A few posts ago I looked at the five ways Xy can relate to other faiths and asked you to choose which one you'd choose. Well it's probably no surprise that my answer and I think the Post Modern answer is (6) none of the above.
The problem with all of the 5 views I outlined (including theological pluralism which is different from a pluralistic society and often considered to be Post-Modern answer) is that all of these assume that the Xn has the privileged vantage point of the aeroplane. That is, in our illustration of people of different faiths climbing up a mountain to some ultimate reality / salvation or what ever, the little stick man Xn sees not only the immediate path but they can also see a view from an aeroplane flying by the mountain telling them where they are going and also where everyone else is going.
This in a nut shell is the difference between the modern and post modern mind. Whatever the idea of where the stickmen are the modernist is in the plane and the post modernist is on the ground. And on the ground is where I like to be. I have faith in where I am going but not proof. I am limited by what I know and the one thing I know is that there's a good chance I don't know everything. Right now I believe I am on a path way up the mountain faith to the flag of salvation or ultimate reality. Unfortunately I cannot fly above the mountain so I cannot judge wether other faiths are on that same path or even on the same mountain, or if I'm not on that path. As a result I am keen to put my faith in to the market place. A market place where I am willing to explore other peoples faith out of respect for them and to overcome my own ignorance. A market place where I might challenge others to explore my faith. A faith which I believe to be true as a result of the exploring I have done but which is relative to my time and to my space. It is a faith which I have a sneaking suspicion could be relevant to any one in any time and space. But I am not them so I cannot know that it will be. To have more than a snaking suspicion would be to claim knowledge of an absolute truth, a view from the aeroplane, which I do not have.
Here are the problems I have with those five ways of looking at faith...
(1) The Exclusivist position denies the opinion and experience of others. (2) The Pluralist position denies the reality of difference between faiths. (3) The Inclusivist refuses to look at the world through any opinion but there own seeing others only through there own values and standards. (4) The Inclusivist and Pluralist denies that some beliefs are unacceptable (such as murder) and are afraid to call a spade a spade. (5) The Exclusivist and Pluralist position is self centred and fails to see the value of learning from others and teaching others.
Post Modern people have no problem that "you think what you think" about a particular issue it's inability to say "this is what I think, but I could be wrong and I might learn something from you" that is the problem.
So here we all are on journey's together sometimes on the same path some times on different paths sometimes on different mountains all try to figure out what life means. All I want is for everyone to talk to each other about why they are walking where they are walking. Learn from each other not so that one can convert the other but so that we learn from each other and the truth may set us free.