By Peter Byrne
This article surveys the thesis that every one religions are alike in referring and in relation to a unmarried, universal transcendent and sacred truth. It treats this thesis as one within the philosophy of faith and systematically units out its major philosophical strengths and weaknesses. the foremost to figuring out and protecting pluralism is argued to lie in a realist realizing of faith, that is outlined when it comes to an account of the reference of names for sacred, transcendent truth.
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Additional info for Prolegomena to Religious Pluralism: Reference and Realism in Religion
First, some speakers or other are able initially to ground use of the name in the existence and character of the referent. Second, later, or other, speakers are indebted to these original users for a tradition of so using the name, without too many hitches of the kind we noted from Evans in the previous section. But more needs to be said. One reason why the causal theory needs supplementing is that the notion of an initial ground of a name in some contact with the referent needs expanding. Not just any confrontation of a causal kind between speaker and object resulting in the speaker coining a name will mean that the speaker subsequently refers to that object by using the name coined.
Our problem in attributing common reference arises because competing names for the transcendent have apparently conflicting, and not merely, different descriptive, informationbearing conter t attached to them. This puts the possibility of the names of the transcendent having a common reference but different senses in a new light, as Hick now acknowledges (1993a, 153). Hick's more developed ideas in An Interpretation of Religion try to overcome these problems by employing the distinction between the sacred as it appears in the various religions and as it is in itself.
This means that endeavours to establish a thesis of common reference for the religions need not be initially defeated by the varied list of key features which have been applied to the transcendent in them. Vroom notes over 20 of them: goodness; bliss; omniscience; omnipotence; immutable; omnipresent; creator; ground of being; maker; origin; acting; determining all things; revealer; revealed in some book or person (Jesus, the Koran, the Vedas); incarnate (in a person or persons); judge; righteousness; merciful; forgiving; self-sacrificing; personal; non-personal; the all; distinct from all; non-dual (Vroom 1990, 87 - I have altered the list slightly).