HIS HOLINESS ARAM I LECTURES AT THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF SHARJAH

On Monday 2 February 2009 His Holiness Aram I delivered a lecture in American university of Sharjah. The topic of the lecture was “From Inter-religious dialogue to living together”.

Introducing His Holiness, the President of the University Dr. Peter Heat presented him as an internationally recognized personality in the area of inter-religious dialogue.
Aram I first referred to the “come-back” of religion as a fact of life. He then spoke about different perceptions of religion.

Speaking about the importance of dialogue, he said that a credible dialogue must take into consideration the following.- 1) It must make room for different perceptions, values and expressions. 2) It must be realistic. 3) It must be contextual. 4) It must explore ways of transcending differences. 5) It must challenge biased attitudes, face-value judgments and provide greater knowledge, accurate information. 6) It must avoid syncretistic approaches, false compromises and exclusivist claims. 7) It must consider diversity as a complementing rather than a conflicting factor.
Catholicos Aram set the following priorities as an agenda for a serious dialogue. These are.- 1) promoting spiritual and moral values. 2) Elaborating a global ethics. 3) Overcoming violence by developing a culture of non-violence. 4) Combating intolerance. 5) Working for peace with justice. 6) Acting as agents of reconciliation.

The focus of the lecture was living together as community. His Holiness outlined the following actions as prerequisite conditions for community building.- 1) Accepting and respecting our differences. 2) Enhancing common values that transform co-existence into a meaningful way of living together. 3) Challenging inclusive approaches and fundamentalist tendencies and claims that jeopardize living together, and enhancing coherence between self-understanding and interactive understanding. 4) Promoting a quality of life that rejects alienation and calls for mutual trust. 5) Encouraging participation in all aspects of community life. 6) Aiming for a form of integration that preserves specificities fosters commonalities.

In his concluding remarks, referring to the vocation of religion Catholicos Aram I underscored the following points.- 1) The religions have a moral responsibility to restore humanity-creation-God relationship based on responsibility accountability. 2) Religions must emphasize the crucial importance of the Transcendence in the life of societies. 3) Religions must defend the sacredness of life by promoting values that protect the integrity of life. 4) Religions must bring active participation in peace-building. Real peace is based on justice and respect of human rights. 5) Religions are called to play a major role in preventive approaches to conflicts, and also in proactive defense of human rights through education and awareness building. 6) And finally religions must remind that all mighties are powerless before the Almighty.


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