Original Research - Special Collection: Interreligious Dialogue

Towards developing an atmospheric space for inter-religious dialogue in Africa

Tsawe-Munga Chidongo
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 2 | a9055 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i2.9055 | © 2023 Tsawe-Munga Chidongo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 May 2023 | Published: 28 December 2023

About the author(s)

Tsawe-Munga Chidongo, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Pwani University, Kilifi, Kenya; and Department Religion Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

The practice of religions and spirituality is common in Africa. In many ways, religion may be considered as a routine of life, living and practising it either as inherited or borrowed. Religious pluralism is a reality in Africa, dating back to the 1st century up to the 19th century when Africa became a bedrock of traders and colonisers both from Europe and Asia. The paper explores plural religiosity with a view to developing a conducive atmosphere that may promote a suitable inter-religious dialogue in Africa. Largely, the most pronounced and practised religions are Christianity symbolised by the cross, Islam symbolised by the crescent, and African indigenous religion that does not have a common symbol nor sacred scriptures. We note that, for generations, religions have caused division among communities, but have in the recent years developed the quest to create good relations and dialogue with each other. Because of the diverse nature of insecurity in Africa, it is hoped that inter-religious dialogue may cause community cohesion, integration, inclusivity, and co-existence. In the wake of different types of inter-religious dialogue that are globally being researched, this paper suggests a specific inter-religious dialogue that Africans can exercise: ‘dialogue for life’.

Contribution: Inter-religious dialogue for life is contextual in that, it touches upon the life situations of ordinary people in society. The author argues that, by embracing it religiously, inter-religious dialogue for life shall address crucial issues such as poverty, radicalisation, terrorism, climate change, bad governance, and human trafficking that adversely affect African society.


Keywords

pluralism; absoluteness; exclusivism; inclusivism; inter-religious dialogue of life; radicalisation; inter-religious education.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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