Navigating a World of Multiple Faith
Navigating a World of Multiple Faith
In Chapter 8 of the book Philosophy of Religion: Thinking about Faith by Stephen Evans, a discussion is set forth concerning diverse issues surrounding the relationship between faith and reason. In doing so, the author underlines the uncertainty of faith. I had a substantial challenge in studying this section of the book because of the way it challenged my belief system. It made me question the different traditions and norms that I had observed since birth. In particular, Evans’s ideas stem from the frail nature of the institution upon which faith is founded (Evans and Manis 184). In his arguments, I found that he scrutinized faith as it was manifested across different religions. After this, he ventured to dismiss their stability and longevity. While his thesis touched on a subject that was very complicated, especially given that it crossed the boundary between science and supernatural, two topics almost always clashed. The issue being discussed at hand is whether it is possible to navigate a world of multiple faiths. To answer this question accurately, it is imperative to examine the concept of religious pluralism.
I think that people confuse religious pluralism with the primary notion of toleration. In the publication, the author offered an excellent definition of the two. His examples originated from the United States in the 1730s where religiously tolerant people had physical and political respect for other faiths but still harbored indignities of religious bias and segregation. At the very least, toleration failed to bring a sense of religious equality (Evans and Manis 186). I think that this attitude is still with us today in the 21st century. After studying this small history of the Western world, I came to a partial conclusion that it was difficult for a scientist or a layman to navigate the murky waters of religious diversity. In this year alone, there is enough evidence that people who have been religiously tolerated are still denied access to public offices, military opportunities, and learning chances (Evans and Manis 187). What people called tolerating other religions is actually just mutual respect or courtesy.
The current situation in which many religions exist within the world was triggered by many factors. I think that one of the strongest factors was political in nature. Democracy introduced different rights and privileges allowing freedom of religion to become a reality. While most learned people know that they can follow any religion they choose, there is still an element of conflict. People still find it difficult to balance their different faiths and achieve global peace. I attribute this clash of ideas to the fundamental aspects that exist within man and, by extension, their individual beliefs (Evans and Manis 198). In my research, I have encountered a group of skeptics categorized as being exclusivist.
Religions borne out of this ideology argue that their belief is the only legitimate and true faith. In their argument, exclusivists contend that it is permissible to subjugate the alternate teachings presented by other religions. Therefore, I could be very accurate in asserting that religions are constructs created by man with the intention of pushing their own God as the most superior one (Evans and Manis 210). Consequently, since human beings are imperfect, numerous attempts will emerge over the years to explain the indescribable entity that is God. From what we have discussed, I can conclude that it is inaccurate to say that any one religion is superior, or perfect. This is because I have identified that all religions are merely peoples’ attempt to express their divine sides. This conclusion creates new questions such as whether it makes any sense to follow any particular religion. It seems that it is pointless to be a Christian, Muslim, or a Hindu. There needs to be a rationale for committing to one particular religion. I also think that this reason needs to be philosophical in nature since we have already established that divine answers alone cannot suffice.
From the YouTube video, I think that David Bentley Hart emerges as a critical opponent of the modernism phenomenon.
He supported the stand made by the Catholic Church (Hart). I support his conviction especially given that modernism
endorses that the doctrines of religion were
heavily grounded in the different
religious impulses of man (Evans and Manis 211). In this way, human beings reflect
their personal religious stands and express
them in certain doctrines. I think that
the more time people spend in studying and practicing a particular religion, the more they eventually become convinced
that it is the only perfect faith system. Over the years, people gain a deeper understanding
of their divine expressions and
ultimately dismiss any other dogmas. I
like the definition of Catholic Church that claimed that the only true source of any religion was divine
revelation. While this only applies to Christianity, it is safe to say that it
can be replicated across all the other
religions. Human beings can and have created their own cults in the past making it necessary to question the origin of
every religion. A new problem that emerges at this point is proving the
authenticity of each source of divine inspiration.
Evans, C. Stephen, and R. Zachary Manis. “Chapter 8: Faith(s) and Reason.” Philosophy of Religion: Thinking about Faith (Contours of Christian Philosophy), Intervarsity Press, 2010, pp. 183-216
Hart, David Bentley. “Can Many Religions All Be True?” Youtube, uploaded by ObjectiveBob, 16 Dec. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIZ_TrtKnj8
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