Societies made up of different faith communities are becoming increasingly areas of intolerance, as for example is clear from the fate of former Yugoslavia. And tensions are likely to increase. That makes it all the more important to identify sources of such tension. The present book sees as one such source the claim to absoluteness made historically by Christianity and today particularly by 'fundamentalist' Christian movements and conservative Catholicism.
After surveying the characteristics of Christian 'absolutism' and its psychological and sociological roots, the author begins by tracing its history: in reactions to Judaism and Hellenistic syncretism, evident already in the New Testament; in the rise of Christianity to become a state religion; and in the response to Islam represented by the Crusades. Next he looks at the important questions asked about the absoluteness of Christianity in the nineteenth century, and the development of greater openness, after which he investigates the way in which non-Christian faiths like Judaism and Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism view their relationship to other religions. His conclusion is that Christian faith not only allows but indeed requires an abandonment of claims to absoluteness, and dialogue with those of other beliefs.
Reinhold Bernhardt is Director of Studies at the Ecumenical Institute in the University of Heidelberg.
|Publisher:||Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd|
|Edition description:||1st British ed|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.38(d)|