Understanding Religious Diversity : A Contribution to Interreligious Dialogue from the Viewpoint of Existential Philosophy

University dissertation from Uppsala : Etik och Religionsfilosofi

Abstract: This dissertation addresses the question of the role of religion in a world to come. It presupposes that for religion to play a positive and constructive role in future society interreligious dialogue is of utmost importance. How religious diversity is conceived and how problems of religious diversity are discerned have in this context bearings on attitudes towards the interreligious situation.It has become customary to classify possible attitudes towards alien religions according to the typology exclusivism, inclusivism, pluralism. In Part One of the study, this very typology is called into question. This is done by focusing on a number of thinkers who in the current debate are making use of this typology. It is investigated how problems of religious diversity are discerned by these thinkers and how they propose to deal with such problems. The investigation claims to show that none of these accounts leads to constructive attitudes towards the interreligious situation and to interreligious dialogue.In Part Two the concept of religion is put into question. It is suggested that this very concept leads to a not very constructive way of conceiving of religious diversity and religious difference. Another perspective is suggested where focus is laid on religiousness rather than religion. Aspects of Heidegger’s existential philosophy are used to illustrate the advantage of using the concept of religious moods as an interpretive framework and tool for understanding religious diversity.

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