Christianity supports pluralism thesis

That, I think, is the only plausible way of interpreting the point that Harrison is making.

religious pluralism essay

If that were the case, then it would certainly be a disagreement that goes deeper than a difference of opinion over an everyday matter of fact, but it would be a disagreement nonetheless.

According to the critical realist principle, there are realities external to us, yet we are never aware of them as they are in themselves, but only as they appear to us within our particular cognitive machinery and conceptual resources.

religious pluralism

Indeed, she intends it to be a useful intervention in debates over religious diversity, for she maintains that its acceptance would promote tolerance and even respect between different religious communities.

A response of this latter kind might be fortified by the knowledge that the people who were sacrificed were very far from being willing victims, having normally, in the Mayan and Aztec cases for example, been taken captive during warfare Sharerpp.

Religious pluralism essay

The claim that the experience of regeneration with which the Christian life begins can be classed as a mere species of the genus common throughout all faiths, is rejected within this thesis. It is its conceptualisation—that is, the fact of there being a concept of that object—that makes the object a possible target for belief. It is important to recognise that it is by no means self-evident that an intimate understanding is impossible to achieve in this case. To be precise, what seems to be required at this historical juncture is a theory of religious pluralism that is suitably sensitive to the challenge posed by cultural diversity, while remaining respectful of religious differences. The central focus of the study is a critical examination of a the epistemology of religious experience as advanced by Professor Hick, b the ontological status of the being he understands to be God, and further asks c to what extent can the pluralistic view of religious experience be harmonised with the experience with which the Christian life is understood to begin viz. In this respect, however, she is far from alone in contemporary philosophy. Working with Examples There is a tendency within analytic philosophy in general, from which analytic philosophy of religion is far from immune, to illustrate arguments with examples that are thinly sketched and poorly contextualised. The study takes the view that the notion of transcategoriality as developed by Professor Hick appears to deny any ontological status to God, effectively arguing him out of existence. That statements can be incomprehensible to someone operating with a different conceptual scheme implies that they are not necessarily incomprehensible. While some commentators would construe this as a form of nonrealism or antirealism, Putnam calls it internal realism because it maintains that the objects we, as individuals, perceive and think about do really exist independently of our own thoughts and perceptions, albeit not independently of the conceptual scheme within which our perceiving and thinking are occurring. But the essential point here is that there is no reason to assume that differences in form of life—differences between conceptual schemes—invariably constitute an insuperable barrier to mutual understanding. It may be precisely that commitment that the Muslim is rejecting.

He is certainly refraining from condemnation, but so too is he refraining from approval or condonance. Thus, Harrison contends, this theory gives us a form of religious pluralism—internalist pluralism—that avoids both eliminativism and reductivismp.

Pluralism and christianity

Christian theology does not suggest or demand that such lives at every stage be demonstrably superior, when contrasted with other virtuous or morally upright members of society. On the other hand, if what failure to target a purported object amounts to is trying to apply a concept for which there is no appropriate conceptual-scheme-independent object, then it is difficult to see how the idea of successfully or unsuccessfully targeting an object from within a conceptual scheme can avoid collapsing into a version of metaphysical realism; that is, it is difficult to see how it can avoid affirming that there are objects or realities that, without themselves being ontologically dependent on any conceptual scheme, constitute the targets for concepts or statements issued from within conceptual schemes. Perhaps this need for looking to the life is part of what Harrison is getting at by speaking of distinct conceptual schemes. The other main purpose of this article is the constructive one of demonstrating how the practice of philosophy of religion in general, and of philosophy of religious diversity in particular, might be improved by means of a more rigorous and attentive analysis of examples than is commonly displayed in the literature. Toleration and respect may well be present, but not because the disagreement in form of life has been dissolved. The study concludes by paying tribute to the contribution Professor Hick has made to the field of the epistemology of religious experience. What remains unclear is how the attitudes of toleration and respect are supposed to follow from the appreciation of the diversity of conceptual schemes that Harrison wishes to encourage. In cases where adults who were sacrificed appear to have volunteered, having regarded a sacrificial death as an honour and privilege, a different set of moral responses may be elicited. At the level of epistemology he further argued that religious experience itself provided the rational basis for belief in God. A consequence is that the examples are left thinly sketched, poorly contextualised and hastily interpreted, and the inferences ostensibly drawn from them are tenuous and ill-supported. None of these attitudes would be apropos in the absence of any clear understanding of what is going on in the other society—of what the behaviour amounts to and of what it means for the participants. To even begin to get clear about what the latter dispute amounts to, we would have to gain some understanding of what it means for a Christian—and perhaps what it means for the particular Christian involved in the dispute—to believe in the divinity of Christ. Discerning readers of such arguments, if they can make any sense of the examples at all, could be excused for wondering what purpose the examples are intended to serve and whether, in the absence of thicker description, they really serve any useful purpose whatsoever. The central focus of the study is a critical examination of a the epistemology of religious experience as advanced by Professor Hick, b the ontological status of the being he understands to be God, and further asks c to what extent can the pluralistic view of religious experience be harmonised with the experience with which the Christian life is understood to begin viz.

He conceded that the Incarnation, if true, would be decisive evidence for the uniqueness of Christianity, but rejected the same on the grounds of logical incoherence. What is at issue is thus something more like a melange of overlapping and interpenetrating schemes, constantly shifting and evolving, with fluid and indeterminate boundaries—not a constellation of self-contained worlds.

Religious pluralism

That deepening of understanding is unlikely to always lead to enhanced tolerance and respect. The upshot of my discussion in this section could be expressed in terms of a dilemma for internalist pluralism. If the aim is to increase mutual understanding, communication and respect, this may well be assisted by closer attention to the specificities of religious and nonreligious ways of thinking and forms of life, and philosophy has much to offer through cultivating such modes of attention and analysis. It may be precisely that commitment that the Muslim is rejecting. Whatever they do, however, they should respect each other. What philosophy ought to be able to offer in relation to religious diversity, I propose, is attentiveness to nuances and particularities, thereby aiding religious understanding without the need for a general theory. All awareness of God is interpreted through the lens of pre-existing, culturally relative religious forms, which in turn explains the differing theologies within the world of religion. I shall discuss that difficulty in the next section before turning to a more general issue that I have with the way in which Harrison works with illustrative examples. It is likely to appear unacceptable because it seems to suggest that objects of religious faith are mere conceptual constructs. In this respect, however, she is far from alone in contemporary philosophy. Harrison herself sketches the following example concerning Christian, Muslim and Hindu conceptions of the divine.

But the essential point here is that there is no reason to assume that differences in form of life—differences between conceptual schemes—invariably constitute an insuperable barrier to mutual understanding.

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A critical study of John Hick's religious pluralism