A Christian for the Christians, a Christian for the Muslims! An Attempt at an Argumentum ad Hominem

Christian Bioethics 4 (3):284-304 (1998)
Schmidt and Egler's critique of Christianity's exclusivist claim to truth rests on two suppositions: (a) that inter-religious pastoral care for dying patients requires a respect for their cultural backgrounds which necessitates accepting the equal validity of their respective (non-Christian) religions, and (b) that exclusivism is incompatible with the Christian love-of-neighbor commandment. In opposition to this critique, (a) the authors' own “pluralist” understanding of Christianity is refuted on two levels. First, it leads to inconsistencies in the authors' own (and very adequate) understanding of pastoral care, especially with regard to their notion of intolerance, and second, it is irreconcilable with explicit New and Old Testament claims to absoluteness. In addition, (b) the authors' understanding of the way in which “exclusivism” justifies intolerance and missionary violence is shown to rest, first, on a secularized reduction of Christianity, i.e., of Christians' own “religious identity” as well as of the Christian way of “helping those in need,” and second, on a merely theoretical (rather than also practical) view of Christians' commitment to God. As a corollary to that refutation, a reconsideration of the truly Christian sources of obedience and charity is recommended
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