Thursday, August 5, 2010

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

I think it's harder and harder today to hold to any measure of exclusivity. Yet, if this is the essence of plurality, as I would argue, is it indispensable for Christians to maintain?

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4 comments:

Sisyphos said...

Hi

This is a great topic. Christianity and other religion considered themselves to be exclusive but with dialogue there comes more understanding of ones own point of view and the others point of view. Today after the immense interchange of ideas it is not possible to figure out what exactly Christian is. Sure, Scripture is distinct for the Christian as a source but: Sripture itselt did not develop in a vacuum but went through the same process Christianity went through. Understanding others and exchange. The idea of logos for example - a Christian term. But is it unique? Well, Heraklit used this idea, Philo used this idea. I quote Wikipedia on Logos (sorry for this semi-reliable source): Philo followed the Platonic distinction between imperfect matter and perfect idea, and therefore intermediary beings were necessary to bridge the enormous gap between God and the material world.[17] The Logos was the highest of these intermediary beings, and was called by Philo "the first-born of God."[17] Philo also wrote that "the Logos of the living God is the bond of everything, holding all things together and binding all the parts, and prevents them from being dissolved and separated."[18]
Out of the messiness of interchange, out of the concoction of ideas we can maybe trace back the source of ideas in general but how could we attribute exclsivity to one idea? Sure, there is always some exclusivity but how much?
On the other side Christianity seems to stick out because it claims to have a historical level on/in which God himself set his revelation. Again, interesting topic which - in my opinion - cuts into one of the core issues of Christianity today

Greg said...

Sisyphos,
Thanks and good to hear from you. Quite a balanced comment and well put. Dialogue and interchange shaped the faith and you so rightly query "some exclusivity, but how much? I'm just finishing a book published in 1927 by NP Williams. He shows how there were at least 3 views of the Fall for the first 300 years of the church. Each of these views had a number of sources, but they were the views of the church - East and West - and there were some differences, yet there was some exclusivity in two ways. These views were the church's and there were 3 of them, not 300.

Now to your one idea question. Of course, resurrection would be a example. There are 4 accounts in the NT of Jesus' resurrection, but one idea. Or, "love your enemies" might be another.

One of the things I was trying to raise thought about was the notion of plurality being necessarily tied to exclusivity. That is, plurality within the Christian context and outside it as well.

John said...

Hi Greg -
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "exclusivity" here. Do you mean that exclusivity is necessary in order to keep plurality from being relativity? If that is what you mean, I think we do need to hold onto a notion of exclusivity, though we may need to rethink what exclusivity in belief really means and how that affects how we relate to others.

John

Greg said...

Hi John,
Thanks. Yes, on the first question. And I agree that we need a rethink on how such a notion tends to have separatist connotations that do more harm than good.