Inter-religous dialogue: from Christiological perspectives to Pneumatological perspectives
For many years, Christianity has been living together with other religions. However, this socializing was not as friendly as one could expect of religions who preach the peace and the openness to the reality that exists beyond us. Christianity, itself, through all its history has shown some back and forth in the dialogue quest. This challenging, which is supported by some and considered as trash by others, shows some fundamental characteristics for us to think the inter-religious dialogue today.
Many things has already been done in this field by Christian theologians who has as concern questions such as: how to make the dialogue possible if the believes are, in many aspects, totally different? Which are the tasks that all religions have, as institutions that try to improve the conditions of human life? What do some religions has in common and helps the dialogue, and what is in a galaxy far far away that makes all the attempts to get closer in van? These questions, and many others, were raised by many theologians in the 20th century and have received many answers along this years.
We cannot ignore the role of Vatican II in such task, although we must analyze how Vatican position keep itself as superior in relation with other religions as Nostra Aetete shows.
Motivated by the aggiornamento proposal in Council, many theologians used their strength to find reasons for the existence of so many religions around the world, and to combine with the Christian salvation doctrine, in order to guarantee that all these religions, in somehow, could achieve their goal in the Christianity. Because of that, it would be not surprise that the first answers were through a Christological perspective. Names like Jacques Dupuis, Paul Knitter, George Amaladoss, John Hick could be considered as men who though how to make the dialogue possible in the current world.
This new approach was divided in three major perspectives: a) exclusivist, which says that only Christ saves and the way to receive the salvation given by God to those who believes in him is to belong to Christianity. In others words or you become a Christian and become save, or you do not and you become condemned by denying the truth. b) Inclusivist, which says that Christ is normative for salvation, but this salvation can be realized in other religions, in ways that only God knows; c) Pluralist, which says that all religions has the same meaning in God’s plan and that salvation must be considered as something universal, which means, it is available to everyone despite of cultural, religion, etc.
One could ask if their concern was really about the dialogue instead of the question about how the salvation happens in other religions, despite Christianity. It is a good question and we must answer it with a Yes. The real dialogue is forgotten when we try to establish that one side has the real truth and the other side has part or nothing about the truth. Apparently, their occupation in trying to find Christ or signs of him in other religions in order to guarantee that the Christian salvation could be found in there, has took from them so many time, that we could say that, in somehow, their concern about salvation has made them to forget the ‘who’ with they were trying to dialogue.
With this in mind, as well pointed out by Amos Yong, the inter-religious dialogue has got into an impasse and another form to make it become extremely necessary. This new way was through Pneumatology.