“Inter-Religious Diplomacy: Trustworthy Opponents Engaging in Respectful Contestation Yield Peaceful Tension,” By Charles Randall Paul

Historically, when people have found themselves in conflicts over the best way to live or the very purpose of life, they have often found a way to separate from—if not fight—each other to protect their cultural order. Underneath the nation-state and tribal structures, societies have traditionally shared a deep cultural world-view that is religious.

As our societies continue to become intertwined through virtual and actual migration today, there exist significant tensions between our cultural and religious beliefs and practices. Global trade, modern technology and the common use of the scientific method will not yield universal agreement over the purpose of life and religion. Indeed, as educational and economic differences between peoples decrease, their differences over foundational beliefs become more salient. No economic system, no universal liberal education program, and no political system, even one that emphasizes individual freedom, can resolve our deeper cultural differences over ultimate truth and religion.

What do we do when we have irresolvable conflicts over the very foundation of order and purpose? This paper will explore this question.

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