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Divinity and Diversity: A Christian Affirmation of Religious Pluralism [Paperback]

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Item description for Divinity and Diversity: A Christian Affirmation of Religious Pluralism by Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki...

Overview
One of today's foremost theologians presents the case for embracing religious pluralism as integral to the Christian gospel. Religious pluralism is a fact in North American society today. More than at any other time, adherents of different religious traditions live, work, and play side by side. Yet the fact of religious pluralism creates a tension for a large number of Christians. At the same time they have realized that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and members of many other religious groups have become their neighbors, they are also aware of Christian teachings that seem to exclude these groups. Statements such as "no one comes to the Father except through me," and "outside the church there is no salvation," seem to imply that these new neighbors are not part of the family of God, or at least that their religious beliefs and practices are not viable avenues to human wholeness and salvation. In this insightful and irenic work, Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki demonstrates that Christians need not ignore, nor even compromise, the teachings of the gospel in order to accept and rejoice in religious pluralism. She argues that the Christian doctrines of creation, incarnation, the image of God, and the reign of God make the diversity of religions necessary. Without such diversity the rich and deep community of humanity that is the goal of the Christian gospel cannot be realized. Along the way Suchocki rejects the exclusivist claim that there can be no relationship with God apart from the church, and the inclusivist idea that Christianity is the highest expression of the search for God, with other religions possessing in part that which Christians possess in full. She argues instead for a pluralist position, insisting on a full recognition of the distinctive gifts that all of the religious traditions bring to the human table.

Publishers Description

One of today's foremost theologians presents the case for embracing religious pluralism as integral to the Christian gospel.

Religious pluralism is a fact in North American society today. More than at any other time, adherents of different religious traditions live, work, and play side by side. Yet the fact of religious pluralism creates a tension for a large number of Christians. At the same time they have realized that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and members of many other religious groups have become their neighbors, they are also aware of Christian teachings that seem to exclude these groups. Statements such as "no one comes to the Father except through me," and "outside the church there is no salvation," seem to imply that these new neighbors are not part of the family of God, or at least that their religious beliefs and practices are not viable avenues to human wholeness and salvation.

In this insightful and irenic work, Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki demonstrates that Christians need not ignore, nor even compromise, the teachings of the gospel in order to accept and rejoice in religious pluralism. She argues that the Christian doctrines of creation, incarnation, the image of God, and the reign of God make the diversity of religions necessary. Without such diversity the rich and deep community of humanity that is the goal of the Christian gospel cannot be realized. Along the way Suchocki rejects the exclusivist claim that there can be no relationship with God apart from the church, and the inclusivist idea that Christianity is the highest expression of the search for God, with other religions possessing in part that which Christians possess in full. She argues instead for a pluralist position, insisting on a full recognition of the distinctive gifts that all of the religious traditions bring to the human table.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Divinity and Diversity: A Christian Affirmation of Religious Pluralism by Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Christian Century - 12/13/2003 page 49


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Item Specifications...


Studio: Abingdon Press
Pages   125
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.09" Width: 6.05" Height: 0.37"
Weight:   0.44 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2003
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
Edition  New  
ISBN  0687021944  
ISBN13  9780687021949  


Availability  0 units.


More About Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki is professor emerita of theology at Claremont School of Theology. She is also co-director of the Center for Process Studies at Claremont.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General


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Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General



Reviews - What do customers think about Divinity and Diversity: A Christian Affirmation of Religious Pluralism?

Religious pluralism is an expression of God's activity  Apr 16, 2005
Marjorie Suchocki writes from a `process theology', a theology that postulates that God created the world through "call and response." God "calls" (i.e., creates) then waits for creation's response. After evaluating the response, God then "calls" again, waiting for creation to respond, and thus the cycle continues, ad infinitum. This is the `process' in `process theology'. God's actions, Suchocki says, "depend upon creaturely response."

