Divergent Traditions, Converging Faiths: Troeltsch, Comparative Theology, and the Conversation with Hinduism

By Joseph Molleur | Go to book overview

Chapter 12

Troeltsch and the Enterprise of Contemporary Systematics: Some Concluding Thoughts
Troeltsch, following Schleiermacher, sought to construct a “theology of consciousness” rather than a more traditional “theology of facts.” In other words, rather than availing himself of the “data of revelation, ” as pre- Schleiermacherian dogmatic and systematic theology had always done, the place where Troeltsch searched for the raw materials for his theological system was the “pious consciousness” of the Christians of his day. Assuming that there is some merit to this notion of a theology of consciousness, a question that arises in the context of the subject matter of this book is, what, if any, place does the concern for other religions occupy in the “pious consciousness” of Christians of our own day, at the turn of the twenty-first century?No doubt there still are, and perhaps always will be, some Christians who view other religions in an unqualifiedly negative light, and for whom the adherents of other religions are only objects of pity, or targets for conversion to Christianity. Despite the ongoing presence of that extreme sort of exclusivistic Christian, a case can be made that there is a growing number of Christians in the present day who are increasingly more open to the possible spiritual, doctrinal, and soteriological value of other religions. The following phenomena can be cited in support of such a case:
1. The steadily increasing number of books about the teachings and practices of other religions that have been published since the 1960's in the “traditionally Christian” countries of North America and Europe.

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