Doing Christian intra-religious dialogue interreligiously: Taking a Mahayana theology of agape as an example
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AbstractIt has been thought that ecumenism, which aimed at the unity of Christians, has nothing to do with interreligious dialogue, and that dialogues between Christianity and other world religions could hardly contribute to bridge the gaps between different Christian traditions. However, the rise of comparative theology makes it possible to promote ecumenical dialogue interreligiously, because the main purpose of the former is to develop and deepen Christian faith, one that could certainly facilitate Christian unity. This article is such a theological experiment. In line with the methodological approach of Francis X. Clooney SJ, this article brings the Buddhist idea of "non-duality between each other" into the reflection toward the understanding of "agape" in Martin Luther's theology and mainstream Protestant theology. This, in turn, will result in an approval of the existence of a connection between loving one's neighbour as ethical practice and salvation, one that has been always there in Roman Catholic theology, while abandoned by Protestant theology represented by Martin Luther. By this comparative study, we will see that promoting ecumenical dialogue interreligiously is not only possible but also necessary.