the glassy eye

Yay! Roy (the man with the plan) Bauman left a really thoughtful response to my question on religious pluralism. He deserves an equally thoughtful return response. Unfortunately, I can only give him my opinion. But seeing as how many people are better versed at this issue than I am, I trust one of you will jump in....
Roy Bauman said... Erik, Long time no see. I trust that all is well in South Bend. I was perusing the links on Lukes blog and couldn't help but join in on this one. No. 1. I don't believe there is anyone who is a devoted follower of and fully understands the tenets of any given religion that could possibly answer this question any other way. Christianity and Judaism say there is no way anyone can atone for his or her sin on their own. The law as handed down to Moses required that blood be shed from a sacrificial lamb in order to gain that atonement. While Jews still await the arrival of the Messiah to come and restore the kingdom of David and the law, Christianity alone says that the price was paid by Jesus, the Son of God, as the ultimate sacrificial lamb on the cross and that through his death and resurrection we are sanctified and have eternal life if we believe. This concept is a blasphemy to the Muslim who believes that Mohammed was the last and greatest of all the prophets and that Allah is the one true god. The idea of god having a son does not register with them at all. While Christianity is based on the faith that God has done the work, the Muslim must work his own way into eternity. This is also true of all other major world religions. The Hindu not only has to work through the sins of his lifetime, but must also deal with the sins of past lives in order to be reincarnated on a higher level. As a side note, I find it interesting that when people speak of their former lives they were almost always a prince, king, queen, or some other noble character. I don't believe I've ever heard of anyone who was a mass murderer or thief in a former life. Buddha was a disgruntled Hindu who did not believe in any of the 30,000 gods that the Hindu religion had to offer. I believe that he would be sorely disappointed in his followers today who have set him up as a god. He was atheistic at best and simply believed that he had reached the point of perfect nirvana and that his soul would never be reincarnated or have to continue wondering the earth. Granted, this a nutshell view and probably oversimplified for some, but I do hope my point is well taken. Tue Oct 04, 07:10:31 AM EST
Roy, first of all thanks for that great comment. It's a pleasure to have your internet-company :-) Your point is well taken indeed. At the beginning of your comment you said: "I don't believe there is anyone who is a devoted follower of and fully understands the tenets of any given religion that could possibly answer this question any other way." I think that's a perfect summary of what we might think of as mutual incompatibility of religions at the fundamental level. But here's my follow-up question: What do we do with that incompatibility? If it's fundamental, the only response that can possibly be given to a Muslim, say, is a variant of the "you're wrong; I'm right" argument. We can dress it up and make it nice, but that's essentially what we're saying. From my perspective as a Christian, great--we should be delivering the truth. But from my perspective as a mere individual with a very small perspective tied to my time/culture/political perspective, etc. I might ask How do we know that they don't think the same thing? I assume that they do--we are the infidels and they are going to Heaven. What do we do about this? Where do we go from here? Are we fatally determined (no pun intended) simply to fight until one group is destroyed?


Anonymous Ray Grieselhuber said...

Erik - great discussion and thanks for the extra motivation to get my post on a similar topic out sooner than later. I keep meaning to do so, and our weblogs seem to be reflecting similar ideas.

10/14/2005 2:42 AM  

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