Human Finitude and Interreligious Dialogue

Title: Human Finitude and Interreligious Dialogue: A Discussion of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Thought on Human Finitude

Author: Mega Hidayati (CRCS, 2006)

Keywords: human limitation, interreligious dialogue, awareness of otherness



In this plural world, in terms of religion, the encounter among people who have different religions is inevitable. Problems arise when someone views others based on his/her religious beliefs, meaning she/he does not realize that what she/he believes is truly limited, or in other words, humans are limited in their understanding of others’ beliefs. This becomes dangerous when people maintain their false prejudices towards others and do not want to obtain the clarification of the prejudices. In many times and places, religious issues are one of the significant factors which rapidly increase the state of conflict and violence.


Interreligious dialogue is one measure to avoid such danger above. In an interreligious dialogue, people do not only talk about their religious teachings but also are concerned about the human problems of suffering. Thus, the understanding among followers of different religions and a clarification of prejudice are possible through interreligious dialogue.


In this thesis, human finitude and interreligious dialogue are discussed by exploring Gadamer’s thoughts. Gadamer’s ideas of human finitude indeed help people to have the awareness of their finitude and of otherness. In addition, Gadamer conveys a model of dialogue by regarding this fact of human finitude. By exploring this, hopefully, people will be aware of the need for dialogue with others. This model of dialogue will be associated with Kniter’s four models of interreligious dialogue so that an immense contribution of Gadamer’s thoughts into interreligious dialogue can be obtained and the most adequate model of interreligious dialogue can be found.

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