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My Neighbour’s God

Interfaith Spaces and Claims of Religious Identity

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Edited By Andreas Kunz-Lübcke

In the latest discussion on the relations between religions, it has often been argued that monotheism necessarily leads to intolerance and exclusivism. A religion which claims to worship «the one and only true God» is inevitably forced to reject every religious behaviour and practices of «the Other». But is this really the case? This volume contains contributions which discuss the major question: What are the instruments and the strategies used in different religious settings where interreligious encounter is part of daily life? Most of the contributions concentrate on the challenges of theology in the context of India. A special focus will be on approaches for interreligious coexistence derived from Biblical or Systematic Theology.

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Religious Affiliation, Human Identity and Citizenship in India

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Abstract: The theme of the international partnership symposium: My Neighbours’ God: Inter-Faith Spaces and Claims of Religious Identity is timely and apt as the religious minorities, especially Christian and Muslim communities, in contemporary India are given to experience the heat and anger of the dominant religion. In this reflection, I am particularly drawn towards the menacing issue of religion-state interface in contemporary India, which is the most critical theological and existential issue because of the very fact that the current interface between the dominant religion and the ‘secular’ state is firmly premised on a majoritarian discourse vis-à-vis Hindu nationalism, formidably undergirded by Hindutva ideology, conceived and constructed through religious essentialism for statecraft in a ‘secular’ state, despite India being known as the world’s largest modern secular democratic state. The central concern of this essay, therefore, problematises and interrogates the way human identities are constructed around religious affiliations, especially the dominant religion’s relentless attempts to impose a corporatist identity on all those who inhabit or intend to inhabit in the geo-political space called India. This essay also identifies the challenges and responses to these attempts by the dominant religion to highlight the growing need for a more pluralistic approach to identity politics as a nation.

Keywords: Religion, Identity, Hindutva

The foreign races [Muslims and Christians] in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of...

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