Suchocki uses `process theology' to advance her argument that `diversity of religions' exist because various cultures have, through the eons, responded differently to God. The diverse expressions of religions in the world exist in response to God. Every culture, every language, every belief, and thus every religious creed was created from unique response to God. Thus God is the author of every religious expression in the world today, and therefore every religion should be acknowledged as a God initiated religion.

Regarding Christianity, Suchocki believes that the task of the Church is not to convert the world to Jesus Christ, but rather to invite the others to cooperate collectively to bring compassion and common good to our world. She challenges all faiths (especially Christians) to reach out to each other in a spirit of dialogue and friendship. For Schocki, when a world community of peace exists, then the "Reign of God" has come. Out of these encounters a friendship will grow and works of mercy can begin. She contends that in a world plagued by hatred, "to not engage religiously in global friendship is to cede the world to forces of evil." "We live in a world of diversity," says Suchocki, "and are richer because of it."

A significant shortcoming is the book's lack of an index. In "Divinity and Diversity" Suchocki has given the reader a solid apologetic that stresses that religious pluralism is part of the design that God has for this world. Though the books is a short 121 pages, it is a demanding read. This is a text that will be best received by divinity graduate students, scholastic clergy and academia. Strongly recommended.
 
The one and the many  Nov 16, 2003
Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki challenges the old assumptions of religious pluralism on many levels in her text, `Divinity and Diversity: A Christian Affirmation of Religious Pluralism.' As she states in the preface, once upon a time religious diversity in America largely extended to the different varieties of Protestant churches, and the one Catholic church (and, maybe, if the town was large enough, a Synagogue). As Judeo-Christian thought shares a common history (if not always a happy one), the pluralistic aspect didn't involve much more than looking beyond various shades of gray. Today's situation is vastly different, with the number of world and home-grown religions in many communities reach double or even triple digit proportions.

Suchocki asks the question, how do we deal with this phenomenon as Christians? Through various discussions of creation, radical incarnation, and the image of God in Godself, Suchocki argues that both the created world and God call for pluralistic understanding. The world was not created in a monotone manner - there was diversity from the very start. God in Godself is not monotone, either - the doctrine of the Trinity is used to explore the relationship of diversity within divinity, as a model for there being unity and diversity held in creative tension. Suchocki's treatment of the Reign of God is as a model for appreciating and protecting the `stranger in the gates', as that stranger includes everyone in creation.

Various theologians (Rahner, Tillich, Kung, etc.) have sought to preserve both the primacy or normativity of Christianity while respecting the values of other religions. Scholars and philosophers beyond the strict discipline of theology (Troeltsch, Hick, etc.) tried to explore `grand unification theories' or historical underpinnings that might make Christianity a relative commodity. Suchocki lays out four responses to the issue: exclusivism, inclusivism, pluralism, and transformation. Being a process theologian, Suchocki will of course opt for the final option - transformation. Using process ideas and tools, Suchocki explores the underpinnings of current thought religious and beyond to draw together a theology of diversity.

Suchocki concludes with a look at salvation and mission, and calls upon Christians to adopt in the twenty-first century world and beyond a new model of mission, that of friendship. `Friendship requires forthrightness about who we are, and an eagerness to listen to who the other is.' Friends do not force or coerce, but they can and do share. Friends discuss, and often persuade. This draws us into the peaceable kingdom of God.

For those who subscribe to the framework of process theology, this book is a wonderful excursion into the topic of pluralism. Not definitive and doctrinaire, it instead invites readers to continue the process of discernment of the issues of pluralism with questions at the end of each chapter, and various pieces of poetry, lyric or narrative story to spur the thinking on a different plane.

For those who are not familiar or not comfortable with process theological ideas, this book presents a challenge to look at the issues of exclusivity, inclusivity and pluralism in a new way, and to explore what transformation might be like. Perhaps some of the ideas found herein may also fit other theological frameworks, at least as food for thought.

 

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