Religious Studies 13 (2):243-258 (1977)

I want to consider in this paper a question that is looming large in the theology of most world religions, not least in the Christian tradition. The following discussion will be confined to the Christian standpoint, though I hope mutatis mutandis the main points will be seen to apply to other religious perspectives as well. Specifically then, this question can be ex–pressed in two ways. We may ask, in the context of the contemporary dialogue situation, how is the committed Christian to regard the adherents of non–Christian religions? and what status do these alien belief–systems have with respect to the Christian faith–response? Both forms of the issue are often discussed it seems to me without due attention being given to an important distinction between them. So, at the outset, it will be useful to make one or two observations about this. First of all, it is inevitable, I think, that an evaluational factor is implied by both formulations. We are pondering a basically Christian assessment of religious traditions that are non–Christian, and any solution suggested which eventually eliminates a one-sided overall perspective will apparently put us in a dilemma. For, on the one hand, a Christian theology of religions will be expected to produce a Christian result; on the other hand, a finally nonevaluational solution seems unable to be called a Christian view of things at all. In the event of such a ‘neutral theology’ as the latter resulting , is the dilemma that becomes apparent a genuine one, or can it be resolved by a more stringent analysis of the relevant issues?
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DOI 10.1017/S0034412500010003
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