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True Ecumenism


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From: Paths to the Heart: Sufism and the Christian East :


There are those for whom inter-religious understanding means doctrinal compromise. It is assumed in this case that religions are the creation of man, that dogmas are the lingering effects of a credulous and uncritical age, and that the surest way to tolerance and peace lies in the elimination, or humanistic reconstruction, of teachings that have served as the excuse for divisiveness and hatred in the past. Thus there are Christians, to pick the most obvious example from my own tradition, who insist that the only way to honor the onvictions of other religious people is to jettison the idea of Christ's Divinity, an idea often joined to the belief that Christianity is uniquely true and salvific.. . . It is obvious, he [Frithjof Schuon] writes that the "narrowly literal belief" of exclusivist dogmatism, while "feasible within a closed system knowing nothing of other traditional worlds", has become "untenable and dangerous in a universe where everything meets and interpenetrates". The solutino, however, is not the "false ecumenism" of the liberals which "abolishes doctrine" and which "in order to reconcile two adversaries, strangles them both". No a "true ecumenism" must honor and uphold the importance of traditional dogmas, irreconcilable as they may appear exoterically, while at th same time appealing, on the basis of prayer and contemplative insight, to "the wisdom that can discern the one sole Truth under the veil of different forms". -- James S. Cutsinger

I like this approach. It reaches for a real ecumenism (the book this quote came from was an ecumenical meeting of Muslim Sufi's and Eastern Orthodox Christians that took place not long after 9/11) while still respecting the dogmas and truths of the participants. What bothers so many more conservative folks about ecumenism is the need to give up what they hold dear. If a way can be found to discover common ground without requiring that sort of surrender of valued truths, great progress can be made.


As usual, the mystics will lead the way, by leading from the heart.

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