Monday, January 12, 2009

Three essays on Pluralism and Interreligious Dialogue

I have read in recent days three essays which I recommend to you on Interreligious dialogue and the challenge of pluralism. They are not saying the same thing entirely, but each explore the issue from profitable angles to lead us a little beyond the simplistic (and all to common) "three paradigm" approach of "exclusivism", "inclusivism" and "pluralism". If you are are a Christian trying to get your head around this "interfaith thing" I highly recommend these essays for to aid your understanding.

"Interreligious Dialogue and Jewish-Christian Relations" by Joseph Ratzinger (now gloriously reigning as Benedict XVI)
"Inter-Religious Dialogue: Urgent Challenge and Theological Land-Mine" by Fr John A. Coleman SJ
"At Home and Not at Home: Religious Pluralism and Religious Truth" by Robert N. Bellah

The last one was recommended to me by Fr Coleman, the author of the second essay (His Holiness has not sent me any particular recommendations!). I was not previously aware of Bellah's work, but his essay is very promising. He is the University of California Berkeley Ford Professor of Sociology and his home page is here.

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