I See that from Both Sides Now: On the Intricate Relation between Dialogue and Conversion

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There seems to be a double track in the relationship to the other. On the one hand, there is dialogue—an attitude of seeing the other as she is. On the other hand, we all seem to have some kind of worldview implying that My Way is the Best Way, at least in a certain respect—there seem to be certain points where I would like other people to see things in the same way as I do. I argue that these two seemingly opposite attitudes need not necessarily be connected to opposite values. No, both attitudes may be traced to similar ethical grounds. There is an ethic of dialogue, and there is an ethic of conversion, as it were. W. K. Clifford’s classical text ‘The Ethics of Belief’ is taken as a point of entry together with William James’ reply ‘The Will to Believe.’ However, instead of picking up the traditional epistemological debate regarding Clifford and James, this article uses these texts in an argument that the relation between dialogue and conversion is an intricate one from an ethical point of view. Intricate indeed, as an ethical perspective is also related to theological standpoints and to views of religion in an inter-dependent fashion. Here Dorothée Sölle is given as an illustrative example.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-272
JournalAustralian Religion Studies Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Religious Studies


  • ethic of dialogue
  • ethic of conversion
  • interreligious relations
  • dialogue and conversion


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