As members of the human family, we should show each other respect and courtesy. In our dealings with people of other faiths and beliefs, and particularly at inter-faith meetings, this means exercising good will and:
- Respecting other people’s freedom within the law to express their beliefs and convictions.
- Learning to understand what others actually believe and value, and letting them express this in their own terms.
- Respecting the convictions of others about food, dress and social etiquette, and not behaving in ways which cause needless offence.
- Recognising that all of us at times fall short of the ideals of our own traditions and never comparing our own ideals with other people’s practices.
- Working to prevent disagreement from leading to conflict.
- Always seeking to avoid violence in our relationships.
- When talking about matters of faith with one another, doing so with sensitivity, honesty and straightforwardness.
- Recognising that listening as well as speaking is necessary for a genuine conversation.
- Respecting the right of others to disagree with us.
- Being honest about our beliefs and religious allegiances.
- Not misrepresenting or disparaging other people’s beliefs and practices.
- Correcting misunderstanding or misrepresentations not only of our own but also of other faiths whenever we come across them.
- Being straightforward about our intentions.
- Accepting that in formal inter-faith meetings there is a particular responsibility to ensure that the religious commitment of all those who are present is respected.
- Refraining from attempting to convert others to our faith at inter-faith events. (But inviting people to attend our religious observances is, where appropriate, to be encouraged.)
Living and working together is not always easy. Religion harnesses deep emotions which can sometimes take destructive forms. Where this happens, we must draw on our faith or religious foundations to bring about reconciliation and understanding. The truest fruits of religion are healing and positive. We have a great deal to learn from one another, which can enrich us without undermining our own identities. Together, listening and responding with openness and respect, we can move forward to work in ways that acknowledge genuine differences, but build on shared hopes and values.