Monday, February 2, 2009

The Problem of Exclusivist Claims

In all of my reading and sifting, struggling and I'm sure not understanding all of the complexities as it regards the tradition of Christian faith. One thing is for sure, there is no consensus, in regards to the text's understanding whether its hisoricity, it's meaning, and how the Church came to be.

I find that the dialogue is interesting, because it doesn't make absolute claims, but listens and stretches to understand.

I find, on the other hand, those who want to assert certainty in their exclusivist positions, are doing so for other reasons than "truth". There may be personal identity issues, or personal agendas, perhaps, even a "protection of the faith "once delivered to the saints". This stance saddens me, as it leaves large gaps in bridging an understanding among religious traditions, that would lend itself to human compassion, instead of dogmatic assertions and concrete opinions that harden one's attitude and approach to those who disagree.

I just heard today that the public schools were doing education in diverse religious traditions, helping students to understand another's traditon. I think this is a good exercise for minds to be expanded and hearts enlarged.

The Christian Church has much to loose, however, in opening up the discussion to others that differ in views. Although I do believe that culture is influenced by tradition, it isn't always in a positive way. Absolute claims are those that breed radicalism and an irrationality that leads to emotional reactions, instead of a steady and rational dialogue. We need more of the later in our world today, not the former.

I am hoping that those who are apologists will at least concede that their claims also "bridge a gap" of understanding within history. Whether one believes Scripture is historical or not, still need to admit that history is not a science of certain claims of exclusive interpretive texts.

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