Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day interreligious meditation

You'll just have to watch this space for updates, because I'm in the midst of preparations for tonight's dinner with friends, but in the meantime, check this out:

Religious Pluralism and Islam

The above article, fresh off the press (well, not really: the lecture was in 2005, but the article appeared on the website just yesterday), is by my academic and religious hero John Hick, known to some folks in the interreligious dialogue business as "The Thinking Man's Spong." Where John Shelby Spong is a firebrand and all-around uncivil liberal Christian, Hick is a thinking liberal whose classic formulation of "the pluralistic hypothesis" remains in play today, despite massive critique. Many of my early blog posts were devoted to an exploration of Hick and his rivals.

Readers of this blog will note that the above-linked article doesn't really say much that's new, except in one crucial area: Hick now strikes out against the cynical accusation that religious pluralism is an artifact of Western liberal academe (and therefore somehow, by implication, unworthy of consideration). This move is new to me: before this, Hick has responded to such criticism (if "criticism" is the proper term for a commission of the genetic fallacy) by shrugging and observing that pluralism, as a systematic point of view, would have to have arisen somewhere. It's good to see the old guy come out swingin'.

The article also contains some points I disagree with; a critical review of Hick's piece will come later.

Meanwhile, enjoy. And Happy Saint Pat's.


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