Lecture on “Role of Inter-religious Communities in Developing Social and Religious Harmony for the World Peace” by Dr. Bruce Nichols, Senior Advisor of Asia Theological Association and Senior Editor for ATA Publications, New Zealand
Dr. Nichols highlighted the significance of human search for its religious and cultural identity. Christianity and Islam both are providing identity satisfaction but since the west adopted secular values the Christian identity went to crisis. Dr. Nichols identity secularization as a fundamental challenge to all religious which stands for ‘life without God’ and caused the societies immoral, unjust and full of evil deeds. Decline of church led the declining of Christian ethics and commitments. In this background, Dr. Nichols expressed that Pakistan today is facing political crisis and terrorism which is continuously weakening their religious harmony and faith and it is not because of Christianity but due to the secular forces who are using all social, electronic and print media to transform the society into secularization. The radical groups in Muslim world do not support the idea of inter religious culture and spreading misunderstanding between Christianity and Islam. He pointed out an example of Malaysian and Indonesian radicals who enforced their governments to make legislation for not using word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims. But the matter of fact is that ‘Allah’ is originally used by Christianity too.
On this account Dr. Bruce opined the importance of interfaith and interreligious dialogue, which become successful if based on three principles: Firstly, dialogue must be between equals-scholar to scholar; secondly, the purpose of the dialogue are to overcome misunderstandings and it is not meant to convert the followers of other faith; thirdly, dialogue should be among the faithful and it must be open discussion. Dr. Nichols highlighted some similarities between the Christianity and Muslims as well convinced with the notion of ‘Forgiveness’ as a true and real source of dialogue which make the world peaceful and tolerably living place for every religion and culture.
Dr. Uzma while introducing the speaker and the theme said that interfaith harmony between the different religions of the world in general Asia in particular is of utmost importance for the survival of mankind and the promotion of the culture of peace and security. Recognizing the need for dialogue among different faiths and religions in enhancing mutual collaboration, harmony and cooperation among nations of the world. The moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs call for peace tolerance and mutual understanding.