University of Winchester

ABSTRACTS /Pauline Kollontai

A Model of Intrinsic Inter-religious Dialogue Created through Extrinsic Motivation

Since 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq there has been many examples throughout the world where inter-religious dialogue has occurred in response to these situations of conflict and violence. These extrinsically motivated dialogues are said by Rashied Omar to have limited value in terms of building long-term inter-religious relationships because they do not deal with the wider issues of belief, faith, evangelism and mission. Omar argues that if these issues are not addressed it will restrict the sustainability of these relationships and their goal of inter-religious peace-building. This is not intended to devalue extrinsically motivated inter-religious dialogue but to recognise its limitations. However, such dialogue is recognised as being helpful in getting inter-religious dialogue started.

This paper provides an example of how in the City of York extrinsically motivated inter-religious activity against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq contributed to the establishment of an inter-faith advisors team at York St John University College (YSJUC) in May 2004. This example is used to demonstrate how this form of inter-religious activity can be the catalyst for creating formal, institutionalised inter-religious dialogue. This paper will identify how and why this inter-religious activity contributed to the establishment of the YSJUC inter-faith advisors team and how the role and character of the team and its work reflects a key aspect of its origins.

Biographical Statement

Pauline Kollontai is a Principal Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at York St John University College. She lectures in World Religions, on various approaches to the study of religion and also inter-religious dialogue. Pauline has researched and published on a variety of issues concerning religion in the contemporary world. Over the past few years Pauline’s research interests have been in two areas: Messianic Judaism; and Contemporary Issues in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. As from 2005 her main area of research is Minority Religions in York. Outside of the academic environment she has be involved in various inter-faith groups and activities having lived and worked in Bradford and Leeds.
Recent publications include: ‘Contemporary thinking on the role and ministry of women in the Orthodox Church’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, May 2000; ‘Theodicy in a Post-Holocaust World’, Theology, July-August 2002; ‘The Sacred Icon in the contemporary world’, The Expository Times, August 2003; “Messianic Jews and Jewish Identity”, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Vol. 3, No.2, July 2004; and “Between Judaism and Christianity: The Case of Messianic Jews”, Journal of Religion and Society, (Forthcoming 2006)


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