“Reasons for Our Hope” project promotes Christian-Muslim dialogue
By Vatican News staff writer
Seeking to address questions and stereotypes that Muslims may have concerning Christianity, the Oasis International Foundation, in collaboration with the McGrath Institute for Church Life, has launched the “Reasons for Our Hope” project to open paths of exchange.
The series of videos in the project aims to illuminate “why Christians remain Christians” and share the “reasons for our hope.” At the same time, it seeks to help Christians reach “a new understanding of their faith by taking Muslim questions seriously.”
Founded in 2004 in Venice by Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Oasis International Foundation studies the interaction and fosters mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims, in our world characterized by the hybridization of civilizations and cultures.
Inspired by Pope St. John Paul II
Further explaining the purpose of the project, the foundation draws inspiration from the words of Pope St. John Paul II in his 2001 letter to all Catholics (Novo Millennio ineunte, § 55 - 56), in which he outlined the priorities of the Church for the new millennium.
Pope St. John Paul II gave a special place to dialogue, stressing that it “will be especially important in establishing a sure basis for peace and warding off the dread spectre of those wars of religion which have so often bloodied human history.”
However, the Polish saint warned that dialogue cannot be based on religious indifferentism. Rather, Christians “are in duty bound, while engaging in dialogue, to bear clear witness to the hope that is within us”, while “approaching dialogue with an attitude of profound willingness to listen.”
Trusting in the Spirit of God who “blows where He wills” and who helps “Christ’s followers to understand more deeply the message which they bear,” Pope St. John Paul II urged the faithful to take up an “attitude of openness, combined with careful discernment” which was adopted by the Second Vatican Council in relation to other religions.
A series of videos
In three preliminary videos already released, the project tackles important questions and presents the patterns in the universe of both the Bible and the Qur’an.
The first video outlines the similarities and differences between the Qur’anic and the Biblical presentation of Jesus and his mission.
A second video shows the place of Jesus in the Qur’an, exploring the Islamic understanding of history, the laws governing it and how Jesus fits into it; while the third explores the place of Jesus, Our Savior, in the Bible.
Further videos will be released in coming days.