Truth and Difference in ReligionBook - 1995
For more than a century Christian theologians have attempted to construct "theologies of religion" that would be recognized as authentically Christian and authentic in relation to the historical and social reality of many religions. This attempt usually ends in an impasse in which either only one religion is portrayed as holding the true path to salvation, or that many do. Neither the exclusivist nor the pluralist position is completely satisfactory in integrating the two goals of an authentically Christian and historically viable theology of religions. In calling this book Salvations author S. Mark Heim moves the theology of religions project beyond taking sides on exclusivist and pluralist views. The crux of his argument is this: that it makes more sense to speak of salvation in the plural, to maintain that the ends of various religions are indeed varied and significantly constituted by the paths taken to reach them. At the same time, all paths - Christianity included - can and must make or require exclusive commitments on the part of those that hold them. One of the most intriguing features of Salvations is its careful critique of the pluralist assumption of a single religious end to the many religions. Heim's careful analysis of the writings of John Hick, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, and Paul Knitter points out a central weakness in the pluralist argument: by insisting that different religions point to the same "ultimate", pluralism fails its own test of plurality. Heim points out that exclusivists should note that in hypothesizing the many ends of different religions, Salvations contradicts neither the finality of Christ, nor the authentic, independent validity of other religions.
Publisher: Maryknoll, N.Y. : Orbis Books, c1995
Characteristics: x, 242 p. ; 24 cm