“Is Jesus on the Side of the Non-Christian?” by Aimee Upjohn Light

In his Journal of Ecumenical Studies response to my piece Hick, Harris and the Demise of the Pluralist Hypothesis, John Hick continues to advocate a meta-approach to religious multiplicity which ignores the problems inherent in such a quest.  Condemning tradition-bound approaches as “dogmatic theology,” Hick remains unaware of the promise of progress which is yet unmined within the religions themselves.  Specifically, this article proposes that by returning to Christianity as a rebellious religion of liberation—with a founder who witnessed to God’s absolute commitment to the oppressed and marginalized—we avoid the problems which undermine the pluralist hypothesis and the abstract, ontologically based positions which follow it.  Further, we reap the good which pluralism was meant to accomplish, specifically the affirmation of multiple religions and the status of their members.  The return to confessionally-based approaches is already taking place within inter-religious dialogue and theology of religions. Making sure that this return is not a return to abstract Christian dogmatism and instead serves the aims of Hick’s pluralism should be the work of this generation of scholars.  This article begins to point at how, for Christians, we can radicalize the current methodological paradigm shift to confessional, tradition-bound approaches and at the same time save this work from suffering the same problems as pluralism.  We need to give our confessional return the content of liberation theology.

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