Why Dialogue Is So Difficult

Some years ago I posted the article “Why Is Dialogue So Difficult?” Below is a quote from the article. The article is listed on the right in two parts. As I have traveled around the church several people have brought the article to my attention. It is still I think an accurate description of the difficulties that any church dialogue faces.

Here is a quote from the second part of the article

We have at best the touching tangents of circles. The historic Christian faith seen from within paradigm of epistemological pessimism is a very different thing from the historic faith seen as the basis for a hope to truly know the really real. It may help to know that the call issued to our opponents, to listen to reason cannot be answered by them without abandoning everything that our opponents have hitherto thought reasonable. The call to listen to reason cannot be answered without a paradigm shift and the reason with which our opponents reason cannot bring them to that shift. We are confused and confounded by applying a model of ecumenical dialogue to the present dispute within the churches. The right model is really inter-faith dialogue. Rather than assuming that we speak with a common language about common points of reference we need to understand that we speak across a logical gap to those with a different worldview and a different rationality.

Here is the link to the first part of the article

One thought on “Why Dialogue Is So Difficult

  1. Wonderful reflection on the Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas.

    Isn’t the distinction between a hermeneutic of mystery and a hermeneutic of revelation that the latter is grounded in faith and the former is faithless? Of course, if one’s philosophy holds that revelation is improbable or impossible then it’s not likely that one is going to believe in revelation. But it doesn’t follow that if one’s philosophy is open to revelation that one will believe. In other words, an epistemological pessimist has taken a philosophical wrong-turn, which can be corrected by sound philosophical arguments, but once corrected it doesn’t necessarily follow that he will believe in revelation.

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