The present book, Interfaith Dialogue: Problems and Possibilities, is an attempt to understand the problems that come in the way of an interfaith dialogue. The book is a collection of 16 papers by the different scholars, written from different perspectives, regarding different problems on interfaith dialogue. These papers were presented on the occasion of a National Seminar on Interfaith Dialogue, held in the Department of Philosophy, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra in March, 2016. In some papers, a conceptual study, while in some others a comparative study has been done. Some papers deal with particular religions and show their interfaith spirit, while some are critical about the very possibility of such an interfaith dialogue. One paper deals with the methodology of interfaith dialogue itself. Thus the book, on the whole, is an attempt to cover conceivably all the aspects of an interfaith dialogue.
Dr. Anamika Girdhar is Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra. She has twenty five years of teaching and research experience in the various streams of Philosophy to her credit. Her special interest, however, is in the field of Contemporary Indian Ethics. In her earlier book Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Action and Ethics, she has made an attempt to study Wittgenstein's philosophy from a new perspective albeit ethics allied with aesthetics.
Human beings have always been searching for something higher, something which is the source of all his fantastic creation that we see around, the variety of things—both living and non-living; all the stars and galaxies, all plants and animals, all mountains and rivers. This search for the cause of the whole creation led to the establishment of different faiths and religions of the world. Religion means a systemafic understanding of the cause of this creation which we call as God. The human mind with its limited perception has tried to understand the God but has failed to do so because God as the source of the creation is beyond our sense-perception. Human sense perception is limited to perceive only that which is physical. Our ideas of God sprung from the need to explain the creation, and these vary from culture to culture. So each religion offers a different explanation about God and this creation though the word religion has originated from the root religare, which means 'to bind' but it acts as a divider.The different religions of the world have different points of view about God and also different
methods of prayer. Once a religion becomes a system, it becomes rigid in its rules and regulations. Those who believe in a particular religion form firm beliefs about their idea of God and also believe that whatever their religion says is correct and that the other religion is incorrect, so much so that people of other religions become their enemies. In this way, religion has been the cause of rift between believers of different religions. It is better not to know, than to make fixed beliefs about anything. Believing without knowing is a great hindrance in creating a harmonious society in which people of different religions live. The fact is that at first we do not have any experience of God, we only believe what is written in a scripture etc., and then we also do not know what the scripture of another religion says about God. We go on believing one thing after another and create a grudge against another religion. Religion is not information; it should be our firsthand experience. Today, we have divided the world in the name of religion, caste, creed, colour, race and nationality to such an extent that it has become very urgent for at least the academic community, to pounder over whether these dividing issues are real issues or pseudo issues. There are so many other problems, such as poverty, illness, environmental degradation, natural crisis etc. which need immediate human attention, but if we are at war with each other over religious issues, this is not good for the cause of the progress of the humanity. Religion should be a binding and guiding factor for human civilization.
Inter-religious dialogue is an attempt to bring to scrutiny the popular religions of the world, so that we can see the real nature of these religions, instead of beating the bush. An unbiased analysis has been the aim of the One Day National Seminar entitled 'Interfaith Dialogue' that was
organised by the Department of Philosophy, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra in collaboration with National Foundation for Communal Harmony, Govt. of India, New Delhi on 15 March. 2016. The Seminar was attended by a large number of students, researchers and academicians from all over India. Nearly twenty-five papers were presented in the Seminar, only selected sixteen papers have been taken for publication. The presentations and discussion in the seminar were fruitful; participants were enriched by the exchange of points of view. All agreed that religion should be matter of experience and not mere faith. A faith or a belief leads to rigidity and creates enmity among the followers of different religions. I hope this book will help its reader to understand what religion is, and how and why there are differences in different religions, and also how significant or insignificant these differences are. I thank all the philosophers and scholars who had attended the seminar and presented their papers at the seminar. I am thankful to all those scholars who have submitted the full text of their presentation. I wish to thank my colleagues in the Department and the non-teaching staff of the Department for rendering every kind of help in organising the seminar. Nirmal Publishers deserve special thanks for publishing the present work. I am very grateful to my husband Professor Amarjit Singh for encouraging me and helping me to organise the seminar and to publish the present work. I am also thankful to my son Tapan for helping me in the publication of the book. My thanks are also due to my parents Mrs. Meena Paul and Professor S.L. Paul, who have always been a source of inspiration and encouragement.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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