Mission / Purpose

The Mission:

The Foundation for Religious Diplomacy (FRD) exists to build trust and goodwill between religious, ideological or cultural critics and rivals without requiring consensus or compromise of integrity.

The Problem:

To live in peaceful tension with those that think we are wrong in our basic convictions is our greatest long term social need. In our diverse world people of wisdom and good will inevitably disagree over the ideal purpose for life and best way to live. Too often we dismiss or disdain others that hold rival beliefs causing resentment that breeds social dysfunction Among diverse religious believers and practitioners, as well as skeptics, there is no universally acceptable authority to resolve religious or ideological conflicts about the nature of reality, the purpose of life, and the correct way to live. With our different human perspectives we naturally develop diverse religious or ideological beliefs that rival each other as comprehensive world-views. Integrity requires that we sincerely admit that most of us have chosen a way that we sincerely—not arrogantly—find to be superior to alternatives in some important aspects. Making this choice unavoidably calls into question the validity or attractiveness of other belief systems. This historically has led to offense, ill-will, contempt, resentment, legal discrimination, and outright violence. Sadly, the positive energy flowing from our highest ideals can be turned to destructive force in families, communities, and nations that seek to achieve unity. The problem, then, is not that we have conflicting or rival ideals or that we desire social unity. It is that we impatiently blame the shortcomings of our critics and rivals for their refusal to respond positively to the world-view we find so persuasive. The question then is: Can we develop healthy ways to engage in continual, bothersome persuasion contests over our deepest unresolvable differences.

The Vision:

Peace is not tranquility. It comes to people and groups when they strive to achieve their worthy purposes without harming those that disagree with them. We envision societies where religious, political or cultural rivals engage their different convictions as trustworthy participants in ongoing contests of persuasion. We envision families, communities, and nations that thrive in peaceful co-resistance and collaboration–contesting their differences in good faith, and cooperating often in socially responsible ways.

The Goal:

FRD’s goal is to assist religious and ideological critics and rivals to live in peaceful tension together as they live their religions with full integrity. Religious or cultural diplomacy aims to develop and implement attitudes and practices for respectfully engaging our religious and ideological differences without denigrating the wisdom and doubting the good will of our trustworthy critics and rivals. To this end FRD provides programs for persons of conviction, to honorably engage others of different beliefs in trust-building conversations and activities. FRD is distinctly not ecumenical in purpose, nor is it an interfaith group seeking consensus. Instead, it works to build trust through honestly facing unresolvable religious or ideological differences in a respectful manner of co-resistance that reflects openness to mutual persuasion never coercion. It provides communication methods to replace suspicion and contempt with trust and friendship between people of integrity and good will.