Religious Diversity & Particularism

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    Basinger, David

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    Pluralism and Justified Religious Belief: a Response to Gellman

    "It is impossible to deny...the reality of pervasive religious diversity (pluralism) -- the fact that individuals who appear to be equally sincere and knowledgeable often affirm different and sometimes incompatible religious beliefs. However, we also know from experience, I pointed out, that belief conflicts (including religious belief conflicts) at times exist simply because those involved have failed to consider all the relevant data to which they have access. And accordingly, I concluded, if the goal of a theist is to maximize 'truth' and minimize 'error', the reality of pervasive religious pluralism prohibits her from justifiably choosing to retain a purely defensive posture. She is rather under a prima facie obligation 'to attempt to resolve the pluralistic conflict -- enter the arena of positive apologetics -- before any 'final' decision concerning the epistemic status of her formed religious beliefs can be made.'"
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    Basinger, David

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    Plantinga, Pluralism and Justified Religious Belief

    "Plantinga is a nonevidentialist in the sense that he thinks that we need not search for propositional evidence to support our formed beliefs or the reliability of our own belief-forming faculties. On the other hand, it is my contention that, given the pluralistic challenge, the knowledgeable theist is required to look for such propositional evidence, although she can justifiably continue to consider her formed beliefs properly basic even if none is found."
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    Basinger, David

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    Religious Diversity (Pluralism)

    "Specifically, our discussion will focus primarily on the following questions: How pervasive is religious diversity? Does the reality of this diversity require a response? Can a person who acknowledges religious diversity remain justified in claiming just one perspective to be correct? If so, is it morally justifiable to attempt to convert others to a different perspective? Can it justifiably be claimed that only one religion offers a path into the eternal presence of God? The answers to such questions are not simply academic. They increasingly have great impact on how we treat others, both personally and corporately."
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    Butcher, Julian

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    How Shall They Believe In Him Of Whom They Have Not Heard?: An Investigation Into the Question of Salvation Outside Formal Christianity

    "This investigation has sought to answer the question: Is it possible for a person to be saved without hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ?...[T]he question arose because of an unease about an apparent contradiction: the Bible teaches, not only that God is just, but that “God is love;” it also teaches that Jesus is the only Saviour; and yet it is obvious that God does not give everyone the opportunity to hear the good news about Jesus. An answer to this question was therefore sought, not for the purposes of self-congratulation, but to reassure us that the teachings of Scripture stand up to the brute facts of the real world."
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    Clark, Kelly James

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    Religious Diversity and Religious Tolerance

    "Religious belief is often portrayed as the inevitable enemy of tolerance. I have argued that this caricature is deeply mistaken. Tolerance is a virtue that requires deep religious or moral conviction. Moreover, it is rooted in a conception of the self that is rich enough to ground respect. The virtue of tolerance issues forth in the kind of behavior that conduces to living well among people with deeply different beliefs and practices from one’s own. This disposition requires cultivation because of our natural inclination to view the other as a burden and to reject the other. Skeptical accounts of religious diversity undermine this religious grounding of tolerance and threaten the very diversity they wish to preserve."
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    Clark, Kelly James

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    Perils of Pluralism

    "Two pressures toward religious pluralism are the variety of religious traditions which seem equally successful in the transformation of human lives and that apparently sincere and equally capable truth-seekers reach divergent conclusions about the nature of ultimate reality. I discuss Hick’s Kantian explanation of these phenomena. I argue that his account is: neither the only nor the best account; furthermore that more reasonable accounts allow for the members of competing traditions to affirm the truth of their religious beliefs; and if Hick’s explanation were accepted it would undermine the salvific power of the respective religious traditions."
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    Collins, Robin

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    Eastern Religions

    "Many people believe that the existence of other world religions somehow undermines the tenability Christianity. In this chapter, I will only consider this apologetic challenge in light of the major Eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Moreover, I will only consider one type of challenge, namely the claim that Eastern religions offer a truly viable alternative worldview to that of Western theism. According to this challenge, we have no reason to prefer a Western theistic worldview over the Eastern alternatives."
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    Corduan, Winfried

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    Buddha, Shiva, and Muhammad: Theistic Faith in Other Religions?

