Christian Faith and Other Faiths: The Christian Dialogue with Other Religions

Christian Faith and Other Faiths: The Christian Dialogue with Other Religions

Christian Faith and Other Faiths: The Christian Dialogue with Other Religions

Christian Faith and Other Faiths: The Christian Dialogue with Other Religions

Excerpt

When the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr. Frank Woods, after consultation with the other Anglican Metropolitans in Australia, did me the great honour of inviting me to deliver the Moorhouse Lectures in his Cathedral, he at the same time indicated the subject on which he hoped that I would lecture--Christianity and the Other Faiths. The hopes of Archbishops are scarcely to be distinguished from the commands of lesser men. In consequence, I have felt inclined to call this book The Task. To write yet another introduction to the non-Christian religions in their familiar and classical forms would not have been a great labour. To attempt to understand them in their contemporary crises, and to make an assessment of them from a Christian standpoint, is a very different matter. The literature of the subject is immense and grows almost daily, much of the material being hidden away in not very easily accessible periodicals. In a little more than a year, already heavily preoccupied with other concerns, I have not been able to acquaint myself with more than a small fraction of this literature. I have done my best with the books and periodicals available to me. As I worked, I found that a pattern of understanding seemed to be forming itself in my mind. I hope that the reader, as he in his turn wrestles with this complex and intractable material, may share something of this experience.

There can be no doubt of the relevance of the theme, especially at a time in which Australia, which had long maintained a somewhat isolated existence, has become very much aware of South-east Asia as its own 'near-North', and has entered into personal acquaintance with the hundreds of Asian students who are pressing into the Australian Universities. The consistently large attendance when the lectures were delivered in Melbourne, the close attention with which they were followed, and the many hopes expressed of seeing them before long in printed form have encouraged me to hope that the book may prove useful to others as well as to the original listeners. I do not know any other book which covers quite the same field, or which handles the material in quite the same way; this, perhaps, is the only valid excuse for writing yet another book on a well-worn theme.

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