Advertisement

‘There is No Common Denominator for World Religions’: The Positive Meaning of this Negative Statement

  • Masao Abe
Part of the Library of Philosophy and Religion book series (LPR)

Abstract

The most serious and crucial question in the current situation of religious pluralism is whether there is a basic unity or common denominator for world religions. After examining the positive and negative views concerning this question as presented by various theologians and religious scholars, the author points out that both the positive and the negative views start from the dualistic question: either the religions have a common essence, or they do not. He suggests overcoming this dualistic question itself and realizing that there is a common denominator neither in the affirmative nor in the negative sense. If we accept the no-commondenominator stance in all religious traditions, then a positionless position, a standpoint that is free from any position, is opened up. The clear realization that there is no common denominator for all world religions would serve as the common basis for the pluralistic situation of world religions.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    John Hick, God Has Many Names (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1982; orig. London: Macmillan, 1980), p. 18.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    John Hick, ‘On Grading Religions’, Religious Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4 (1981), p. 453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 4.
    Wilfred Cantwell Smith, The Meaning and End of Religion: A New Approach to the Religious Traditions of Mankind (New York: Macmillan, 1962, 1963), p. 156.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Raimundo Panikkar, The Unknown Christ of Hinduism, rev. ed. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1981), p. 24.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Raimundo Panikkar, The Intrareligious Dialogue (New York: Paulist Press, 1978), p. 57.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Raimundo Panikkar, The Trinity and the Religious Experience of Man (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1973), p. 42.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Frithjof Schuon, The Transcendent Unity of Religions, tr. Peter Townsend (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), Chapter 3.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    Harold Coward, Pluralism: Challenge to World Religions (New York: Orbis Books, 1985), p. 24.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    Ernst Troeltsch, The Absoluteness of Christianity and the History of Religions, tr. David Reid (Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1971), p. 85; also see p. 71.Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    Paul F. Knitter, No Other Name? A Critical Survey of Christian Attitudes toward the World Religions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1985), p. 27.Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    John B. Cobb, Jr., ‘The Meaning of Pluralism for Christian Self-Understanding’, in Leroy S. Rouner (ed.), Religious Pluralism (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), p. 161.Google Scholar
  12. 23.
    Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Towards a World Theology: Faith and the Comparative History of Religion (London: Macmillan Press; Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981), p. 175.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Masao Abe 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masao Abe
    • 1
  1. 1.Nara University of EducationJapan

Personalised recommendations