Taking the stand was the distinguished Dyron B. Daughrity, Associate Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University, for an enlightening lecture on interfaith dialogue.
His speech, entitled “Living Trialogically in the Academy” boldly touched upon one of the issues most relevant in today’s world. “Interreligious dialogue is not always fun—to use the dominant adjective of our day—nor is it innocuous..,” he said as he went through some of the not-so-pleasant scenes we witness or hear about, throughout different parts of the world. He continued on to say, “But the Abrahamic Faiths are siblings coming from the same patriarch. And sibling rivalry can be difficult to overcome,” underlining the fact that interfaith dialogue may not necessarily be an easy task. Looking at both sides of the medallion, Dr. Dyron Daughrity acknowledged the fact that, on one hand, reconciliation would need to be through letting go of past issues and not picking away endlessly at wounds that need to heal, while, on the other hand, trying to convince yourself that they are forever gone is yet another futile effort.
In all reality, he said, “Tragedy must be acknowledged as a first step towards reconciliation, and reconciliation will only occur when we are honest about the horrors our civilizations have caused.” In the end, as Dr. Daughrity so beautifully put it, “Dialogue that is rooted in knowledge, openness, and friendship will function with tenderness, with a listening heart, and with tears when we hear the pain that has been inflicted in the name of God.”
Instead of giving way to “the conventional wisdom of letting sleeping dogs lie” the moment we face challenges in this sensitive issue, an issue which needs careful nurturing, Dr. Dyron pointed out, “Perseverance is required to see dialogue through.” Touching back on his previous metaphor of the Abrahamic Faiths as being siblings, Dr. Dyron Daughrity expressed the fact that, “Like family relationships, dialogue should never really end.” “There will be high points and low points,” he added, “but such is the nature of being patient enough to work towards the prize of reconciliation, peace, salaam, and shalom.”