In my latest reading of No Other Name? A Critical Survey of Christian Attitudes Toward the World Religions, Paul Knitter interacts with the view that all religions are essentially the same. Granted, this view acknowledges that the religions of the world have their differences, but it maintains that, at their core, there are commonalities----such as losing self-centeredness and entering a state of harmony with someone or something larger than oneself.
God interact with people in other religions----and, by "other", I mean
non-Christian? Suppose that we have a religion that doesn't believe in a
personal God. Does the God of Christianity interact with someone who
believes in that religion----even if that person does not recognize that
the higher power or transcendent reality with which he is interacting
is the personal God of Christianity?
But then I wonder something
else. Suppose that the answer to my questions above is "yes"----the God
of Christianity does interact with people from other religions, even if
they don't know or think that they are interacting with the God of
Christianity. Does not that imply that people from other religions can
learn from Christians, and not vice-versa, since Christians know the
truth about the spiritual experience that people from other religions
are experiencing? If Christians are right and other religions are
not-quite-right, what can Christians learn from other religions?
maybe Christians can learn something. I remember hearing Tim Keller
say that a good reason for Christian community is that we can get to
know Jesus more by learning about other Christians' experiences of
Jesus----and we get a richer and broader picture thereby because Jesus
does not relate to all of us in the exact same way. Tim Keller most
likely wouldn't approve of my pluralistic application of his point, but
couldn't we have the same sort of approach to other religions: We can
learn more about the divine by seeing how others----even people in
non-Christian religions----interact with God, as we learn from their
experiences and how they conceptualize them?
But then there's
another question. If that's the case, were people spiritually poorer
and deficient in their knowledge of God before the era of
inter-religious dialogue and multiculturalism? Well, perhaps God gave
them enough knowledge of himself so they could get through. At the same
time, there's nothing wrong with realizing that there is still much to
learn, and that knowledge of God can increase over the years.
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