Real Religious Pluralism and a Process for Understanding

By Gary Boelhower.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Many who hold a pluralistic perspective on faith have been criticized for taking an "identist" view which reduces the pluralism of diverse traditions to a multiplicity of expressions of one reality and one "salvation." John Cobb, on the other hand, takes a perspective that has been called "deep" pluralism, recognizing the real differences in understanding ultimate reality and religious experience. Based on the Whiteheadian understanding of diverse structures of human exisence and the multiplicity of ultimates, Cobb both recognizes the validity of other faith traditions and continues to assert the uniqueness of his Christian faith. How does such a pluralistic perspective not lapse into relativism? Based on Cobb's theory of pluralism and its Whiteheadian foundations, I will present Cobb's perspective that Christ is the incarnation of the Logos as creative transformation and, thus, Christianity requires an interfaith process of deep listening and openness to transformation. Criteria for identifying authentic creative transformation will be identified.

Keywords: Religious Pluralism, Whitehead, Cobb, Religious Diversity, Process Theology, Christology

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 7, pp.175-182. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 502.615KB).

Dr. Gary Boelhower

Chairperson, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota, USA

My work as a professor and administrator has focused on the intersection of dialogue and theology or discernment and spirituality in the attempt to assert the validity of other faith traditions and the salvific claims of Christianity. I explore a Christian faith and spirituality that focuses on deep listening and opens participants to mutual transformation in the hopes of a respectful acknowledgement of the real diversity and validity of multiple authentic faith traditions.

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