- What are your general, instinctive attitudes of those with different faiths? Do you see them as being “lost” and “needing Jesus”? Are you indifferent to their different beliefs? Do you think we they’re the same thing as Christianity, but through a different path? If you see a family member, friend, or working colleague who practices a different faith, how do you react to him or her?
- Or are the differences in religions too different to be considered the same, pointing to the same truth, or the same God?
- If you’re more “pluralistic” in your views, how would you repond to Migliore’s criticism that “it can lead to a purely descriptive presentation of the beliefs and practices of the religions with little concern about questions of truth and value. Indifference to or suppression of these questions leads only to a superficial tolerance, ‘a falsely understood liberalism in which one trivializes the question of truth or no longer even dares to ask it.’” (bottom of page 304)
- Migliore describes 3 general types of Christian views on salvation on page 306: Exclusivism, Inclusivism, and pluralism. Which one would you describe yourself being and why? Is Jesus the only way or is it still open?
- Go over the written responses. Have them read their own responses and questions will follow.
- Are Jews saved? Do they need Jesus? Why or why not?
- On the bottom of page 310, Migliore mentions Karl Rahner’s position “that non-Christians who are faithful to the light that is mediated to them within their religious communities may be called ‘anonymous Christians’” and hints at the possibility of salvation for them as well. Your thoughts?
- “Some [critics] have asked why a Buddhist may not turn Rahner’s doctrine of anonymous Christianity upside down and speak of Christians as ‘anonymous Buddhists’.” (p. 311)
- On pages 314 – 315, what are your thoughts about a “move away from Christocentrism to a radical theocentrism. It is not Jesus Christ but God or ‘Ultimate Reality’ that must be made central.”? Or is this a post-modern cop out that there are no truth-claims out there and all truth is relative?
- On the bottom of page 316, the theologian Dupuis “contends that the Holy Spirit is active not only in the lives of individuals of other religious traditions but also in these religious traditions themselves. The Spirit of God is universally present and active… subsequently extending his salvific work beyond the church.” Is this too radical a view of the Trinitarian work of God or is he on to something here?
- On pages 322 – 323, he writes about 1) the freedom of the triune God (God will do whatever he pleases without our consent or permission 2) the wideness of God’s mercy (it’s virtually limitless) 3) openness to God’s grace in and through other religions is congruent with Christian hope and prayer.
- On page 327, Migliore writes that “While never arbitrary, God’s grace is free; while freely given, God’s grace is costly. Theology and the church have no authority either to declare that God must save all or that God can save only through the ministry and witness of the church.” He seems to leave the door open to say that we don’t know conclusively, b/c we can never fully know the mind of God. Do you agree with him?
Project Augustine – Religious Pluralism also encompasses the popular view that all major religions are to a large extent just different perspectives on One multi-dimensional God – united in spirit, universal in mind, but three (or more) in personae or dimensions of character. Thus, an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity’s definitive answer to Integral Religious Pluralism – see http://www.trinityabsolute.com.
In this view, Jesus Christ is the experiential Supreme Being, while Moses and Muhammad represent the existential Creator. At the same time, Buddha’s Nirvana and Lao Tzu’s Tao stress the importance of the Unconditioned Spirit of All That Is – neither existential nor experiential, but the spirit consciousness that “proceeds” from both – analogous to the Holy Ghost.
Samuel Stuart Maynes