in truth. For this to happen, any display of mutual opposition must disappear. Only thus will dialogue help to overcome division and lead us closer to unity. Ecumenical dialogue is of essential importance. "Through such dialogue everyone gains a truer knowledge and more just appreciation of the teaching and religious life of both Communions. In addition, these Communions cooperate more closely in whatever projects a Christian conscience demands for the common good. They also come together for common prayer, where that is permitted. Finally, all are led to examine their own faithfulness to Christ's will for the Church and, wherever necessary, undertake with vigour the tasks of renewal and reform". (Papal Encyclical, Ut Unum Sint 25 May 1995).

Counter Claim:
1. Ecumenism has the propensity to reduce its religious understanding to the least common denominator, thereby reducing the power and particular uniqueness of each creed.

2. Ecumenism implies that all people should have one belief, which immediately divides society into an either/or confrontation.

3. In societies that remain dynamic, diverse forms of beliefs and activities are encouraged rather than uniform belief.

4. Very few religious and spiritual communities can reach consensus with one another on an extensive religious, moral, ethical or social agenda. This is true not only of relations between diverse traditions, but nearly as often of relations among various constituent groups within a particular traditions. However, there are points of convergence - of shared interest, common purpose, or common cause - that can provide a basis for dialogue and cooperation. Points of convergence do not presume agreement on other matters of belief or practice.

Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure