Epistemological issues have inevitably been perennial issues for theism. For any claim to have insight into the nature and acts of the divine requires some sort of substantiation. And the appeal to faith typically made to meet this demand is often unconvincing. This raises a fundamental question: what could constitute proper grounds for theistic belief? In attempting to anwser this question, we will need to address the underlying epistemic issue of what justifies commitment to any world–view.
This paper addresses the challenge of the problem of religious pluralism: how can we remain fully committed to our most basic truth-claims about God, and yet take full account of the claims of other world religious traditions? Six possible responses to this problem are delineated and assessed. Among the possible responses, certain strengths are identified in Inclusivism, though it is rejected. Focusing then on Religious Pluralism and Religious Relativism, these two views are extensively compared and contrasted. Finally, Christian Relativism is (...) defended on the grounds that it best incorporates the strengths, without the salient weaknesses, of other possible responses to the conflicting truth-claims of the world religions. (shrink)
People living in a pluralistic age are aware of diversity among themselves and consider it both natural and enriching for humankind. However, there are many disagreements that create ethical questions on the nature of human good, religion and public morality, and more. Joseph Runzo, with the help of a diverse group of contributors, skillfully deals with these ethical issues.
The Judeo-Christian mystical tradition is replete with accounts of visions. But the perceptual experiences reputedly involved in these visions are often problematic. The prophet Isaiah is reputed to have seen God in a mystic vision; St Francis to have seen Christ and received the stigmata; Julian of Norwich to have seen Christ's passion; St Teresa of Avila to have seen Christ, the devil, seraphim, and various Saints. Yet at least two fundamental questions immediately arise concerning the perceptual awareness involved in (...) such visionary experiences. First, how could Jewish or Christian mystics have any reasonable certitude of correctly identifying such extraordinary entities as God, angels, and deceased Saints, as figures in their visions? And second, while Catholics, for example, see the Virgin Mary during their visions, Muslims see Muslim saints and Hindus see Hindu deities: why then do mystics tend during their visions to perceive entities which accord with their expectations, entities which are usually regarded as possessing special religious significance exclusively within each mystic's own religious tradition? (shrink)