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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Questioning the Ethics of Exclusivism: Your Input Requested

I have been gathering my thoughts about the ethics of exclusivism in an attempt to answer and defend it against pluralists, universalists, and inclusivists. To do this, I am having to play the role of the antagonist. From my reading, research, and everyday conversation, I have come up with ten questions (with relevant sub-questions)so far which I hope to address to some degree in a paper. Granted, many of these points overlap, but the goal is to treat this ethical dilemma from every angle and address every charge. Here’s where you come in. I want to know if you have any other ethical questions concerning exclusivism that would be good to answer. Maybe in the course of daily conversation you have had a question asked you about this position. Eventually, I hope to answer some of these in a 10-15 page paper in the upcoming weeks. Your input is greatly appreciated. Bibliographical information will be provided when completed. Here’s what I have at this point. Let me know what you think . . . 10 Ethical Questions Concerning Exclusivism

1. Can one way be right and all others wrong? A. Are all other religions false? B. Is the phrase “There is no salvation outside the church” immoral? 2. If the Christian God is good and gracious and “desires all to be saved,” then is immoral to say that only a few will be saved versus the many, or all? A. If you say that there is only one way to salvation, then would it not be immoral if this way was not universally accessible by all people in all places? B. If Christianity alone cannot guarantee salvation to all people, then is it unethical to believe that Christianity is the only religion which is absolute, true, and superior to all others? 3. Can the God of Christianity not also be the same god of Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism? A. Can it not be that we all worship the same God who has many different names and is understood in different ways? B. Is it not erroneous to say that your God became man in the Incarnation so as to reduce transcendence and the “Ineffable Real” to a special case of humanity (superman)? 4. According to the Bible, your God is a very jealous God who will “have no other gods before Him.” The Bible also says that jealousy is a sin for humans. That being the case, is it not immoral for your God to be jealous? 5. Should exclusivists impose their beliefs on others and “proselytize” those of other faiths? A. Is it unethical to be “intolerant” of other faiths? B. Is it immoral to say that all other religions are wrong? 6. Is it ethical to suppose Christianity as “learning” from other religions and “Christianizing” their religious truth claims? A. Judaism and Christianity B. The Hidden Christ of Hinduism (Pannikar) C. Jesus According the Koran D. The Meeting of Religions at the Trinity (D’Costa) E. The Fulfillment Theory of Christianity 7. Given the presence of many religious traditions and stories, how is one to grade/determine the truthfulness or rightness of their religion? 8. Is it unethical to come up with positions or conclusions for the sake of Christianity that do not find warrant in Scripture or history? A. The Law of Non-contradiction B. Conflicting Truth Claims C. Truth as Propositional D. Truth as Personal E. Truth as Covenantal 9. Is it fair that other sincere and devout adherents of religions are condemned to hell? A. Is it unethical to say that those who do not become Christians in this life will be condemned to an everlasting punishment in hell? B. General revelation is the information God reveals of himself to everyone everywhere at all times ongoingly. Through this information, one can wholeheartedly believe in the existence of God. Exclusivists say that this person, though he believes in God, will still go to hell. Is that not immoral? C. Is it not unethical to argue that general revelation has the capability to damn a sinner but not to save him? Since this information is from God who is gracious and merciful, cannot a sinner “cast himself upon the mercy of God” and be saved with the limited information provided him? 10. Is it unethical to come up with positions or conclusions for the sake of Christianity that do not find warrant in Scripture or history?

There you have it. What do you think? Have I left any questions out???


Blogger D.R. said...

You may not want to deal with this issue here, but what about a question regarding theodicy?

11/03/2005 09:17:00 AM

Blogger Timmy said...


I'm feeling you, but go a little farther. How exactly would you pose that question, and parenthetically, what central truth/issue is at stake?

11/03/2005 11:41:00 AM

Blogger wisdomofthepages.com said...

Greatly off topic, but Pearl wants to know if you and Caleb keep up with each other?

11/04/2005 12:46:00 AM

Blogger Timmy said...


Absolutely we keep in touch! As a matter of fact, I called him yesterday. Caleb has agreed to be a guest blogger here at P&P (which I have been pressing him about). I think he is going to put his dissertation in bite-size form in a series of posts. I am pumped about that! While I am thinking about it, I posted a pic here at P&P at Caleb's graduation this past spring. I was fortunate to have been able to celebrate with him and his family on that great occasion.

I spent a little time with him and Sam a couple of weeks ago at the Fiddler's Convention. It was great to see Sam again and his youngin'. I also try to keep up with J.D. and his health.

Without a doubt, the Clanton family has had a tremendous impact on my life from childhood even to this day. What God has given me in my lifelong friendship with Caleb along cannot be communicated in words. We have, are, and continue to be best of friends and brothers in Christ.

11/04/2005 05:19:00 AM

Blogger wisdomofthepages.com said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/04/2005 05:35:00 AM

Blogger wisdomofthepages.com said...

That is awesome! If what you say about Caleb and the Clantons is true, then I know you and I will have much to fellowship about in the future (even if I can't play anything with strings or croon like Dylan).

I have worked a little at getting Caleb into my alma mater Union University. Hopefully that will come to fruition one day.

In finding you, Pearl is excited to know my blogging has something of interest to her as well.

11/04/2005 05:37:00 AM

Blogger D.R. said...

Sorry that I haven't gotten a chance to answer your question back to me. Maybe something like

If God is completely in control of the universe as many Christians say why has He not rid the world of evil?
-- How does one account for natural evil in this regard?
-- If you reject the traditional view of God by saying that God isn't completely in control of everything, then what hope does anyone have who believes in this God that He will be able to benefit them?

Or you could simply say, "If God is both good and omnipotent, how do we explain so much evil in this world?"

I think this is a raw sketch of what I was thinking. It could go much deeper I imagine. I do think that theodicy is one of the most important quesitons to answer in regards to the ethics of God. It is definately one of the most popular arguments atheists have used.

BTW, congrats on the 10,000th hit.

11/06/2005 11:34:00 PM


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