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The library has yet to find an explanation for this misquote or a similar quote of Washington's that was confused for this statement. The library verified that this quote was not from George Washington, though has not be able to trace its actual origins. There is no evidence that Washington uttered these words while nearing his death. This quotation does not show up in any of Washington's writings, nor does any closely related quote.

Hemp was grown at Mount Vernon, and Washington became interested in the crop by to serve as one of the staple crops to replace the cultivation of tobacco at Mount Vernon. However the text of this quote is inaccurate. The actual quotation with a similar reference reads: "I am very glad to hear that the Gardener has saved so much of the St.

Make the most you can of both, by sowing them again in drills. Let the ground be well prepared, and the Seed St. The Hemp may be sown any where. This appears to be a misquote from a prominent Founder, though not George Washington. The actual quotation, which reads "It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing," is from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson on May 5, The letter reflects Washington's increased sense of caution in the wake of a summer assassination plot involving members of his Life Guard and his desire that his papers and effects remain secure from British capture.

His stated preferences are in keeping with orders issued in July shortly after taking command of the Continental Army. Washington feared Loyalists or men without a firm attachment to the American Patriot position could undermine the war effort. Washington's use of "natives" in this context refers to American-born men, not indigenous peoples. The editors wish to thank Dr. Zachary Schrag of George Mason University for pointing out the link between Washington's letter and these spurious quotes. While this quote is not from George Washington, he did express his perspective regarding helping war veterans.

Searches of all Washington papers and writings did not reveal this quote or any similar statements. He is, however, the final cause of salvation. Knitter explains what this means:. Efficient causes produce something that wasn't there to begin with. Final causes represent the goal of what is being produced and so make possible and guide the entire production. Jesus, says Rahner, is not the efficient cause of God's saving love. Such love has always been there, a given part of God's very nature.

But Jesus is the final cause of this love insofar as in him we see what God is up to, what God intends to bring about in giving the Divine Spirit to all people. Therefore, Jesus is in this case depicted as the total and final assurance of God's love and care being present in humanity, and he also assures humankind of their final destination in this life and the next Knitter In Rahner's view the differences between the replacement model and the fulfilment model are evident; whereas the replacement model states that salvation is only possible if one knows Christ, the fulfilment model states that those who do not know Christ can still experience the Divine saving love.

However, they will not be able to see where this saving love is leading and what its purposes and possibilities are Knitter This view of salvation leads to an interesting view of the religious Other. People who are not part of the Christian religion are in a certain sense already Christians - they experience what Christians experience and they are also directed towards Christ, but they do not realise it yet.

They can be referred to as anonymous Christians. It was, however, never Rahner's intention to depict the religious Other as anonymous Christians, but to liberate Christians to think differently of the religious Other, to help Christians realise that God himself can form Christians in whatever way he wishes Knitter Rahner's view therefore does not set limits for the way in which God is present in humanity, or the way God acts towards humankind. Tutu , however, has an opposing opinion and admonishes Christians:. We must acknowledge them [the religious Other] for who they are.

What does Rahner's concept of the anonymous Christian mean for the church? Rahner says that the church should consider itself the 'historically tangible vanguard and the historically and socially constituted explicit expression of what the Christian hopes is present as a hidden reality even outside the visible Church. This means that the purpose of the church is not to rescue people and put them on totally new roads although sometimes it will be necessary ; rather it is to burn away the fog and enable people to see more clearly and move more securely.

It is clear that Rahner's theology of religions is much more inclusive than is suggested by the replacement model, however, it is still limiting in a certain sense. Knitter uses a biblical figure to explain Rahner's theology of religions:. Once other religions truly encounter Christianity, once the Gospel is really announced to them Before Jesus, all other religions lose their previous validity - or better, they fulfil it. Whereas the first model, the replacement model, leans towards the particularistic position salvation is found only through Christ , the second model, the fulfilment model, leans slightly more towards the universalistic position God wants to save all people and salvation is found outside of Christianity, when people are led to the realisation that Christ is the Saviour of humanity.

This model allows for the possibility that other religions can be channels of the Divine's saving love and that the 'Divine Spirit can breathe in other religions.. The Spirit touches people through other people, through stories, gestures, music, and dance -and may do so through other religions' Knitter The belief that salvation and revelation, as well as the presence of the Divine, can be found in other religions, and therefore amongst the religious Others, places dialogue at the heart of this model.

