How To Build Trust Between Religious Rivals

Eternal truth and earthly peace have never been very compatible. Throughout history wise and good-hearted people have always had different life experiences that lead them to different convictions about matters of ultimate truth. However, social trust often breaks down when people living in the same family, community, or society come to disagree about the ultimate purpose of life and the best way to live.

One of the primary fears for many committed believers is that through exposure to false friends or teachers, their loved ones will be duped into going the wrong way, breaking the sacred ties of loyalty, and even possibly spending eternity in a literal, fiery hell. For others, this “hell” might just be someone close to them joining a church (humanists have loved ones too!).

Those who believe that there is just one true religion or right way of life, one set of prescriptions for correct living here or attaining a glorious afterlife, often think that others who live according to another way must be foolish, naïve, lazy, or evil because they would otherwise see and admit the obvious (to them) truth. In these times of strain, they cannot trust even nice people who hold false beliefs about the ultimate truth, let alone all those fanatical advocates who blindly or devilishly sell falsehood to gain power over small-minded weaklings.

Working to alleviate such deep mistrust, FRD brings together such persons for the purpose of contesting their differences in such a way that they mutually listen to each other’s deepest convictions, fears and hopes. It is only through such forthrightness and transparency — including being up front about one’s intent to influence the heart and mind of the other to see ultimate truths in the same way he or she does — that we can sustain the bothersome tension of honest mutual criticism that call our cherished beliefs into question.

In sum, FRD promotes interreligious relations of integrity that combine healthy energies for both collaboration and co-resistance. The goal is not tranquil consensus, or perfect harmony, but peaceful tension between trustworthy rivals.

To briefly restate our main purposes, we

· Facilitate honest conversations between people holding rival convictions or world-views
· Organize reliable networks for trustworthy religious, ideological or cultural diplomacy
· Help advocates of different worldviews to become religiously and culturally bilingual diplomats