Is Asia Pacific? Interreligious Encounters, Peace-building and Theological Inventiveness in today’s Asia

by on 週五, 01 四月 2011 評論


There is no need to underline the dizzying diversity of Asia’s religious landscape. At the same time, some general trends have emerged in the last two or three decades, partly reshaping the traditional setting of Asia’s religions. It is necessary to reflect on the challenges that these trends are creating. Interreligious dialogue in Asia is indispensable not only for peaceful religious coexistence and mutual understanding but also for progressing towards national and ethnic reconciliation in the various Asian countries as well as for tackling global challenges (peace-making, ecology, struggle against consumerism, development of a global ethic.) Theological inventiveness, itself nurtured by religious diversity, is a prominent resource for turning interreligious encounters into cultural, social and spiritual resources.

The planned conference will specifically address the two following issues:

(A) Revivalism and Identity Crisis

Revivalism has become the dominant religious trend. The clearest example is provided by the new vitality found by Islam in Asia, as has been also the case in other parts of the world. Such fact is of utmost importance: Indonesia is the most populated Muslim nation in the world; Bangladesh and Pakistan have overwhelming Muslim majorities, and Malaysia has also a Muslim majority, though not as pronounced; India has a strong Muslim minority; and Muslim populations are located on conflict-prone frontier regions in the Philippines or Thailand for instance. Of course, besides Islamic revival, other sources of concern exist, which strongly influence interreligious conflicts and cooperation on the continent as a whole: proselytism as and fundamentalism; the rise of political/religious currents and organizations asserting the predominance of a given  “national’ religion and thus endangering national cohesiveness; consumerism and individualism, which generate indifference towards the Other and closing upon one’s world..

(B) Interreligious dialogue as a peace-building endeavor

As a set of working hypothesis, we suggest that the conference discuss the following propositions:

-          What might be the most dangerous feature of violence is the fact that it exercises a kind of fascination that leads all people involved to hardening their own identity, fostering a chain of violent reactions, in spirit even when not in deeds. In this light, the importance of interreligious dialogue anchored into real spiritual encounters cannot be overlooked.

-          Asia is a region marked by an irreducible linguistic, cultural and religious diversity. Such diversity is a treasure that needs to be assessed, appreciated and interpreted. Peace-building is thus to be seen as an ongoing, creative endeavor inseparable from the development of interreligious dialogue in Asia, for both tasks are anchored into an interpretative process through which cultures, creeds and world-views are perpetually reshaped. On the long run, the “translation” of traditional languages and narratives that the in-depth meeting with the Other makes possible nurtures a creative reinterpretation of one’s spirituality and faith.

-          Value education and other actions conducive to a culture of dialogue must first target youth and women, as these two sectors are the ones who are susceptible to foster a less rigid and compassionate social culture. Value education starts from existential requirements such as the importance of honesty, mutual respect and joy. Interreligious cooperation is actually anchored into the nurturing of basic values that, ideally, could and should also be taught in the schools of a pluralistic secular state.


Provisional program

Friday May 13

16h30-18h20: First session: Theology and Practice of Interreligious Encounters


"A Dao of Interreligious Dialogue in an Age of Globalization and Science"

- Dr. Emi Mase-Hasegawa,

"Religions in Daily Life -  Religious Pluralism in Japan"

- Prof. Benoit Vermander

“Interreligious Dialogue and Conflicts in Asia Today: Theology and Geopolitics”

Discussant: Prof. Wang Zhicheng, Zhejiang University

Saturday May 14

Second session: 8h45-10h20: Conflicts and Peace-building  in Interreligious Context

- Prof. Amir Hussain

Islam, Interreligious Dialogue and Peacemaking: Issues from South Asia

- Prof. David Pinault

"Muslim-Christian Cooperation on Wildlife Conservation and Deforestation Issues as a Response to the Threat of Communal Violence in Muslim Southeast Asia."

-          Prof. Michael Reder

"Understanding the role of religion concerning global challenges: inter-religious co-operation in Indonesia facing climate change - an example"


Third session: 10h45-12h20: Religions and Peace in National Contexts

- Prof. Michael Amaladoss

“Interreligious Dialogue for Peace: the Indian Experience”

- Prof. SHIN, Jae-Shik

"Beyond the Religious Tension between Buddhism and Christianity in Korea"

- Prof. Katsuhiro Kohara, Doshisha University,

"Theology of Religions in the Rise of Nationalism"

Discussant: Prof. Yu Zhijun, Fudan University

Fourth session: 13h45-15h15: Religious Education and Peacemaking

- Prof. Edmund Tang

"Beyond Stereotypes: Changing Perceptions of Chinese Christianity from 1949 to the Present"

- Dr. Gao Xin

“Teaching Religions as Way of Value Education”

Discussant: Prof. Toshimasa Yamamoto, Kwansei Gakuin University

Fifth session: 15h30- 17h20: Religions and World Visions

- Prof. Li Tiangang

“Reinterpreting Teilhard’s Worldview from Today’s China”

- Prof. Hisakazu Inagaki,

"Peace and Happiness in East Asia from Public Philosophy / Theology"

- Prof. SUH, ChangWon

“The Asian Dream from a Religio-cultural Perspective”

Discussant + general synthesis: Prof. Michael Reder, Munich Hochschule fur Philosophie


Benoit Vermander (魏明德)

Benoit Vermander lives in Shanghai. He teaches philosophy and religious anthropology at the University of Fudan.





« 五月 2020 »
星期一 星期二 星期三 星期四 星期五 星期六 星期日
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

目前有 4463 個訪客 以及 沒有會員 在線上