The political and economic worlds are now more open than for many years to listen to the insights of people of faith. There are, however, dangers.
1. One is that international bodies, instead of listening to the prophetic words of religious leaders, will try to give a cloak of respectability to their work by inviting a token presence of such leaders. Religious leaders will need to recruit staff with the necessary expertise in relevant areas.
2. Leaders will have to beware of attending so many international gatherings that they lose touch with local faith communities, so leaving the latter open to the influence of religious extremists. It is vital that as international inter-religious co-operation increases so local communities at the same time learn about other religions and meet members of them.
3. Interfaithwork is fragmented. Outside organisations do not know who to approach. Sometimes people complain that there are now too many interfaith groups, although in fact there is more than enough work for all of them to do – locally, nationally and internationally; but that work needs to be co-ordinated, as the International Interfaith Centre is trying to do, and it requires far greater material resources. Just as the nations are reluctant to release finance for international activity so the religions prefer to spend money on themselves rather on co-operative ventures.
Can you identify other dangers?