Building Good Relations with People of Different Faiths and Beliefs

Interfaith dialogue and activity depends on trust and good relations being established between individuals, organisations and communities. The Inter Faith Network of the UK offers the following guidelines (for full text):

As members of the human family, we should show each other respect and courtesy. In our dealings with people of other faiths and beliefs this means exercising good will and:

  • Respecting other people’s freedom within the law to express their beliefs and convictions
  • Learning to understand what others actually believe and value, and letting them express this in their own terms
  • Respecting the convictions of others about food, dress and social etiquette and not behaving in ways which cause needless offence
  • Recognising that all of us at times fall short of the ideals of our own traditions and never comparing our own ideals with other people’s practices
  • Working to prevent disagreement from leading to conflict
  • Always seeking to avoid violence in our relationships

When we talk about matters of faith with one another, we need to do so with sensitivity, honesty and straightforwardness. This means:

  • Recognising that listening as well as speaking is necessary for a genuine conversation
  • Being honest about our beliefs and religious allegiances
  • Not misrepresenting or disparaging other people’s beliefs and practices
  • Correcting misunderstanding or misrepresentations not only of our own but also of other faiths whenever we come across them
  • Being straightforward about our intentions
  • Accepting that in formal inter faith meetings there is a particular responsibility to ensure that the religious commitment of all those who are present will be respected.All of us want others to understand and respect our views. Some people will also want to persuade others to join their faith. In a multi faith society where this is permitted, the attempt should always be characterised by self-restraint and a concern for the other’s freedom and dignity.

Follow the link for examples of interfaith workshops based on these Guidelines.

Follow the link for the interfaith lecture given in Budapest by Dr Harriet Crabtree of the Interfaith Network