Epilogue: Challenges and Further Reflections

  • Dominic Emmanuel


For those who associate religion with superstition, blind faith, irrationality or an institution that makes outrageous moral demands, religion is a word that simply puts them off. But for those who do not view religion with such suspicion, it is held in great reverence. They find it useful for their lives. Despite the attempts by rationalists, Marxists and atheists to do away with faith and religion as unnecessary, as that which burdens human beings, it has survived. Many studies show that religion is gaining a central place in society, and it is even coming back with a vengeance, as Michael Amaladoss observes:

There is a growing awareness that all knowing is conditioned by a variety of human factors and that any pretension to objectivity and absoluteness in knowledge is misplaced. The transcendent has refused to disappear, and, faced with the risks and uncertainties of life, people seem to be turning again to religion in some form (1996: 68)

Arguments in favour of religion will please believers, as arguments showing its obscurantism will please non-believers. At the same time each view will be a challenge or maybe even offensive to the other, a concept that we have painstakingly established as fundamental to the theory and practice of dialogue. It is not that arguments have to be avoided at all cost so that the ‘other’ is not offended, but all arguments have to be built into the nexus of relationships with the ‘other’, based on respect for the ‘other/s’, their traditions and texts.


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© Dominic Emmanuel 1999

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  • Dominic Emmanuel

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