Here is the English abstract of Dr. Jahangir Masoudi (Professor of the Department of Philosophy and Islamic Wisdom, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran )'s presentation at the 7nd lecture of the pre-con lectures of the international conference on “Imam Reza (PBUH) and Interreligious Dialogue" which was held online on January 3, 2024.
Interfaith Dialogue from the Perspective of the "Transcendental Unity of Religions" Idea
The idea of the transcendental unity of religions is a pluralistic notion of traditionalists like Frithjof Schuon and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. According to this concept, the only absolute truth in the world is the essence of the Almighty Creator, and all other existences are considered as imperfect and relative manifestations of that absolute truth. Traditionalists believe that God has two types of manifestations; firstly, His ontological manifestations, which are entities and realities in the world, and secondly, His legislative manifestations, which are the religions and divine laws. Traditionalists use the term "relative absolute" to refer to different religions because, although each religion is considered a relative and imperfect manifestation of the absolute truth, it is regarded as an absolute truth in relation to its followers. This perspective, due to its pluralistic nature, seems to provide a basis for interfaith dialogue. However, in this article, we will demonstrate that this belief, in fact, closes the door to dialogue among religions as it leads to a kind of separative pluralism akin to Wittgenstein’s language games.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi