Paris, France—The Dialogue & Alliance cooperation circle organized its monthly interfaith meeting on the theme "Living with God in Diversity" during World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The 12th scriptural reasoning was held in the Espace Barrault conference center on Sunday, February 6, 2022. About 15 participants attended the meeting in person, with approximately 70 viewers watching the meeting on Zoom.
The meeting began with a video showing a street interview that had been made for the 25th anniversary of the Inter-Religious Platform of Geneva. The survey asked passers-by, "Is Interreligious Dialogue a Necessity in Geneva?"
The first reading brought a Christian perspective. It was a text taken from the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 10, verses 34 and 35. In his commentary, His Eminence Cardinal Philippe Barbarin spoke about a little-explored element of interreligious harmony: The fervor of others, of those who do not believe as we do, sharpens our desire when it is dulled, he said. In general, the emphasis is rightly on the universal principles and common values that foster interreligious dialogue, but he spoke of the subjective dimension of inner thirst, based on his own experience.
The second reading brought a Muslim perspective. It was Verse 69 of Sura V of the Koran. The commentary by His Excellency Doudou Diène, a Senegalese jurist and diplomat working with UNESCO and the UN, had many parameters: the role of the UN, his own view steeped in Sufism, and the reference to African spirituality and the theme of the roots of the tree embracing each other, while the branches can appear to be struggling in the storm. This wise metaphor was very well received.
Next, a music video was played of Anita Correli performing "Love and Peace," a song written by Buddhist Master Hsin Yun. The musical interlude was offered by the Fo Guang Institute, located on the esplanade of religions and cultures of Bussy-Saint-Georges ("city for interreligious dialogue").
Finally, the last reading brought a Sikh perspective. It was the text Ang 1182, extracted from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. Bhai Mehtab Singh, chaplain of the Representative Council of Sikhs in France, read the scripture and commented on it, leading the participants to discover the great resources of the Sikh tradition to establish a dialogue between the spiritualities.
Laurent Ladouce, a researcher at the Universal Peace Federation, then led a question-and-answer session.
To conclude, Jean-François Moulinet, coordinator of Dialogue & Alliance, briefly presented the new French translation of the collective work titled Sacred Texts of the World—A Comparative Anthology (940 pages). This edition is aimed at helping the development of interreligious dialogue and cooperation throughout the Francophone world.
Mr. Moulinet also paid tribute to the Vietnamese Buddhist master and peace activist Thích Nhất Hạnh, who died in January 2022.
It was announced that the next Scriptural Reasoning was scheduled for March 6 on the topic “Discovering God in Art.”
P.S. Recording of the event:
Dialogue & Alliance is a French-speaking interreligious cooperation circle affiliated with the French chapter of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) and supported by the United Religions Initiative (www.uri.org) and the Geneva Interfaith Intercultural Alliance (www.giia.ch).