Theorizing religious diversity in a multicultural world

This paper examines a variety of intellectual responses to the religious and philosophical issues raised by religious plurality. While the specific questions raised by religious plurality differ across traditions, the more general problem that faces all religious intellectuals is how to provide a compelling theoretical account of the relationship between the various religions of the world. The paper briefly reviews religious exclusivism and inclusivism, before focusing upon theories of religious pluralism. After clarifying the distinction between religious pluralism and relativism about religion, and comparing and assessing various forms of pluralism, the paper concludes that how compelling any particular theory of religious diversity proves to be will be dependent upon how convincing one finds the underlying understanding of religion. This implies that the real priority for scholars concerned with rival theories of religious plurality is to strive towards a common understanding of the nature of religion.
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