DIALOGUE AND HUMA HAI
By: Marko Mahin
Very often people associate dialogue only with formal conversations between two groups. In actual fact, many different kinds of dialogue take place and it is important to recognize the value of this. To illustrate what was mentioned, I will allow myself to go into daily examples that involve me personally. When I was a child, I myself used to live in a huma hai, a traditional house of Dayak people in Borneo Island, that was dwelled by more than six families.
As an Indonesian who lives out side of Java Island I do believe that religions can be energy of an inter-faith and inter-ethnic cooperation. I do believe that a deeper understanding of religion can be a powerful force in contemporary life and its role as a resource for strengthening the cultural values and social practices such as to support the natural resources management and environmental protection, to struggle for justice, peace, human rights and other issues that concern society as a whole. Corresponds to this idea, for example, in Kalimantan people from all religions based on their faith able to work together keeping their environment from the severe destruction, for example forest burn that made Indonesia well known as “exporter” of smoke for Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. I think it is better to save the forest from forest burn, commercial exploitation or illegal logging than attack each other.
In my opinion, besides two opinion above, dialogue is how to make this world (this village, this city, this province, etc..) to be a huma hai for religious people of different traditions to live and work together. A place where exponents of different religious faiths meet and discuss the theological/philosophical bases of their traditions (academic dialogue). Here genuine attempts are made to arrive at a common appreciation of the way in which each religious tradition has sought to explain and approach reality. Here they do dialogues in order to break down prejudices and misconceptions that accumulated over centuries. They enrich, enlarge, challenge and correct the way some religions have understood and approached religious life in other traditions. Here believers attempt to meet each other as one family. They expose themselves to each other's spiritual and worship life (spiritual dialogue). On the basis of the idea that they are family, they able to participate in the prayer or mediation practices of others. In conclusion, dialogue is how to build a common house where believers consciously respect and celebrate diversity, which is a gift from God the Creator and Protector of Life, and then adopt pluralism as their style of life in order to create interfaith friendships, genuine friendships.***