Schleiermacher on the outpourings of the inner fire: Experiential expressivism and religious pluralism

Religious Studies 40 (2):125-143 (2004)
Both in the Speeches and in The Christian Faith Schleiermacher offers a comprehensive theory of the nature of religion, grounding it in experience. In the Speeches Schleiermacher grounds religion in an original unity of consciousness that precedes the subject–object dichotomy; in The Christian Faith the feeling of absolute dependence is grounded in the immediate self-consciousness. I argue that Schleiermacher's theory offers a generally coherent account of how it is possible that differing religious traditions are all based on the same experience of the Absolute. I show how Schleiermacher's programme can respond successfully to three related contemporary objections to religious pluralism: (1) different religions make competing truth-claims about the nature of reality and they cannot all be right; (2) differing traditions cannot all be based on a similar religious experience because all experience is interpreted; and (3) the pluralist needs to have criteria in place distinguishing real and illusory religious experience, but such criteria are elusive. (Published Online April 21 2004).
Keywords Schleiermacher  religion  absolute dependence  religious pluralism  religious experience
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DOI 10.1017/S0034412503006802
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PhilPapers Archive Jacqueline Mariña, Schleiermacher on the outpourings of the inner fire: Experiential expressivism and religious pluralism
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