Novak (novak) wrote,

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Theology Notebook: Interreligious Dialogue and Trinitarian Theology

Going to be starting work over the next week or so on Interreligious Dialogue and its implications for trinitarian theology in my Trinity seminar. Religious pluralism is obviously not a phenomenon that is new, but our consciousness of it is really a new situation. It's a small world, after all, especially with jets. But with the collapse of the capitalist-communist clash being the dominant geopolitical matrix, religion/culture has come more to the forefront of world politics. The clash between radical Islamicists and the secularizing West is an obvious example. Anyway, today this tends to be a hotter topic than ever.

Today we looked at what seem to be the four standard models that seem to cover Christian interreligious dialogue. Briefly:

1) The Exclusivist model. The question of salvation is most important and salvation is is understood as only operative in the church's proclamation of Christ. Salvation--union with God--cannot be predicated except in explicit confession of Christ.

2) The Inclusivist model. Understands other religious traditions more positively. It presumes Christ is still the "operating principle" of salvation, but that that is not necessarily tied to an explicit confession of Christ. Christ is still how everything works, whether or not this is recognized.

3) The Pluralist model. Advocates a positive connotation to the actual form of other religions, at least those that seem to recognize the universal thrust of human morality (Aztecs and human sacrifices seem problematic). Other religions are not seen as having to be connected to Christ in any way, although some sort of commonality seems to have to be presumed among all religions.

4) The Acceptance model. Emphasizes differences rather than commonality. More postmodern/Lindbeckian in emphasizing different religions' narratives having an internal integrity that isn't compatible with other languages/narratives. Ends up being more of a "comparative theology."

So what's the best approach? Where does the truth take us?
Tags: cultural, interreligious, islam, systematic theology, theological methodology, theological notebook, trinity

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