John Hick's Religious Pluralism

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John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby efrisad » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:02 am

Hello family! How are you all? I hope you are doing well.

The reason I created this topic is to know if anyone here advocates to Religious Pluralism as presented by John Hick. I also would appreciate your responses to the following questions:

What does a person need to believe in order to be considered a Christian?
Is the belief in a literal incarnation and divinity of Christ essential to be saved?
Can a person be a Religious Pluralist (like John Hick) and still be considered a Christian and be saved?

Don't get me wrong, please. These questions are serious, I'm trying to find an answer and know other's people opinion.

God bless,

Federico
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:09 am

"You've got to think lucky. If you fall into a mudhole, check your back pocket - you might have caught a fish." -- Darrell Royal


I think you must first define it. And for the record, I do NOT believe in or advocate it. Here's the definition from the Protestant site Got Questions at What is religious pluralism?

Religious pluralism generally refers to the belief in two or more religious worldviews as being equally valid or acceptable. More than mere tolerance, religious pluralism accepts multiple paths to God or gods as a possibility and is usually contrasted with “exclusivism,” the idea that there is only one true religion or way to know God.



There is another position called Inclusivism (Positions for the Lost) - which I'm an advocate of. It has a board consensus among the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches.
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby efrisad » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:11 am

randylkemp wrote:
"You've got to think lucky. If you fall into a mudhole, check your back pocket - you might have caught a fish." -- Darrell Royal


I think you must first define it. And for the record, I do NOT believe in or advocate it. Here's the definition from the Protestant site Got Questions at What is religious pluralism?

Religious pluralism generally refers to the belief in two or more religious worldviews as being equally valid or acceptable. More than mere tolerance, religious pluralism accepts multiple paths to God or gods as a possibility and is usually contrasted with “exclusivism,” the idea that there is only one true religion or way to know God.


That's why I said "Religious Pluralism as presented by John Hick".
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:20 am

efrisad wrote:
That's why I said "Religious Pluralism as presented by John Hick".


But folks still need to look up Religious Pluralism and/or John Hick, if they are not familiar with it. I just saved them a step. :!: :lol:

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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby St. Michael » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:24 am

Hick claimed that the knowledge of the Real can only be known as it is perceived. But the truth is - Reality presents us with Truths but Truths that clash with each other. So, I believe in Truth and am therefore not a relativist like Hick. Christ is the Truth in all His multifaceted splendor.
I do not say we are called upon to dispute and defend the truth with logic and argument, but we are called upon to show by our lives that we stand on the side of truth. ~~ George MacDonald
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby Sherman » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:46 am

efrisad wrote:1) The reason I created this topic is to know if anyone here advocates to Religious Pluralism as presented by John Hick. I also would appreciate your responses to the following questions:
2) What does a person need to believe in order to be considered a Christian?
3) Is the belief in a literal incarnation and divinity of Christ essential to be saved?
4) Can a person be a Religious Pluralist (like John Hick) and still be considered a Christian and be saved?


1) I am not familiar with John Hick's beliefs, and do not believe that Religious Pluralism is logically tenable.
2) The answer to this depends on who is doing the "considering". Personally, I accept anyone who is a follower of Jesus as being a Christian. And even more so, I see all as being children of God, my family.
3) I believe that ultimately every person will come to recognize the divinity of Christ, the literal incarnation of God, Emmanuel, God with us. This is part of the salvation process. And one should define "saved" to answer the question coherently. If saved = right relationship with God, then no, one must simply respond to the revelation of God that God gives them. Abraham was "saved" though he did not know of Jesus, though he ultimately did come to know him, I believe. If saved = going to heaven someday, well then I believe that all will ultimately bow to Christ and worship God, so yes, for one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord
4) Again, this depends on who's doing the considering. Also Jesus said that we'd know one another by our love for one another, not some adherence to a specific set of doctrines, but by our attitudes and actions.
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby Bob Wilson » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:58 am

I wonder if there are options wherein inclusivism and pluralism overlap. It may be possible to hold that while there is objective truth, each religion involves humans with an imperfect perception of ultimate reality or God, wherein each perceives some of the truth, without believing that all religions or views are "equally valid." Thus, a Christian may believe Christ offers the best and fullest revelation of God, without holding that those who haven't recognized their doctrines about him have necessarily missed what matters most to God.
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby St. Michael » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:14 am

Hey Bob!

Where you been man? :D At the heart of Reality lies paradox and mystery. Truths are there but they clash and contradict each other. We see this in Christ who is fully God and fully man. God is both one and three, etc. So, it's not relativism because relativism is just based on your perspective. But I think there are truths to be found in other religions besides the Bible like you say. Interesting points you bring up. Let me ponder this some more.
I do not say we are called upon to dispute and defend the truth with logic and argument, but we are called upon to show by our lives that we stand on the side of truth. ~~ George MacDonald
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:18 am

John Hicks, according to Wiki:

was a philosopher of religion and theologian born in England who taught in the United States for the larger part of his career. In philosophical theology, he made contributions in the areas of theodicy, eschatology, and Christology, and in the philosophy of religion he contributed to the areas of epistemology of religion and religious pluralism


He moved to the position of religious pluralism because:

Hick initially pursued a law degree at the University of Hull, but, having converted to Evangelical Christianity, he decided to change his career and he enrolled at the University of Edinburgh in 1941.

