7 - Pluralism and Proper Function  pp. 166-187

Pluralism and Proper Function

By Kelly James Clark

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Religious diversity, the fact of a wide variety of religious beliefs and traditions, raises the problem that apparently sincere and equally cognitively capable truth seekers reach widely divergent conclusions about the nature of ultimate, perhaps divine, reality. Religious exclusivists hold that their own religious beliefs are true and, therefore, that all competitor beliefs are false. Critics of exclusivism allege that it smacks of arrogance and intolerance and also seems to make moral and spiritual transformation a matter of luck. If you happen to have been born to a conservative, Christian family in the heart of America, you would have likely been a Christian; but, if you had been born in India, say, more than likely you would have been a Hindu (or in China, an atheist; or in Jordan, a Muslim; or in California, Mickey Mouse).

Just how religious diversity is offered as a defeater for one's warrant for exclusive religious beliefs can be seen in John Hick's defense of religious pluralism, which holds that the multifarious religious beliefs are equally efficacious at moral and spiritual transformation. Hick claims that there is a variety of religious traditions each of which, so far as we can tell, is equally successful in the transformation of human lives. Although they differ in their characterizations both of the goal of human life and of the processes necessary for the attainment of such goals, each of the disparate processes seems nonetheless equally well suited for the goal of the transformation of human lives from self-centeredness to what he terms ‘Reality-centeredness’.


Reference Title: Select Bibliography

Reference Type: bibliography

Reference Title: Books by Plantinga

Reference Type: bibliography

(ed.) The Ontological Argument. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965.
God and Other Minds: A Study of the Rational Justification of the Belief in God. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1967; rev. ed. 1990.
The Nature of Necessity. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974.
God, Freedom, and Evil, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974.
Does God Have a Nature? Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1980.
(ed.), with Nicholas Wolterstorff. Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God. Notre Dame, IN, and London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1983.
Warrant: The Current Debate. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Warrant and Proper Function. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
The Analytic Theist: An Alvin Plantinga Reader, ed. James F. Sennett, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.
Warranted Christian Belief. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality, ed. Matthew Davidson. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reference Title: Books about Plantinga

Reference Type: bibliography

James Beilby, Epistemology as Theology: An Evaluation of Alvin Plantinga's Religious Epistemology. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006.
James Beilby (ed.), Naturalism Defeated? Essays on Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press, 2002.
Jonathan Kvanvig (ed.), Warrant in Contemporary Epistemology: Essays in Honor of Plantinga's Theory of Knowledge. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996.
James E. Tomberlin and Peter van Inwagen (eds.), Alvin Plantinga. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1985.