As the velocity of globalisation continues to increase, our modern society in the 21st Century has become a literally pluralistic society. Becoming pluralistic society means that human beings who have different races and ethnicities, thoughts and religions, and cultures and civilisations live together in one society. The critical issue in this pluralistic society is conflicts due to the clash of different values, or disputes spreading around the world. We are facing the reality that violence is used to solve these problems, as the case may be, and citizens are driven toward the serious suffering.
The only way to overcome the conflicts between different values and achieve harmonious solutions is ‘Dialogue.’ The outcomes of this ‘dialogue’ contribute significantly to the value creation of all the organisations and groups in the 21st Century. Conversely, failures in making dialogues is expected to bring our conflicts with others to more serious situation, which will ultimately result in the divisions in communities and eventually follow the path towards devastating disputes, disruptions, and bloodshed. In order to create new values in the 21st Century, the emergence of a society based on the civilisation of dialogue is desired, where history evolves, holding the ‘dialogue’ at its core.
In this social context, the inter-religious dialogue, which we discuss here, should not be limited to the dialogues between different religions. The dialogue between religions and other intellectual disciplines is mandatory for solving the complex and extensive problems in today’s society. Thus, this dialogue is so broadly applicable for nations, ethnics, eras, societies, families, and individuals. The area of application includes all the issues related to human beings: cultures, civilisations, thoughts, religions, politics, education, economy, management, welfare, and healthcare. The dialogue will bring us the effective clues and scenarios for ensuring that we will solve these tough problems fundamentally,
The religious community in Japan needs to focus on the serious historical dialogues that religions in Europe have had with the modern sciences and the hardship that they have gone through by today. This is a significant fact for our philosophy that should not be overlooked. It is unfortunate that we have to admit that the tradition of the Japanese religious community lacks this kind of history of intellectual challenges. Thus, the urgent mission of the traditional religious community in Japan is to become aware of the diverse issues through the ‘intellectual’ practices of wide-ranging dialogues with natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities that struggle with the challenges of modern society. In this respect, the sincere attitudes to seeking the truth are required from the religious practitioners. The tide towards integrative value creation through dialogue is a historic necessity. It is a historic theme of modern society, which human beings can no longer avoid for their future.
18th December 2013
Modern Religious Dialogue Committee