Summary of Swidler’s recommendations for successful interfaith dialog:
- The primary purpose of dialogue is to learn, that is, to change and grow in the perception and understanding of reality, and then to act accordingly.
- Interreligious, interideological dialogue must be a two-sided project— within each religious or ideological community and between religious or ideological communities.
- Each participant must come to the dialogue with complete honesty and sincerity. Conversely—each participant must assume a similar complete honesty and sincerity in the other partners.
- In interreligious, interideological dialogue we must not compare our ideals with our partner’s practice.
- Each participant must define himself. Only the Jew, for example, can define what it means to be a Jew. Conversely—the one interpreted must be able to recognize herself in the interpretation.
- Each participant must come to the dialogue with no hard-and-fast assumptions as to where the points of disagreement are.
- Dialogue can take place only between equals. Both must come to learn from each other.
- Dialogue can take place only on the basis of mutual trust.
- Persons entering into interreligious, interideological dialogue must be at least minimally self-critical of both themselves and their own religious or ideological traditions.
- Each participant eventually must attempt to experience the partner’s religion or ideology “from within.”
Excerpted from Ground Rules for Interreligious, Interideological Dialogue by Leonard Swidler [found in Heckman, 2008, emphasis added.]