The term ‘Interfaith Dialogue’ refers to the positive and cooperative interaction between people of different religions, faiths or spiritual beliefs, with the aim of promoting understanding between different religions to increase acceptance and tolerance.
It is an expression of the participants’ lived faith lives, and therefore interfaith encounters form communities of awareness. Constructing dialogue between followers of different religions means understanding, through cooperation, the different religious principles and teachings that should benefit all of humanity through the promotion of mutual respect and tolerance. It means coming together and sharing aspects of their respective faiths and striving to understand that which is foreign. What is essential in this respect is that the participants engaging in dialogue lay aside attempts to missionize, which is always accompanied by an attitude of exclusive superiority and can be equated with the spoken or unspoken belief that one’s own religion is the “true” way, or effectively the only way.
The power of religion can be used as a major force of unification among divergent factions, and hence it can play a key role in the promotion of global peace and reconciliation, by bringing varying groups together in order to establish and maintain constructive channels of communication and sustainable collaboration. Interfaith dialogue therefore plays a vital role in the field of Cultural Diplomacy, as it can advance world peace by uniting faiths and by fostering reciprocal understanding, acceptance and tolerance amongst disparate religious communities. Inter-faith dialogue can in this way break down walls of division and the barriers that stand at the center of numerous wars, with the objective of achieving peace.