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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.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Preview of Pluralistic Attractions

One of the long term goals I have regarding my research and studies regarding religious pluralism is to put together a complete series of posts which will break down the pluralistic hypothesis piece by piece and provide an evangelical critique to each element. I have roughly put together what looks to be a foreseeable outline of my studies. Of course, as I continue to assimilate and formulate more information, this may change, but I provide this at this point because some of you may be interested in somewhat of a breakdown of the pluralistic hypothesis, in particular dealing with John Hick and his contemporaries. Unfortunately, there has been relatively little evangelical critique on the voluminous works that Hick and others have put out. Part of the reason why I have chosen to take up this challenge is because of its eminent threat to the heart of Christianity and that it appears that so few evangelicals see it as such (at least not enough to make it a priority).

Below is a rough outline of 35 elements or aspects of the pluralistic hypothesis according to contemporary pluralists spearheaded by Hick. Following are 17 various critique points that I have sketched down through my readings. As I continue to draw closer to writing about these issues, I would like to keep you informed on my research on studies. Therefore, as a preliminary marker, this post simply wants to point you to some of the arguments made by pluralists today (at least in bullet form). Should any of you be interested in studying this further, I plan on posting a lengthy bibliography in the near future (lengthy meaning over 450 entries). If you are familiar with Hick’s works or the pluralistic hypothesis, feel free to interact with this brief summary outline and point me to some other elements that I may be missing. Anyway, more to come in the future. My goal is to develop this in the next 2-3 years. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, here’s where I am right now:

Elements of the Pluralistic Hypothesis

  1. Pluralist Ethos
  2. Pluralist Control Beliefs (apriori commitments)
  3. Rejection of Natural Theology
  4. Religiously Ambiguous World
  5. Epicycles
  6. Copernican Revolution
  7. Kantian Legacy
  8. Eastern Affinity
  9. Skeptics Worldview
  10. Theological Agnosticism
  11. Virtue of Doubt
  12. Subjectivity of the Knower as Authoritative
  13. Logical Positivism Effects
  14. The World of Phenomenology
  15. Noumenon and Phenomena
  16. Personae and Impersonae
  17. The Ineffability of the Real
  18. Historio-Cultural Response
  19. Phenomenon of Salvation/Liberation
  20. Parity and Plurality of Religions
  21. Eschatological Verification
  22. Grading Religions and Criteria
  23. The Argument of Saintliness
  24. Plausibility Structures
  25. The “Bullshit Detector”
  26. Conflicting Truth Claims
  27. Mythical Truth
  28. Nature of Truth (No proposition, only personal)
  29. Revelation as Experiencing-As (Direct and Mediated)
  30. Radical Textual Criticism
  31. Myth of Incarnation
  32. “Christian Uniqueness” and “Superiority”
  33. “Son of God?”
  34. Christ Cannot Have Two Natures
  35. Church Deified Jesus Centuries Later to Justify Historical Evils

Points of Critique Concerning the Pluralistic Hypothesis

  1. Hick’s Numerous Duplicities
  2. Intolerance of Pluralist Epistemology
  3. Warranted Christian Doubt
  4. Just Another Epicycle?
  5. Functionally Exclusivistic?
  6. The Certainty of a Skeptic
  7. The Unobservable Real (what apriori source of idea of Real?)
  8. Radical Discontinuity of Real and Radical Continuity of Religions
  9. More Self-Centered than Reality-Centered
  10. Epistemology Grounded Ethically and not Ontologically
  11. The Pluralist Vantage Point
  12. Pseudo-Plausibility Structure
  13. Irrational Faith
  14. Redefining Revelation
  15. Christianity: A Revealed Faith
  16. Distinction between General and Special Revelation
  17. Where Does the “Bullshit Detector” Come From?

Note: Please don’t comment or email me about certain words in the outline. I assume that there is some degree of maturity in those who read my blog. I do not such words in everyday life but refer to them in my research and analysis to be fair to the argument made.


Blogger Stephen Newell said...

*Gasp!* You mean we can't say anything about the "8-letter word of internet anathema?" Blasphemy! *wink*

9/27/2006 05:46:00 AM

Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Rats. I was going to ask what an epicycle is, but if you're going to be persnickety about it, just forget it.

9/27/2006 02:40:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...

Dear ThristyDavid,

We have high quality H2O here. No need to salivate. An epicycle refers to the Copernican Revolution. An epicycle is an orbit on an orbit, such as the orbit of the moon around the earth, which in turn is orbiting around the sun. The argument pluralists make that the tradition of Christian exclusivism is producing perpetual epicycles which demand a Copernican kind of revolution which Hick makes central to his argument. As Copernicus argued that the solar system revolved around the sun rather than the earth, Hick argues for a "theocentric" rather than "Christocentric" or "ecclesiocentric" model of religion, meaning that all religions revolve around the God/Real/Religious Ultimate. All forms of religious exclusivism is a "Ptolemaic" version of religion where epicycles are making the system more and more complex and cumbersome and therefore need to be discarded.

Maybe that can whet your appetite. I hope to go into greater detail including many references in the future.

9/27/2006 02:51:00 PM

Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Sounds interesting. If I understand correctly, I'm guessing you'll disagree with Hick.

9/27/2006 07:56:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...

Well, to put it frankly, I haven't found a thing I have in common with Hick - the present Hick that is. It would be worth your time to read about his life. He has an autobiography but has given snippets of his life in short biographical form in several places. At one time, he was an evangelical conservative. Ronald Nash has traced his pluralism in three phases where he cleanses himself from his Christian vernacular and references.

9/27/2006 08:16:00 PM


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