Powerpoint: Hiddeness of God and Religious Diversity

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Transcript Powerpoint: Hiddeness of God and Religious Diversity

Philosophy of Religion

Lecturer: Dr Victoria Harrison Department of Philosophy University of Glasgow

Philosophy of Religion in a Multi cultural World

We can interpret the world • Religiously, or • Naturalistically.

• Both are rational.

The world is religiously ambiguous

Moreover, a number of religious interpretations are available • Monotheistic • Non-theistic

Which religious view seems best often depends on a person’s culture, for example • Semitic • Asian

If God exists… • Why is neither God’s existence nor God’s nature obvious?

• Why isn’t atheism foolish?

• The evidence neither for nor against the existence of God is overwhelming.

If God exists, God is hidden

How hidden is God? The evidence: • Loss of belief • Millions have no awareness of God • Believers sense God’s presence obscurely • Abundance of explanations for God’s hiddenness • Preoccupation of theists with arguments for God’s existence • God is hidden to virtually all within certain cultures

Why would God choose to make belief difficult?

• Has God sacrificed ‘goods of clarity’ for ‘goods of mystery’?

Explanations for God’s hiddenness • Human defectiveness theories • Divine transcendence theories • Hiddenness is a means to producing goods of mystery.

Goods of mystery • Genuine moral choice

Character formation • The self as a project

If the existence and nature of God were obvious • Atheism would be irrational • All rational people would be theists.

• This is not the case.

• Given the hiddenness of God, how should we respond to religious diversity?

Three Types of Theory Responding to Religious Diversity • Religious Exclusivism E.g., Alvin Plantinga • Religious Inclusivism E.g., Karl Rahner • Religious Pluralism Eg., John Hick

Religious Exclusivism • Key claim: One religion is exclusively correct.

• Its claims are exclusively true. If the claims of other religions contradict these, then the claims of the other religion must be false.

• It alone offers a way to salvation.

• Problems…

Religious Inclusivism • One religion has the monopoly of religious truth-claims.

• However, salvation may be available through alternative traditions – despite their false claims.

• Problems…

Religious Pluralism • Key claim: All major religious traditions are authentic.

• Different forms of religious pluralism: • The most influential is John Hick’s.

The key claims of Hickean pluralism • Each world religion has its own phenomenal reality.

• Since each world religion has its own phenomenal reality, the claims of one world religion do not conflict with those of another world religion.

• Each world religion is a response to the same thing: The ‘Real’.

• Responding to this phenomenal reality is, so far as we can tell, equally effective in each world religion.

What does this entail?

• Each world religion is equally valid.

Problems with Hickean Pluralism • Truth • Experience • Appropriateness of responses • Religious language