Selasa, 26 Februari 2019

From hermeneutic of conflict to hermeneutic of dialogue

From hermeneutic of conflict to hermeneutic of dialogue:
Rediscovering the love language

Victor Christianto,
The Second Coming Institute,

For a few years, one of us had a copy of Samuel Huntington's controversial book for a long time: the clash of civilizations. But for some reason he never took the time to read the book thoroughly, besides just glimpsing the initial version published in Foreign Affairs. Finally, one time he gave the book to a friend.

What is dialogue hermeneutics?
But recently there was an article that quoted an intellectual from the Coptic church, namely Prof. Milad Hanna, who disagreed with the mindset transmitted both by Marx and Huntington. If we can look for similarities between the two thinkers, they are developing at the same time "hermeneutics of suspicion" and "hermeneutics of conflict". Both are called inter-class conflicts or between civilization.
In fact, as argued by Prof. Milad Hanna, whenever people meet the Other, it is always possible to dialogue towards mutual understanding and accepting each other as one another. In our opinion, this is in line with the thoughts of Martin Buber, the existentialist philosopher and the pioneer of the dialogical approach, who also disagrees with the views of Freud and Marx.

A little note about the foundation of Biblical
If you want to find the Biblical foundation of the 'hermeneutics of dialogue' instead of hermeneutics of conflict, perhaps one of the best places is Acts and the Epistles. However, Jesus's example of open dialogue with Rabbi Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at the edge of Jacob'swell, would open our horizons that in addition to the choice of "unity in differences" and "conflict in differences", there is also a third choice: "dialogue in difference" (of course the dialogue is interpreted in explained Martin Buber's I-Thou).
That there were indeed differences of opinion between various factions in the early church, it must be recognized (see Acts 15 and Galatians). But there was also unity and mutual respect among the pioneers in the early church, as seen in the following 3 verses:
Acts 21:18
The next day Paul went with us to visit James; all the elders were there. Galatians 2: 9 When he saw the grace that was given to me, James, Cephas, and John, who were seen as pillars of the church, shook hands with me and with Barnabas as a sign of fellowship, so that we would go to the uncircumcised and to them circumcised people;
1 Corinthians 3: 6
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave growth.

From the hermeneutics of dialogue to the hermeneutics of love.
If we can move forward from the hermeneutics of conflict to a hermeneutic of dialogue, then one more step we will find the hermeneutics of love.
Is that hermeneutics of love? In simple terms, hermeneutics is the Glasses that we use to see and understand everything that is in our experience space. As it is written:

Luke 11:34
Your eyes are the lamp of your body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be clear, but if your eyes are evil, your body will be darkened.

Such is the person who has applied the hermeneutics of love, maybe the work is still mopping the floor or raising ducks or cutting bamboo. But he will mop joyfully, and keep ducks with thanksgiving, or turn bamboo into flutes that sound melodious. There is a story that we really like from Anthony de Mello, as follows : there is a Zen student in the hermitage who protested to his teacher: "Teacher, why have you never taught me special things or knowledge? You must have hidden something, right?" After being repeatedly pressured, the teacher simply answered: "Do you hear the sound of birds singing on the tree?" Answer the student: "Yes". Then the teacher replied: "See, I am not hiding anything."
Likewise what we hear from the teaching of Jesus the Nazarene:

Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds in the sky, who do not sow and do not reap and do not gather provisions in barn, but fed by your Father in heaven. Did you not exceed the birds?

Questions to ponder:
- can you feel the whisper of God's love flowing in your pulse?
- can you hear God's voice in the breeze?

1 Kings 19:12
And after the earthquake a fire came. But there is no LORD in the fire. And after the fire came the sound of a gentle breeze.

Concluding remark: Rediscovering the language of love.
It should be clear that "meeting can open up a dialogue space." As confirmed by Prof. Milad Hanna from the Coptic church, encounters with The Other (others) do not have to produce conflict, but more likely dialogue that enlightens each other. (3) That is why Martin Buber, the pioneer of the dialogical approach, also disagrees with Marx (and Freud). (2)
In other words, we should move from hermeneutics of conflict (a la Hegel and Baur) towards hermeneutics of dialogue, as will be explored in a next article. (From logical perspective, dialogue can be viewed as accepting the otherness, just like Smarandache's Neutrosophic Logic.)
Because hermeneutics is not only about understanding, but also about explanation (1), then as good glasses help us to see more clearly, hermeneutics is good at directing the language we emit from the heart. Because what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart.

Matthew 5:22
But I say to you, "Everyone who is angry with his brother must be punished; whoever says to his brother, 'Unbelievers'; must be brought before the Sanhedrin and who says: Impossible must be delivered to a fiery hell.

And if our hearts have been enlightened by the hermeneutical love, whatever we do and say will always be colored with the language of love.
Let us close this paper with the peace prayer of St. Francis of Assisi: (5)

Lord, make me a peacemaker,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Version 1.0: 25 February 2019, pk. 22: 54

(1) Paul Riceour. Interpretation theory. URL:
(2) Martin Buber. The self in relationship. URL:
(3) Milad Hanna. Acceptance of the other.
(4) V. Christianto. Kesatuan dan perbedaan dalam Gereja Perdana. IJT, 2014. URL:
(5) Peace prayer from St. Francis from Assisi: url:


Victor Christianto
*Founder and Technical Director,
E-learning and consulting services in renewable energy
**Founder of Second Coming Institute,
Twitter: @Christianto2013, Line: @ThirdElijah, IG: @ThirdElijah

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