During his studies, he became liable for military service in World War II, but, as a conscientious objector on moral grounds, he enrolled in the Friends' Ambulance Unit.

After the war, he returned to Edinburgh and became attracted to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and began to question his fundamentalism. In 1948 he completed his MA thesis, which formed the basis of his book Faith and Knowledge.[3] He went on to complete a D. Phil at Oriel College, Oxford University in 1950[4] and a DLitt from Edinburgh in 1975.[5] In 1953 he married Joan Hazel Bowers, and the couple had four children. After many years as a member of the United Reformed Church, in October 2009 he was accepted into membership of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain. He died in 2012.[6][7]


Regardless of his position on religious pluralism, Hicks was a professional academic PhD philosopher. He was heavily influenced by Immanuel Kant and Quakerism. I would take the Inclusive position (folks of other faiths can be included, by Christ working with them - see (Positions for the Lost)).

According to inclusivism (sometimes called “the faith principle”), Jesus is the particular savior of the world, but people can benefit from the redemptive work of Christ even though they die never hearing about Christ—if they respond in faith to God based on the revelation God has given them.


inclusivists maintain that anyone who is saved, including the Old Testament patriarchs, will be saved because of the atoning work of Christ, even if those people never knew of that work. In other words, the redemptive work of Jesus is soteriologically necessary, but it is not epistemically necessary. Those who die unevangelized are able to benefit from the Atonement of Christ, if they will respond appropriately to the knowledge of God given them. This may be called the “faith principle.”


The inclusivist position has a long and distinguished history in the church. Such widely divergent thinkers as Justin, Thomas Aquinas, John Wesley, C. S. Lewis, and Pope John Paul II have affirmed it.[40] Today, it is the dominant view of the Roman Catholic Church and of mainline Protestants. Though the Eastern Orthodox Church has no officially sanctioned position, the inclusivistic views of Justin and other Greek fathers are widely cited with approval and many of the arguments for inclusivism are employed.[41] Inclusivism represents the closest thing to a consensus among Christians today.


But how it is accomplished (in my opinion), is by the Quaker Inner Light:



Let's call spiritual experience the Wisdom tradition:

Wisdom Tradition is a synonym for Perennialism, the idea that there is a perennial or mystic inner core to all religious or spiritual traditions, without the trappings, doctrinal literalism, sectarianism, and power structures that are associated with institutionalized religion. The Wisdom Tradition provides a conceptual framework for the development of the inner self, living a spiritual life, and the realization of enlightenment or of union with God.


Actually, I do believe in the mystic experiences of all traditions and that they are valid. It's like the Catholic writer describes in the book The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions by Wayne Teasdale. It is Christ and his sacrifice that facilitates the path to see the light. And I can experience that light in a Christian setting (i.e. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Quaker mysticism). Or in the traditions of Native American spirituality, Zen, Vipassana, yoga or Sufism. It's like learning languages. If I can converse and understand languages like Russian, Mandarin, French, Portuguese and Spanish, it helps to converse and write better in English. But Christ is still the springboard. As opposed to something like religious Puralism, where all religions lead to truth.

If I were to take a religious pluralism position, I think it's better expressed in the Indian philosophy of Vedanta. And Catholic writer Father Bede Griffitths, spent considerable time relating Vendantic contemplation with Catholic Christianity. Let me end with a quote, from the short Vedanta article:

The Vedantic teaching that the Lord dwells within in all beings was given special meaning by Swami Vivekananda through his doctrine of the “Living God.” For him, the highest form of worship was to see God dwelling within all beings, and especially in the poor and underprivileged. To serve the poor with the attitude that we are serving God was to him the greatest worship of God.
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby St. Michael » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:02 pm

Paradox is hidden and obvious, everywhere and always - unless you have repressed one side of your very being - Richard Rohr (From "The Naked Now: Learning To See As The Mystics See)

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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby LLC » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:38 am

I would say that the way to salvation is to love God with all of your heart and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. I suppose there are multiple ways that one could get to this point in life.
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby DaveB » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:20 am

A turning point for me was reading Hicks' book An Interpretation of Religion a number of years ago. Recommended, if you are at all interested in the subject.
His basic thesis is that there is one Ultimate Reality, perceived through individual and cultural prisms; depending on our prism (conceptual framework, world view, tribal legends) we will perceive the UR differently, but in Hicks' thesis, validly. He makes a strong case which I find fairly convincing, though when it comes to truth statements I think he waffles way too much.

IMO he tries too hard to avoid the obvious superiority, if you will, of God's fullest revelation of Himself through his Son, the Messiah.
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Re: John Hick's Religious Pluralism

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:30 am

DaveB wrote:A turning point for me was reading Hicks' book An Interpretation of Religion a number of years ago. Recommended, if you are at all interested in the subject.
His basic thesis is that there is one Ultimate Reality, perceived through individual and cultural prisms; depending on our prism (conceptual framework, world view, tribal legends) we will perceive the UR differently, but in Hicks' thesis, validly. He makes a strong case which I find fairly convincing, though when it comes to truth statements I think he waffles way too much.

IMO he tries too hard to avoid the obvious superiority, if you will, of God's fullest revelation of Himself through his Son, the Messiah.


He sounds very much like a Vedantist. :D

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