Problems of Religious Diversity / Edition 1

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An analysis of the philosophical questions raised by the fact that many religions in the world often appear to contradict each other in doctrine and practice. The volume distinguishes the differences between religious and non-religious responses to these questions, and evaluates the fundamental philosophical underpinnings of these contemporary debates. This book further discusses what a religion is and how diversity in religion can be understood, and examines the concepts of religious truth and salvation. Questions considered include:

can there be more than one true religion? What is the relation between commitment to one's faith and tolerance of other faiths? How does one's awareness of diverse religious claims affect the degree or strength of her belief in her own religion? In what ways can the concept of salvation and its prospects be construed in response to the contradictory nature of different religions?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"At a time when words like tolerance, diversity, pluralism, and truth are brandished as rhetorical weapons, Paul Griffiths provides a crisp and elegant analysis of the philosophical, moral, and political contexts in which these and other terms function. A bracing and helpful treatment of a perpetually vexed subject." Stanley Fish, University of Illinois at Chicago

"Problems of Religious Diversity is a rare work – an introduction that not only accurately orients beginners, but draws them into the midst of current dialogue. Its bracing clarity has challenges for the expert as well as the novice. It should become a favored port of entry for those who want to think philosophically about the relations among religions." S. Mark Heim, Andover Newton Theological School

"A profound, challenging, and edifying appraisal of what it means to keep faith with integrity in a religiously plural world, Problems of Religious Diversity is indispensable for those who seek philosophical grounding for the dialogue with world religions." Carol Zaleski, Smith College

"A must read for both introductory students and seasoned scholars alike!" Amos Young, Religious Studies Review, Vol 27, October 2001

"Griffiths skilfully balances a general introductory perspective accessible to serious students with profound analysis that will appeal to professionals." Bernardo J. Cantens, Theological Studies, Vol. 63, June 2002

"Problems of Religious Diversity is a very helpful introduction to the cluster of questions arising from religious diversity in the West. Both those just becoming acquainted with the issues and those already quite familiar with the debates will benefit from careful study of Paul Griffith's clear and stimulating treatment of the subject." Journal of the Evangelical Philosophic Society, February 2003

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paul J. Griffiths is Schmitt Chair of Catholic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has held academic posts at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Chicago. He is author of On Being Buddha: The Classical Doctrine of Buddhahood (1994) and Religious Reading: The Place of Reading in the Practice of Religion (1999).

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Table of Contents

Series Editor's Preface
Key Terms
1 Religious Diversity 1
1.1 Religion: Some Historical Remarks 1
1.2 Religion: A Definition 7
1.3 Diversity in Religion 12
1.4 Philosophical Questions about Religious Diversity 16
1.5 Standpoints and Answers 19
2 Religious Diversity and Truth 21
2.1 Religious Claims: Doctrines and Teachings 21
2.2 Assent and Acceptance 26
2.3 Truth, Falsehood, Incompatibility 31
2.4 Parity with Respect to Truth: A Kantian View 37
2.5 Parity with Respect to Truth: A Wittgensteinean View 45
2.6 Parity with Respect to Truth: Nonreligious Views 50
2.7 Difference with Respect to Religious Truth: Exclusivism 53
2.8 Difference with Respect to Religious Truth: Inclusivism 56
2.9 A Catholic Christian Argument for Open Inclusivism 60
3 Religious Diversity and Epistemic Confidence 66
3.1 Epistemic Confidence 66
3.2 Awareness of Diversity 70
3.3 Religious Responses to the Question of Epistemic Confidence 75
3.4 Privatization 81
3.5 The Epistemic Significance of Religious Diversity: A Christian View in Conversation with William Alston 89
4 The Religious Alien 99
4.1 Toleration: Enduring the Religious Alien 101
4.2 Separation: Isolating the Religious Alien 111
4.3 Conversion: Domesticating the Religious Alien 119
4.4 Christian Evangelism 132
5 The Question of Salvation 138
5.1 Pluralism 142
5.2 Exclusivism 150
5.3 Inclusivism 159
5.4 Restrictivism and Universalism 161
A Brief Guide to Further Reading 170
Index 172
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