What Makes Interfaith Dialogue Possible?

Because religions make claims about the truth, the beliefs of any one religion necessarily contradict some of the claims of another. Yet devotees of different faiths have found ways to live together in peace and even engage in meaningful religious dialogue. Daniel Johnson delves into the problems inherent in interreligious dialogue in general, and Jewish-Catholic dialogue in particular, and speculates about the possibilities of including Muslims. He writes:

Perhaps the overriding intellectual imperative of a globalized world, in which no culture can hope to isolate itself or to avoid the encounter with others, is to make it possible for those holding different and potentially antagonistic beliefs to live in peace with one another. This is a particular duty for those whose vocation it is to teach with authority, whether sacerdotal or academic; yet it is a duty that is almost always shirked. . . . Taking responsibility not only for what is taught but for what follows from the teaching, for what is done in the name of religion or ideology, seems to pose an almost insuperable challenge for the guardians of doctrine.

Yet doctrine, “teaching” or “that which is taught,” implies, like the cognate term “doctor,” worldly as well as spiritual authority. . . . How then may the arbiters and exponents of doctrine be persuaded to soften their orthodoxy sufficiently to open up a space in which competing claims to truth may be resolved or not, as the case may be, but in any case without bloodshed?

Read more at Standpoint

More about: Christianity, Interfaith dialogue, Jewish-Catholic relations, Judaism, Muslim-Christian relations, Religion

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy