Archive for the ‘unknown god of pluralism’ Category

I want Brooklyn christened but I don’t know into what religion yet

October 6, 2009

I have a sense of spirituality. I want Brooklyn christened but I don’t know into what religion yet.

David Beckham

If the god of pluralism is unknowable why should we live morally?

September 24, 2009

…if the Real (John Hick’s unknown pluralistic god)  has no positive properties of which we have a conception, then we have no reason at all to think that it is in religion that human beings get in experiential contact with this being, rather than in any other human activity: war or oppression, for example. This being has none of the properties ascribed by the practitioners of most of the great religions to the beings they worship: it is not good, or loving, or concerned with human beings, or wise, or powerful; it has not created the universe, does not uphold it, and does not pay attention to the universe or the creatures it contains. It is an unknown and unknowable X. But then why associate this unknowable X with religion, as opposed to warfare, violence, bigotry, and the horrifying things human beings often do to each other?

Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief, pp.57-58

I’m not a Christian, I’m not a Buddha

September 19, 2009

I’m not a Christian, I’m not a Buddha (sic.), I just believe in God. I think there’s more to life than what we can see.

Ruud Gullit, October 1996 after death of Chelsea Vice-Chairman, Matthew Harding in a helicopter crash.

Many people admit to there being a God but without special revelation this God remains unknown.

The Trouble with John Hick’s Pluralism

September 19, 2009

John Hick wants us to more from a ‘Ptolemaic’ view of religions (with Christianity at the centre) to a ‘Copernican’ model (‘God’ at the centre) with all the religions revolving around ‘God’. But there are a number of criticisms that can be made of his, and other pluralists’, models.

First, Christian exclusivists don’t want ‘God to revolve around Christianity’ to use Hick’s metaphor. God judges Christians and Christianity. Christianity is not at the centre, and most certainly neither should Christians be – though Christ is. Second, the scientific metaphor is problematic: science is inductive and, therefore, very much open to revision and improvement. Christianity is based on revelation for an understanding of God, Christ and other religions. Since this revelation in the Scripture is from an omniscient source, Hick’s proposal is not as humble as it at first appears. To tell the Creator God that you know better than him can be described with several words, but humble is not one of them.

There was once an ancient ring

September 17, 2009

There was once an ancient ring which had the power to bestow upon its owner the gift of being loved by God and man. This was passed on down many generations until it came into the possession of a father who had three sons equally dear to him. To resolve the dilemma, he had two replicas made and gave a ring to each son. After his death all three claimed to possess the true ring. But as with religion, the original cannot be traced. Historical investigation is of no avail. But a wise judge counsels each son to behave as if he had the true ring and prove it by deeds of love. Thus in the end it will not matter who had the original. The three sons represent Judaism, Chrisianity and Islam. One day they will transcend themselves and become united in a uinversal religion of love.

in Colin Brown, Philosophy and the Christian Faith, p.89, from Lessing’s Theological Writings (trans. H. Chadwick, p.55) – parable from Nathan the Wise, Act 3, Scene 7

But Lessing makes the assumption that religions are all about the same thing (deeds of love) and that they all equally possess the power to reconcile man to God (or if not that doesn’t matter). Brown also points out that this parable avoids all historical questions as if they are of no importance. see Brown, ibid., p.90. Lessing ignores the real peril that all men face if they are wrong at about the person of Jesus:

“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins,” Jesus, ( John 8.24)

I believe with my whole soul that the God of the Koran is also the God of Bhagavad Gita

September 17, 2009

My whole soul rebels against the idea that Hinduism and Islam represent two antagonistic cultures and doctrines. To assent to such a doctrine is for me a denial of God, for I believe with my whole soul that the God of the Koran is also the God of Bhagavad Gita.

M.K.Gandhi, in Rediscovering Gandhi, Yogesh Chadha, pp.368-9

…which is irrational since the conceptions of God in those two books are mutually exclusive. If ‘God’ is the God of both books then all the parts of the two traditions that are mutually exclusive must be removed – and who could trust what remains?

The God of the Koran abhors images, but for the Hindu Brahman is worshipped through images and representations and incarnations. But God has no partners and certainly never even once became incarnate as ANY muslim will quickly tell you according to his holy book. Perhaps Gandhi’s god was schizophrenic – poor thing.

Hick’s neo-Kantian paradigm

September 17, 2009

for Kant God is postulated, not experienced. In partial agreement but also partial disagreement with him, I want to say that the Real an sich is postulated by us as a presupposition, not of the moral life [as in Kant], but of religious experience and the religious life, whilst the gods, as also the mystically known Brahman, Sunyara and so on, are phenomenal manifestations of the Real occurring within the realm of religious experience.

all that we are entitled to say about the noumenal source of this information is that it is the reality whose influence produces, in collaboration with the human mind, the phenomenal world of our [religious] experience.

John Hick, (1989) An Interpretation of Religion: Human Responses to the Transcendent. New Haven: Yale University Press., 243

Vinoth Ramachandra comments:

But in Kantian thought the phenomenal realm is the same for each of us in as much as our minds use the ame categories to interpret the noumenal input…and how does he know, ‘all we are entitled to say’ and no moer? How does he know there is a connection between the phenomenal religious experience and the noumenal realm?

See, Ramachandra, Recovery of Mission, p.121

My comment: perhaps the guru isn’t in touch with God but had bad fish, or marijuana.

The Seeing Narrator among the blind men and the elephant

September 17, 2009

You’ve probably heard of the story of the blind men and the elephant to explain the diversity of religious viewpoints as merely perspectives. No one religion is ultimately true but are culture-bound. Vinoth Ramachandra comments on this common opinion:

It is the narrator (who) alone has access to the true nature of Reality. From his lofty vantage point he can see that the reports of the blind men are clumsy images that need to be complimented by other reports. So what passes for a posture of intellectual humility before the variety of religious truth claims is, in fact, a posture of intellectual imperialism.

Vinoth Ramachandra, Recovery of Mission, pp.120-121, 125

Religious Pluralism leads to agnosticism

August 24, 2009

Thus it (The ‘Real’ an sich [as it is in itself]) cannot be said to be one or many, person or thing, conscious or unconscious, purposive or non-purposive, substance or process, good or evil, loving or hating. None of the descriptive terms that apply within the realm of human experience can apply literally to the unexperienceable reality that underlies that realm.

John Hick, An Interpretation of Religion, 194.

Religion is different responses to one divine Reality, embodying different perceptions which have been formed in different historical and cultural circumstances.

ibid., 294

If all roads lead to the top of the mountain then no road is correct – nor is any statement about the top of the mountain either. In fact, we cannot even say there is a mountain nor how or even whether to climb it. If religions contradict each other, nothing certain can be said of the god of whom they claim to speak.

The more Hick et. al. try to embrace all traditions they tend towards the impersonal, rather than the personal, the unknown, rather than the known. This is precisely the opposite direction Biblical theism leads.

Note also the implicit claim. Hick claims he knows that the Real an sich is unknowable. How does he know that claims (by others) to know God are using only mythological language? Can his language also be relegated to the realm of the mythological? Can his elativism be relativised? He will, of course, want an exception for his own claims. Such is the inconsistency of the pluralist who can only strenuously (and in irritated tones, once it is pointed out to them) deny the force of this criticism. Their protestations are hollow.