An Apology for Apologetics: A Study in the Logic of Interreligious Dialogue

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An apology for apologetics argues that a vigorous apologetics is a vital component of any sound effort at interreligious dialogue. Griffiths shows that a spirited defense of each religious tradition must be made by people who are both committed to their "truth" and open to serious criticisms by members of other faith traditions. He demonstrates why and how such a recognition of the necessity of interreligious apologetics (the "NOIA principle") runs counter to the underlying presuppositions of many proponents of interreligious dialogue.

Griffiths raises the specter of an unacceptable price that will be paid if the apologetic enterprise is abandoned. Religious traditions, he shows convincingly, will face relegation to the realm of purely private opinion and religious people will be denied the minimum plausibility they need to engage in public discourse. He argues ultimately that if basic doctrines cannot be defended against alien claims, religious tradition cannot survive.

This book will without a doubt stimulate the debate it seeks to introduce: it unapologetically issues a challenge to teacup ecumenists and lazy pluralists. an apology for apologetics is for all who are seriously concerned with their own religious communities. It shows how to think about (and communicate with) those whose practices and convictions seem to differ significantly from one's own.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780883447628
  • Publisher: Orbis Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/1994
  • Series: Faith Meets Faith Ser.
  • Pages: 113
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul J. Griffiths is Schmitt Professor of Catholic Studies and Chair of the Department of Classics Mediterranean Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of the much-acclaimed Christianity through Non-Christian Eyes.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
The Necessity of Interreligious Apologetics     1
The Principle of the Necessity of Interreligious Apologetics     1
Religious Communities and Their Representative Intellectuals     3
Doctrine-Expressing Sentences     9
Alien Religious Claims     12
Interreligious Apologetics as a Duty     14
A Brief Comment on Salvation     17
The Properties of Doctrine-Expressing Sentences     19
The Comprehensibility of Doctrine-Expressing Sentences     21
The Commensurability of Doctrine-Expressing Sentences     27
The Cognitive Content of Doctrine-Expressing Sentences     31
Conceptual Relativism     31
Experiential Expressivism     36
Rule Theory     39
Incompatibility among Doctrine-Expressing Sentences     45
Universalist Perspectivalism     46
Esotericist Perspectivalism     50
The Varieties of Mystical Experience     52
The Cognitive Value of the Varieties of Mystical Experience     55
The Rejection of Positive Apologetics     60
The Argument from Negative Effect     60
The Argument That Success Is Impossible     63
The Argument That PositiveApologetics Is Unnecessary for the Preservation of Epistemic Respectability     67
An Excursus on the Case of the Pumpkinites     71
The Argument that Positive Apologetics is Unnecessary for the Preservation of Ethical Respectability     74
The Argument That Positive Apologetics Is Idolatry     75
Proper Apologetics     77
The Political Context     77
The Expectations of the Apologist     80
Community-Specific, Self-Guaranteeing Authority Sources     82
Apologetics in Action: Buddhists and Christians on Selves     83
A Buddhist Rejection of the Self     86
A Buddhist Description of the Person     89
A Christian Description of the Person as Embodied Soul     94
A Christian-Buddhist Apologetic on Selves and Persons     99
Bibliography     109
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