Migration and Pluralism

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Migration and Pluralism

With reference to John Hick

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Pluralism with reference to John Hick

In this section, we will cover the Hick’s view of the nature of God and Religion. Hick viewed the religion of an individual is almost always an accident of birth. We all inherit hereditary characteristics from our parents (e.g. hair colour), and we also inherit our parents cultural practices and religious beliefs. He believed that it is a mistake to understand salvation in terms of the scared writings of one particular religion, as this will only serve to alienate others and cause divisions in society. He rejected the concept of hell, as this is inconsistent with the belief that the God in Judeo-Christianity is omnibenevolent (all-loving) He believed that religion should encourage personal growth and spiritual development, rather than a means of propagating one set of belief/doctrine. For Hick, all religions are inherently compatible as they have similar underpinning values (e.g. emphasis on family, love, worship and community)

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Examples of distinct cultural practices (specific to one region/country)

Holi festival in India

Carnival in Brazil

Harbin Ice festival in China

Flag throwing in Italy

Chinese New Year – China

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We also learn from our elders..

Imam Ali Tos' Departure - Cambridge Central Mosque

We are exposed to different religious influences/teachings depending on where we live and our family values.

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John Hick

He identified as an Evangelical Christian, and later accepted membership into the Quaker Church. Interested in the works of Immanuel Kant, and began to question Christian fundamentalism later in life. In 1948 he completed his book ‘ Faith and Knowledge’ Refereed to by some as the ‘ most significant Philosopher of the twentieth century’ Criticised by Pope Benedict XVI on the basis that he encouraged the growth of relativism. In the Dominus Iesus  declaration, Pope Benedict seemingly condemned the works of Hicks and others .

He identified as an Evangelical Christian, and later accepted membership into the Quaker Church. Interested in the works of Immanuel Kant, and began to question Christian fundamentalism later in life. In 1948 he completed his book ‘ Faith and Knowledge’ Refereed to by some as the ‘ most significant Philosopher of the twentieth century’ Criticised by Pope Benedict XVI on the basis that he encouraged the growth of relativism. In the Dominus Iesus  declaration, Pope Benedict seemingly condemned the works of Hicks and others .

Key publications: ‘Faith and Knowledge’ 1957 The Existence of God 1964 Evil and the God of Love 1966

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The purpose of life according to Hick

Hick viewed the purpose of life as one of soul-making or spiritual growth. His own personal experiences (on a troop ship in WW2) likely influenced his view on the purpose of life. His reformulation of the ‘ Irenaean Theodicy’ can be found in his book Evil and the Love of God , in which he states “sin and suffering to the perfect love of an omnipotent Creator” (p. 297) Hick also rejects eternal suffering (as seen in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats), as this is incompatible with Christian teachings on the nature of God.

Human suffering is necessary

Suffering brings us closer to God

After death there will be future lives

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Assessment of Hick’s views

Strengths: 1) Promotes interdenominational and inter-faith relations. 2) Does not seek to establish Christianity as the norm or enforce Christian ideals. 3)Provides hope for those experiencing hardship, e.g. persecution experienced by Jews during the Holocaust.

Weaknesses: 1) His claims that the inconsistencies/incompatibilities between religions are insignificant. 2) Hick’s view of ‘future states’ is inconsistent with traditional Christianity. 3) Universalism is unacceptable for most fundamentalists, including Evangelical Christians. 4) Most religions reject the idea of ‘soul-making’ or self-transformation. 5) It ignores the nuances and traditions of pre-existing religions. By grouping them together, there is a tendency to stereotype or overlook the finer details.

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Essay questions: ‘’John Hick’s views contradict key Christian beliefs’ 15 marks