    "What is the destiny of the unevangelized? Clark H. Pinnock has argued that a person who has not had the opportunity to hear the gospel and so has not exercised explicit conscious faith in Christ may yet partake of the effect of Christ’s atonement for salvation. Pinnock supports his case with a number of arguments, only a minor one of which is the presence of true and noble beliefs found in non-Christian religions. In this paper I will respond to some of Pinnock’s references to non-Christian religions."
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    Craig, William L.

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    The Exclusivity of Salvation in Christ

    "[A] middle knowledge perspective on the problem of the exclusivity of the Christian religion can be quite fruitful. Since all persons are in sin, all are in need of salvation. Since Christ is God's unique expiatory sacrifice for sin, salvation is only through Christ. Since Jesus and his work are historical in character, many persons as a result of historical and geographical accident will not be sufficiently well-informed concerning him and thus unable to respond to him in faith. Such persons who are not sufficiently well-informed about Christ's person and work will be judged on the basis of their response to general revelation and the light that they do have."
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    Geivett, R. Douglas and Clark Pinnock

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    "Misgivings" and "Openness": A Dialog on Inclusivism Between R. Douglas Geivett and Clark Pinnock

    "Max Warren has observed that 'the impact of agnostic science will turn out to be child’s play compared to the challenge to Christian theology of the faiths of other men.' One sort of response to this challenge is what I will call 'evangelical inclusivism.' Clark Pinnock and I will be exploring the strengths and weaknesses of his own inclusivist proposal, familiar to many through his various publications."
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    Guthrie, Shandon L.

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    Comparative Soteriology and Logical Incompatibility: A Look at what World Religions Believe About Being "Saved."

    "The beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism about salvation are evaluated in light of their differences. The fact that either one system is right or they are all wrong causes us to look at worldwide representatives of various religious beliefs. Christianity is defended as the preferable system."
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    Kern, Daniel

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    A Dilemma for Exclusivism

    "There has been considerable debate in recent years about the theological doctrines of exclusivism (the position that people must explicitly accept Christ as their savior while they are alive in order to be saved) and inclusivism (the doctrine that some people may be saved without explicitly accepting Christ as their savior while they are alive). In this paper, I take up the issue again and provide some more arguments in support of inclusivism over exclusivism. I argue that exclusivism gives rise to a dilemma: in the case of people who have never heard of Christ, the exclusivist must choose between God’s character traits of mercy and justice on the one hand, and exclusivism on the other. I consider several possible responses by exclusivists, but show that none of them are able to resolve the dilemma. I conclude that, while the exclusivist desire to pattern their argument on biblical passages is admirable, their attempt to adequately account for the biblical message regarding salvation is faulty."
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    Kvanvig, Jonathan L.

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    Religious Pluralism and the Buridan’s Ass Paradox

    "The paradox of Buridan’s Ass involves an animal facing two equally adequate and attractive alternatives, such as would happen were a hungry ass to confront two bales of hay that are equal in all respects relevant to the ass’s choice. Of course, the ass will eat from one rather than the other, because the alternative is to starve. But why does this eating happen? What reason is operative, and what explanation can be given as to why the ass eats from, say, the left bale rather than the right bale? Why doesn’t the ass remain caught between the options, forever indecisive and starving to death? Religious pluralists face a similar dilemma, a dilemma that I will argue is more difficult to address than the paradox just described."
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    Pinnock, Clark H.

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    Religious Pluralism : A Turn to the Holy Spirit

    "Rightly or wrongly, more often than not, conservative evangelical theologians opt for a restrictivist approach to the salvation of non-Christians and are not inclined to think that God might be redemptively active in the religious life of humanity at large...[T]he inclination is widespread not to acknowledge much by way of positive divine activity in this sphere. This inclination shows some signs of changing partly because the soteriological problem involved remains so severe. I refer to the unpleasant implications that, under the arrangements God has put in place according to restrictivism, most sinners will have no opportunity to be saved though no fault of their own. How...could a just and merciful God consign to hell those whose very providential circumstances prevented them from hearing? Not only is this a painful dilemma intellectually but there exists some considerable hope among our people for a better resolution of this problem."