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L47: Religious Pluralism
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Vani Ravija
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  1. RELIGIOUS RELATIVISM: Remaining committed to the truth of one's religion, but at the same time, agreeing with the central concerns of pluralism. Different religions are constituted by different experiences & mutually incompatible truth claims, with worldviews incompatible with the other religions & worldviews. But these differing worldviews arise out of plurality of divine reality experienced by adherents of different reigions. A person's worldview (interrelated concepts, beliefs, rational thought) determines how one comprehends & experiences Ultimate Reality. Corresponding to different worldviews, there are mutually incompatible, yet individually adequate conceptual-schema-relative truths. Truth of a religion is determined by its adequacy- to appropriately correspond to the worldview of which it is a part. Advantages over Pluralistic Hypothesis: (1) Gives a better a/c of cognitive beliefs of adherents, since it affirms that every religion makes true fundamental claims. (2) Maintains dignity of all religions-by accepting their differences as real & significant. (3) Does not reduce the reality of the Real to a mere "image". Rather, it keeps it as direct object of religious faith.


  2. OBIECTIONS: 1- Relativism is incoherent Truth cannot be individualistic. While this is "subjective" (truth being relative to each person's worldview), truth is relative to the worldview of a culture rather than of an individual. While it seems to offer a better account than pluralism of cognitive beliefs of adherents, it falls short of their actual beliefs. Eg. Allah is one and only God for adherents of Islam regardless of one's worldview. Even in other religions; their beliefs are considered true in objective & absolute sense. Hence, adherents were historically exclusivists rather than relativists. CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS 1.Logical consistency: Fundamental proposition must be logically consistent with one another; not self-defeating. 2. Coherence of overall system: FP must be related to one another to offer a unified understanding of the world & one's place in it. 3. Consistency with knowledge in other fields: FP should not contradict well- established knowledge in other fields [science, history, psychology etc]. 4. Reasonable answers to fundamental human questions: religious system should be able to a/c for & explain fundamental human questions. 5. Existential plausibility: religious system must stand on its own fundamental beliefs & not borrow beliefs from another contradicting religious system