Religious Pluralism in a Global Age
7. The Prismatic Present 145
The Prismatic Present Three Examples of Interfaith Encounters ❦ Several divergent roads emerged in the interfaith encounter by the opening decades of the twenty-first century. Conceptual and attitudinal horizons were expanding, and through the Internet, publications, diaspora communities, and world travel, a vast amount of information about world religions had become available everywhere. Members of world religions could expect to daily encounter persons belonging to other religions, live in the same neighborhoods with them, share schools and workplaces, and intermarry. But this did not pro- duce any sort of a peaceful, unitive world setting, as witness the murderous bat- tles between Christians and Muslims in parts of Nigeria and political–military flare ups elsewhere in the Middle East and Asia—much of it framed in religious language. Finding accommodation among religions, or reaching a new under- standing of them, remained a global challenge at every level. Max Warren, gen- eral secretary of the Church Missionary Society early in the twentieth century, highlighted the dilemma, “We have marched around the alien Jericho the req- uisite number of times. We have sounded the trumpets. And the walls have not collapsed.”1 Interfaith encounters, broadly considered, represent a continuing complex stream of encounters with both predictable and unpredictable accep- tances, partial amalgamations, or rejections, all occurring within a variety of cul- tural envelopes, including families, neighborhoods, schools, religious meeting 7 d_ch 7 thru end_t5 6/14/2012 12:28 PM Page 145 places, and broader institutions. No single way exists to describe or control...
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