The second session of the First Cordoba Forum organized by the FICRT Foundation was dedicated to highlighting the common points that unite the main religions and featured three speakers who delved into these issues from the point of view of Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. Dr. Francisco Javier Fernández Vallina, professor of Hebrew and Aramaic Studies at the Complutense University of Madrid, was in charge of moderating this session.
The first speaker in this second session was Dr. Emilio González Ferrín, professor of Islamology and Arab Studies at the University of Seville. Dr. González Ferrín explained the different models of interpretation that exist in contemporary Islamology and opted for the third one: the historical-critical method, which carries out a coherent scientific reading of the Koranic text and the literature of the Islamic sciences.
The speaker made a distinction between the religion of Islam (which should be written with a lower case), the civilization of Islam (with a capital letter) and contemporary Muslim societies. All three coincide in the ethic of the liberation of peoples.
“The culture of Islam was the guardian civilization in the preservation of arts, letters and sciences between the 8th and 15th centuries,” he asserted.
He also rejected the stereotype of Islamic conquest, which has been very pernicious to the perception of Islam throughout history: “the foundational myth states that Christianity spread through the travels of the apostles; Judaism, through the diaspora; and Islam, by force of arms. But the reality is that all three spread equally, on the basis of widespread acceptance on the basis of some readings.”.
For his part, Father Juan Buades Fuster, a graduate in Law and Theology, assigned to the Jesuit Migrant Service, explained the experience of the Abrahamic family during his pastoral and social life.
Father Buades began his talk by quoting the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians, with which he distinguishes between the carnal and spiritual filiation of Abraham: “Children of Abraham are those who live by faith”.
For the speaker, there is a second sense of Abrahamic familiarity, insofar as the three religions, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, share the same references, more or less extensive, in the sacred texts.
Among the many anecdotes he told about his period of training in the Arabic language and in Islam, the different approach to him, the only Catholic in the classes he attended at the Central Mosque of Madrid, stands out: the Spanish converts reaffirmed the contrast of what they had left behind, while the Muslims showed their curiosity and took the opportunity to ask him questions about some Christian dogma.
The third speaker of the session was Venerable Kutsab Jamyang Dorje, spiritual master and regent of the Sakya Tashi Ling religious community. The speaker confessed that he felt “privileged” to have been invited to this forum and pointed out that “I am convinced of the importance of dialogue between religions, and the FICRT Foundation has shown a very innovative and disruptive approach to interreligious dialogue.
Kutsab Jamyang Dorje explained his personal journey and his conversion to Buddhism at the age of 14, despite which he has not disavowed the principles and values of Christianity, which he learned during his first 14 years, and which are universal.”
The speaker pointed out that the misfortunes and setbacks of life are common to everyone, regardless of their particular habits and customs: “society is changing, access to the sources of spirituality requires adaptations, with a common action, space and language, so as not to repeat the unfortunate episodes of history to which human stubbornness and stupidity have led us”..
According to Dorje, “the renunciation and commitment to peace, respect and values that we know and integrate, also requires a social transformation, which also requires an individual transformation, which is the responsibility of each one of us”.