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The ecumenical movement does not proceed without opposition. One source of rejection stems from the fact that the contemporary globalization process is not celebrated by all. Religious fundamentalists tend to be suspicious of dialogue and cooperation across boundaries; their preference is to live within closed sets of codes and beliefs. In some eastern religions contact with the "other" continues to be regarded as an occasion of defilement. For many, ecumenism represents a temptation to religious syncretism. For such as these, truth is not served but sacrificed in dialogue, and obedience to the mission imperative dictates that conversion should be the only goal of conversation. There can also be detected among "grassroots" members of highly institutionalized religions the conviction that ecumenism is the work of elite, self-justifying cadres of ecclesiastical bureaucrats. Yet, despite determined pockets of resistance, the ecumenical spirit has created numerous college and university interfaith centers and continues to energize an ever increasing number of religious adherents and imbue them with a worldwide sense of accountability for that which lies beyond the realm of privatized concern.

See also Deism; Religion; Toleration.


Bretton-Granatoor, Gary M., and Andrea L. Weiss, eds. Shalom/ Salaam: A Resource for Jewish-Muslim Dialogue. New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1993.

Duffy, Stephen J. "Mission and Dialogue in a Pluralistic Global City." Ecumenical Trends 25 (April 1996): 10–12.

Esposito, John L., Darrell J. Fasching, and Todd Lewis. World Religions Today. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Distinguished among the myriad of survey-type works for its ecumenical perspective.

Gros, Jeffrey, Harding Meyer, and William G. Rusch, eds. Growth in Agreement II: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level, 1982–1998. Geneva and Grand Rapids: WCC and Eerdmans, 2000.

Hassan, Riffat. "The Basis for a Hindu-Muslim Dialogue and Steps in that Direction from a Muslim Perspective." In Muslims in Dialogue: The Evolution of a Dialogue, edited by Leonard Swidler, Lewiston, N.Y.: Mellen, 1992.

Kinnamon, Michael, and Brian E. Cope, eds. The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices. Geneva: WCC, 1997.

Lossky, Nicholas, et al, eds. A Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement. 2nd ed. Geneva: WCC, 2002. Seven hundred entries by 370 leaders in the ecumenical movement—a cornerstone for any ecumenical library.

Rusch, William G. "The State and Future of the Ecumenical Movement." Pro Ecclesia 9, no. 1 (2000): 8–18.

Joseph A. Loya

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Dysprosium to Electrophoresis - Electrophoretic TheoryEcumenism - Christianity, Conclusion, Bibliography