Respecting religious otherness as otherness versus exclusivism and religious pluralism

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This chapter distinguishes respecting religious Otherness as Otherness from exclusivism and religious pluralism: The exclusivist fails to respect the religious Other, pluralists (e.g., John Hick) fail to respect the Otherness of the religious Other (rather, they regard it to be sameness in disguise). The kind of interreligious dialogue implied in respecting religious Otherness differs from the kind implied in exclusivism and pluralism: The exclusivist does not engage in a serious dialogue since she possesses the truth and the religious Other does not, the pluralist is interested only in the commonalities with the religious Other. Different from that, respecting religious Otherness as Otherness implies a “robust interreligious dialogue” in which believers mirror their own religion in light of the other religion and learn from each other.

In order to get such a dialogue off the ground, we should abandon the principle of bivalence in the religious realm. Rather than considering religious beliefs which differ from our own to be false, we should acknowledge that the person holding them could be justified to do so (although we continue disagreeing with her). Abandoning bivalent truth in favour of the concept of justification is the heart of the “justified religious difference approach” recommended in this chapter. It makes a robust interreligious dialogue, differing from the kind of dialogues implied in exclusivism and pluralism, possible.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligious Truth and Identity in an Age of Plurality
EditorsPeter Jonker, Oliver J. Wiertz
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429019678
ISBN (Print)9780367029371, 9780367784799
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge new critical thinking in religion, theology, and biblical studies


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