No problem in interfaith dialogue but what’s happening to intra-faith?

Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, a member of the board of the Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue, suggested to participants of the 1st Mindanao Bloggers’ Summit today to look into other Mindanao issues that are “slightly discussed.”

Among these, he said, is religion, specifically on “understating of religions.”

“We really need to understand our religions and not just depend on prejudiced representations,” he said.

He also urged bloggers to “understand more the dynamics of religion” and  “how is religion related to conflict?”

He said religion does not just teach doctrines, “it also welcomes individuals where he/she is given identity.”

Alejo explained that religion is related to community building and whether it is ummah (for the Muslims) or church (for the Christians), religion does not just give identity but also boundary.

When one is integrated into a community, the boundary is set for those who are included in the community and those who are excluded, he said.

Religion per se does not teach conflict, he said, but it builds community and every time you build a community, there will be those who are included and those who are excluded.

 In the interfaith dialogues between the “dialogue Christians and dialogue Muslims,” Alejo said, one sees “the same faces.”

“What I miss terribly is intra-faith dialogue between the dialogue Christians and prejudiced Christians and the armed Muslims and unarmed Muslims,” he said.

He said the prejudices “should be processed.”

“Can communicators please bridge the gap?” Alejo asked.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)