Are the Ideas of World Religions, Religious Conflict & Elite Dialogue Helpful to Interfaith Relations? An Ethnographic Study from the South Indian Context

30 October 2018, 16:30 - 30 October 2018, 16:30 Lightfoot Rm, Divinity Faculty, West Rd, Cambridge, CB3 9BS

NB* Seminars are on TUESDAYS

Speaker: Dr Muthuraj Swamy – Director of Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide.

In the light of an ethnographic study on interfaith relations in the south Indian context, Muthuraj argues that interfaith dialogue today has many limitations. It is built on the notion of ‘world-religions’, yet people’s identities and interactions in everyday lives are not primarily based on such identities. The idea of religious conflicts serves as the basic context for interreligious dialogue to happen, but it often fails to understand human conflicts in their entirety and complexities. Those involved in formal interfaith dialogue often consider the everyday and ordinary relations among people as insignificant and want dialogue to be taken to the grassroots, whereas those relations are actually essential for a peaceful society.

Muthuraj has a rich cross-cultural experience in theological education, world Christianity, interfaith engagement and church involvement. He has published widely and is the author of the recent book The Problem with Interreligious Dialogue: Plurality, Conflict and Elitism in Hindu-Christian-Muslim Relationships(Bloomsbury, 2016).

Muthuraj has been commissioned to write the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book 2019 on the theme reconciliation (SPCK, London & ISPCK, Delhi, 2019). He is leading the Mission Theology in the Anglican Communion (MTAC) project  and is the Editor of its book series written by theologians from the global South. The MTAC series include three Pre-Lambeth Conference books on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s three priorities – Reconciliation, Evangelism and Witness, and Prayer – in preparation of the Lambeth Conference 2020.