Interreligious Dialogue in a Fragmented World. Some Evidence for Coexistence and Convergence

  • Licia Paglione Sophia University Institute
  • Berhard Callebaut Sophia University Institute
Keywords: Interreligious dialogue, Convergence, Dialogical coexistence


In today’s fragmented and globalized world, the economy and technology are both in need of an spiritual base. Philosopher Karl Jaspers’ account of the axial age as giving rise to distinct regional religious identities is now giving way to a more local pluralism. Instead of a “clash of civilizations,” a certain existenceoffers the opportunity for both distinct identity and its apparent opposite, integration. The Focolare Movement’s experience of dialogue serves as an example for understanding this phenomenon conceptually through the sociological/anthropological lens of gift, where identity is dependent on the establishment of gratuitous relationships. Religious identity is reinforced precisely through openness to diversity, suggesting a possible ushering in of a new 'axial age' in which religions converge while simultaneously, remaining distinct, and thereby fostering a more integral humanity.

Author Biographies

Licia Paglione, Sophia University Institute

Maria Licia Paglione holds a PhD in Social Sciences and is a researcher and lecturer at the Sophia University Institute, teaching the sociology of human relations, methodology of social research and social project design. She works on the concept of "relational goods", using Social Network Analysis as a research tool.

Berhard Callebaut, Sophia University Institute

Bennie Callebaut holds a PhD in Social Sciences, and is professor of sociology of human relations, introduction to social ethics, sociology of religions and charisms at Sophia University Institute. Among his recent research interests he has been working on the evolution and role of religions in the contemporary world, with special attention to emerging charismatic currents.