There are clearly many ways to address the issue of interfaith dialogue in an academic context. A first distinction may easily come when tackling the question: Why do we care about interfaith dialogue? The answers scholars, instructors, and students come up with may be very different. Among the most common is the consideration that our world is getting more and more diverse, and people are living in multireligious environments. We should therefore learn how to live together at our best and invest in social cohesion. Dialogue, then, has a very practical and communitarian aim. However, this is not the only answer one can give.
We are thus faced with a field approached with different aims, at different stages of personal growth, and in different ways. Whether we agree with the first reasoning or with the second or with both, it is clear that this “interfaith dialogue” people are interested in learning or that they feel may be relevant for their future activities is primarily concerned with concrete and necessary encounters with an “other” from a different faith community. It is therefore imperative to discuss what can be taught to these people and how.