Scriptural Reasoning is a method of interfaith dialogue that aims to facilitate a deeper understanding of others and their traditions through a focus on their scriptures. Participants explore short sections of scripture selected on a common theme, giving equal time to each.
First, they listen to a speaker who will explain the context of the text, and how it has been understood within their tradition. Then, in small groups, participants share with one another how they ‘reason’ with the text, applying it to modern life. They each have the text in front of them, and often explore the particular words and phrasing in detail, asking questions and sharing their thoughts. You don’t need to be a scholar to be involved and these meetings are usually very mixed, with people from all walks of life taking part. There’s a wonderful atmosphere of openness and friendship, and frequent laughter. There is no drive towards consensus or agreement about what the texts say, instead, the aim is to build understanding. Participants may well find common ground, but they are also able to share honestly about differences – both between and within traditions. People often comment on how much they have learned about their own tradition as well as those of others through this process, as the questions raised during the discussions surprise them and ignite their curiosity.