(...) there is no evidence that the fruits of the Spirit are more present among Christians than non-Christians (...).
(...) each of the great world faiths calls us to transcend the ego point of view, which is the source of all selfishness, greed, exploitation, cruelty, and injustice. P.17.
Referring to Jastrow - Wittgenstein interpretation of an ambiguous duck - rabbit drawing, Hick concludes that people can see different things though the drawing remains the same. (..) each group is right in what it affirms, but wrong in its inference that the other group is mistaken. Analogically, "ultimate ineffable Reality is capable of being authentically experienced in terms of different sets of human concepts, as Jahwe, as the Holy Trinity, as Allah, as Shiva (...)." P.25.
(...) revelation is a relational matter, taking different forms in relation to people, whose religious receptivity has been formed by different traditions, with their different sets of concepts and their different kinds of spiritual practice. P.26.
If we are Christians, accepting our own tradition as one valid response among others to the Real, we should continue with it (...) to undergo the salvific transformation from natural self-centeredness to a new orientation centered in God. And the same, of course, applies to the people of the other great faiths. Each tradition will continue in its concrete particularity as its own unique response to the Real. As the sense of rivalry between them diminishes and they participate increasingly in interfaith dialogue, they will increasingly affect one another. (...) But nevertheless within this growing interaction each will remain basically itself. (...) in coming to understand itself as one among several different valid human responses to the Real each will gradually de-emphasize that aspects of its teaching which entails its own unique superiority (...) PP. 29-30.
(...) The current development of religious pluralism has been made possible by the new global awareness and also, of course, by the explosion of readily available information about the world religious. Modern knowledge about the integral character of the human story and the intertwining of religious history has created an intellectual environment hospitable to religious pluralism. P.33.
I'm sure that the official belief-system of each tradition is capable of desirable development and modification at many points; but this can only properly be done from within those traditions and by their own thinkers. I, as a Christian theologian, have responsibility to try to contribute to the continuous reforming of Christian doctrine, particularly in the light of our new awareness of the other world faiths. But it is not for me to presume to tell my Muslim or Jewish or Hindu or Buddhist colleagues how to try to develop their own traditions in response to the same new awareness. P.120.
(...) the absolutist aspect of each faith motivates young men to be willing to kill and be killed for a sacred cause. The absoluteness of the justification - God's will, or holy church, or a reverend tradition - can have power to validate anything. But if this absoluteness were dismantled by the realization that one's own religion is one among several valid human responses to the Divine, religion could become a healing instead of a divisive force in the world. P.123.
The fact that church leaders are, generally speaking, averse to change is not in itself theologically significant. This has been the case ever since Christianity was adopted in the fourth century as the established religion of the Roman empire. Within the church there are a variety of different vocations, and it is the recognized role of ecclesiastical rulers to conserve the inheritance of the past rather than to engage in new explorations. This is an important and necessary role, worthy of full respect. But it is also necessary that there be others who explore new paths of thought in the ever-changing human situation. And when (as we see in the nineteenth century science/religion debates) after the publication of many books and journal articles, causing long discussion at many levels and gradually producing incremental shifts in outlook, a new consensus eventually emerges, the official church leadership will then endorse it, and it will be orthodoxy! This has happened all through history; and so long as Christianity is a living and developing stream of religious life, it will continue to happen. P.132-133.
(There is) the enormous wealth of varied riches that await us in the
spiritual writings of humankind around the world and through the centuries.
The pluralist point of view prompts us to take advantage of them, and I
believe that everyone who does so will find that there is nothing to fear,
but on the contrary great benefit to be gained, from this wider vision.
Last updated: 2001/04/02