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Saturday, September 10, 2005

I call myself a religious pluralist. What the heck is it and where did I come up with it? Well, I took a class in college that really changed my religious philosophy (if I even had one at the time). One of the assigned texts was an essay by John Hick on Religious pluralism. A wiki search on the subject of pluralism is a good place to start. And I quote:

Religious pluralism is the belief that one can overcome religious differences between different religions, and denominational conflicts within the same religion. For most religious traditions, religious pluralism is essentially based on a non-literal view of one's religious traditions, hence allowing for respect to be engendered between different traditions on core principles rather than more marginal issues. It is perhaps summarized as an attitude which rejects focus on immaterial differences, and instead gives respect to those beliefs held in common.

The existence of religious pluralism depends on the existence of freedom of religion.

My out-look on God is: there is something greater than ourselves. But any experiencing of that which is greater than ourselves is bound by the framework and tools by which one can describe. For example If you have an iconic/symbolic language, you'll probably develop texts and ideas that fit within an iconic or symbolic framework. The key is to understand that everyone is bound by such limitations of our own minds and to understand that what you might experience as the Divine might be perceived differently by someone else with a different framework for understanding. Knowing this in combination with some historical context on the development of modern religions including cultural and political influences leads to the idea of pluralism: that no one religion is superior to another, that they are all flawed in some ways, but the ultimate goal is the same.


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