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ABC Religion: “The problem of religious diversity and the dead-end of reason”

Chris Hackett has written the following article for the ABC Religion and Ethics website entitled “The problem of religious diversity and the dead-end of reason.” It begins:

This week, the Australasian Philosophy of Religion Association convenes its annual conference, hosted by the Australian Catholic University, on the topic “Religious Diversity and Its Philosophical Significance.” Thinkers from both Continental and Analytic traditions – including Kevin Hart, Constant Mews, Marilyn Adams and Richard Kearney – will be involved in this major event.

For philosophers of religion, “religious diversity” has been a significant topic for some time. Questions such as whether the phenomenon of religious diversity entails “inclusivism” – the recognition of the validity of diverse religious paths – or, alternatively, whether or how one would be justified in holding to a traditional religious “exclusivism” – for which one religion (one’s own) possesses the universal truth – are commonly asked.

Similarly pressing questions are unavoidable – such as, whether proselytism is a justifiable practice given the impossibility of “proving” the truth of religious faith, or whether religious diversity is possible, or (for the more optimistic) how it is possible, in secular liberal democracies without destroying either the religions themselves or our political order.

These are, of course, important questions. But are they posed in an adequate way? Suppose for a moment that Socrates was right, that the way questions are posed tells us the most important things about the answers that we seek. Questions already imply how the question itself will be answered, precisely because they contain the field of possibilities by which the question can be answered.  […]

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