I have to prepare to lead discussion on Encountering Religious Pluralism, by Harold Netland this week in a seminar. So far so good – it is definitely worth reading.
The second chapter in particular was very good. Netland argues against the common claim that pluralism is the result of postmodernity, and in so doing presents a pretty good case for doing away with the whole paradigm that says postmodernity is completely antithetical to modernity. Instead, he argues that postmodern thinkers have much in common with the skepticism and empiricism of the Enlightenment, and bear a resemblance to the romantics of the nineteenth century. Interesting case.
Religious pluralism is the name given to the idea that all religions are expressions of truth in their own way, and there is not one privileged with the possession of exclusive truth. In other words, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. all have some truth and their adherents are welcomed by God. What I’ve given is a pretty good popular expression of pluralism. There are also very academically rigorous defenses of the position, the most notable being that of John Hick.
Anyway, this is one of THE issues for the Church to grapple with in coming years. It already is an issue, of course, but will only become bigger and bigger as the world shrinks and our society becomes increasingly multi-cultural.