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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



The Western, liberal model of religious pluralism and inter-faith dialogue is premised on the equality between ‘religions’ that are understood to be equivalent/analogous to one another (i.e. Protestantism = Catholicism = Islam = Buddhism = Hinduism, etc.). As soon as we admit that in reality the diversity of religious life in the world is more in the ‘modalities of doing religion’ rather than in the abstract systems of religious ideas constructed by religious elites and religious-studies scholars, such a model of religious pluralism no longer holds. We need to recognise that there is a diversity of religious diversities, and that the conventional inter-faith-dialogues model privileges a particular kind of discursive modality of doing religion, which is merely one of many ways of doing religion. People with religious sensibilities premised on ritual efficacy are not interested in any ‘dialogue’; for them the most important thing is that the ritual ‘works’ (i.e. is efficacious). Dr Chau engages with these issues in a series of articles. 

Faculty Researchers