Many readers know that Fr. Thomas Baima is a close friend and a supporter of ACT3 Network. Tom and I go back more than a decade now in ecumenical work and inter-religious dialogue. Tom has one of the best minds, and some of the finest first-hand experience, in this field of dialogue. I turn to him quite often to discuss a myriad of issues.
Tom spoke a few weeks ago to the Muslim Society of Chicago at a large gathering at McCormick Place. The broad topic was “Inter-religious Dialogue.” An interfaith panel from many backgrounds spoke for nearly sixty minutes. Tom’s words come around the 12 minute mark on this video and ended at about 16 minutes. In this short address you can see him answering an important question: “What is the motive for dialogue between religions from a Christian perspective?”
He suggests that there is a common motive, namely the recognition of our shared humanity and shared belief in God. He believes this motive encourages tolerance and other societal goods. He calls the second motive particular. This motive allows us to learn from each other in our own respective ways while we still disagree about revelation and doctrine. This second motive allows us to know the other person as human and to respectfully engage in charity and good faith.
This presentation is not long but I encourage you to watch Fr. Baima’s four-minutes if you want to see how a Christian theologian enters into a Muslim interfaith context in love and how he retains a theology profoundly centered in the incarnation. This is a good appropriation of some of what I wrote yesterday.