Fred W. Clothey


There are times I think the term Hindu-Christian "studies" or even Hindu-Christian "dialogue" is a misnomer and a fantasy. This is so for several reasons. For one thing, there is a long history in which such "study" or conversation has been a monologue, a one-way street or an interpretation by imposition. There has been too much shouting at each other from caves and not enough honesty, negotiation, and mutual respect of personhood on the boundaries between where peoples live. For another, such engagements are not and never again can be merely one on one discourses between persons with single identities. We are each increasingly persons with multiple identities, in the process of becoming different persons even as we "dialogue". None of us truly represents whatever "authentic" Christianity or Hinduism is supposed to be. Nor can any of us speak, listen, or study in isolation from the dynamics of global processes where multiple forces and multiple religions impinge on one's self-representations. Not only that: I have been increasingly pessimistic that whatever some of us as individuals may do or think, a vast majority of our coreligionists remain blissfully unaware of the need for inter-religious understanding or the desirability of rethinking fundamental metaphors in light of such conversations.

Included in

Religion Commons