Hospitality and Friendship as Effective Tools for Sustained Interreligious Dialogue: A Case Study of the Catholic Community of Ihievbe, Edo State, Nigeria

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 1-1-2013


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Marinus Iwuchukwu

Committee Member

Elochukwu E. Uzukwu

Committee Member

Gerald M. Boodoo


Christianity, Dialogue, Ihievbe, Interfaith, Interreligious, Theology


This study seeks to utilize the cultural, philosophical, and religious virtues of hospitality and friendship as means for constructing a viable model for interreligious encounter/dialogue. Specifically, this study investigates how the Catholic community in Ihievbe town, along with their counterparts from other religious traditions, lives out these virtues in order to shape and construct an identity that is faithful to both their religious heritage and their social context. I argue that the Ihievbe case offers us an appropriate paradigm for interreligious engagements.

In addition, this study challenges the view of a uniform Catholic identity without acknowledgment of different faith communities and their contexts. While engaging the Ihievbe Catholic community, this study surmises that the community's ability to live above the fray of religious violence is realized through its deliberate attempt to engage other religions in concrete ways which encourage dialogue and respect for the other. Utilizing philosophical, social, cultural, and religious reasoning, this study demonstrates how the central roles of hospitality and friendship help to foster social and religious harmony in communal life. While engaging the cultural and religious worldview of the Ihievbe people, this study calls on ritual practices that foster dialogue among people of faith.

Finally, at the heart of this study is a defense of a contextual approach to interreligious dialogue. The study calls attention to the need for different religiously pluralistic communities to engage their cultural and religious heritages in order to find those virtues which they share in common, and then use them to develop dialogical models that can be accepted by all parties. At the same time, each religious tradition must be willing to engage its own history, critically evaluate it, and abandon those theological claims that are shaped by narrow ideological agenda. This study has significantly engaged those aspects of Catholic-Christian teachings which trivialize the relevance and/or role of other religions as ways to attaining salvation. The ability of each religion to define itself in relation to its interactions with other religions and with society is defended in this study.





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