On Religious Diversity

On Religious Diversity

On Religious Diversity

On Religious Diversity

Synopsis

In On Religious Diversity, Robert McKim distinguishes and examines a number of possible responses to the knowledge of diverse religious traditions that is available to all of us today. There is no escaping the fact that the presence of competing traditions now confronts each of the traditions in a new and forceful way. And there is widespread if inchoate recognition of genuine religious sensibilities and genuine religious seriousness in others. How might, and how should, an awareness of other traditions affect a member of a particular religious tradition? What attitudes should be taken to the beliefs and salvific prospects of members of other traditions? McKim examines several proposed answers to these questions, offering the deepest analysis to date of such options as exclusivism and inclusivism. He argues that what look like well-defined and discrete positions dissolve somewhat under scrutiny, revealing significantly different possibilities. McKim suggests where best to look for the most plausible answers and makes a case for the attractiveness of inclusivistic options. He pays particular attention to the religiously ambiguous nature of our circumstances and to the implications of this ambiguity.

Excerpt

I am indebted to many colleagues, friends, and students for discussion of the themes pursued in this book. Special thanks to Michael Scoville and to Blair Goodlin for numerous excellent comments on most of the chapters and to Michael Mrozinski for many helpful observations on the chapters he read.

Earlier versions of parts of what follows have already appeared in print. An earlier version of part of chapter 6 appeared in “Could God have more than one nature?” Faith and Philosophy 5: 378–398, 1988, and a modified version of that material is used here by permission of the editor. An earlier version of another part of chapter 6 appeared in “The Goodness of the Real” Sophia 42: 172–78, 2003, and a modified version of that material is used here by permission of the publisher. Chapter 7 is a revised version of “On Religious Ambiguity” Religious Studies 44: 373–392, 2008, and appears here by permission of the editor. An early version of parts of chapters 2 to 6 appeared in Martin Cogan and John Littleton, eds., Theology for Today, Vol. 1: Christianity and World Religions (Dublin, Ireland: the Priory Institute, 2007), and a modified and expanded version of that material is used here by permission of the Director of the Priory Institute. I am very grateful for permission to use this material.

I am dedicating this book to some of my former teachers, having been the fortunate beneficiary of excellent instruction at a number of institutions from primary school to graduate school, and I list these former teachers in the chronological order in which I had the benefit of learning from them. I thank my teachers for the rigor of their pedagogy, for opening up new bodies of knowledge and new fields of inquiry, for capturing the attention and the imagination of their charges, for knowing when to provide a word of encouragement or a word of correction, and especially for exemplifying a love of learning and an appreciation of books and of ideas.

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