Dialogue then becomes essential according to the fulfilment model. This dialogue would have to take place in an atmosphere of mutual participation, respect and willingness to listen and learn. There is, however, one particularity which is non-negotiable 34 according to this model, and this is the conviction that although the Divine's saving love and their presence cannot be limited to Christianity, Christ remains the fulfilment of all religions.

Spurious Quotations

The mutuality model places even more emphasis on the universality of salvation as it states that there are many true religions and that all of these religions are called to dialogue see Knitter Knitter speaks about how the time we are living in has had an effect upon people's views on the various religions: 'We are living in a time when many Christians are beginning to let go of exclusivist [read replacement model] and absolutist [read fulfilment model] claims.

Borg speaks of this progression by saying that persons who agree with the mutuality model feel that the traditional theological telescopes that show other religions as ultimately having either to be replaced or fulfilled by Christianity are not really showcasing the possibilities in either other religions or the gospel of Christ. This model views all people as 'potential dialogue partners' Knitter Secondly, this model seeks to find or create a fair space of equality for dialogue, as equality is important.

This equality of all religions does not entail that all religions are equal, but that every religion has equal rights to voice their views and to be heard. Christians cannot expect all people to listen to their views without being prepared to listen to the various voices of the religious Others. A dialogue amongstst the various faiths then seeks to preserve and celebrate the differences and diversities in all religions, and also seeks to find the things that the various religions have in common see Knitter Lastly, this model seeks to find a clearer understanding of Jesus' uniqueness, which will sustain dialogue Knitter Clearer understandings of Jesus and his unique characteristics are important to this model, because some traditional understandings of Christ and his church can create doctrinal complications for 'the ethical obligation to engage in authentic dialogue with others' Knitter This model, therefore, seeks to celebrate and cherish the uniqueness of Christ, without diluting the uniqueness of other religions.

This model focuses on three bridges or connections between all religions, which were described earlier. These bridges are: Firstly the philosophical-historical bridge that focuses on the historical limitations of all religions and the philosophical possibility of the one Divine Reality behind it ; secondly, the religious-mystical bridge based on the belief that the Divine is both more than anything experienced by any one religion and yet present in the mystical experience of all religions ; and thirdly the ethical-practical bridge which focuses on the fact that all religions have a common ethical concern and responsibility to those who suffer Knitter The pioneer of the first bridge, the philosophical-historical bridge, is a theologian named John Hick.

Hick's theology of religions seeks not to place the church, or Jesus, at the centre of the religious sphere of humanity, but to place God at the centre. This God he prefers to refer to as the Real, so as to ensure that people do not merely associate the image of the Divine with Christianity's view of God see Knitter Hick's hypothesis is based on the existence of the Divine Reality.

If there is a Divine Reality, 'it forms the heart of all the different religions' Knitter One of the reasons Hick provides for this Divine Reality's presence in the heart of all religions is that it serves the practical purposes of communication and cooperation between all religions:. For a creative Intelligence to have come up with such an arrangement would not speak well of creativity or intelligence. Hick provides another explanation for Divine Reality being at the centre of all religions. From his study of religious history, he has found that from as early as BCE religions have had a common goal or agenda: Improvement of the human condition on Earth, by urging humanity to leave behind its self-centred lifestyle and turn towards a Reality-centred God-centred way of life Knitter Knitter adds to this thought by saying that this is the reason why all those who are perceived as being 'holy' in the different religions, despite these religions being different in many ways, seem to be depicted in the same way, '[t ]hey are persons who are profoundly at peace with themselves and trying to live in peace with others' Knitter Another similarity between religions, which Hick describes, is the double nature of the Godhead in all religions.

God transcends what can be experienced by humanity, but is also finitely experienced by humanity. The Godhead is infinitely above humanity's earthly experiences, but is also involved in all that is created by them. Hick also states that the Real cannot really be known, only an image of the Real can be known, this is due to the fact that the mind has its own way of processing that which is being perceived. Therefore, the Divine is real and also mysterious. This means that what the different religions claim about the Real is true, but it is merely a fraction of the entire truth.

Knitter quotes Hick, who says that the many religions of humanity therefore 'constitute different ways of experiencing, conceiving, and living in relation to an ultimate divine Reality which transcends all our varied versions of it. They do this by using symbols, myths and metaphors. Each religion has its own symbols, myths and stories about the Real, 'Hick goes on to remind us that if that which is symbolized - the Real - is one, the symbols by which it is perceived and expressed will be many' Knitter There are many symbols for the Real, because the Divine is versatile and humanity is characterised by diversity in culture.


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The danger involved with the notion that there is but one Divine Creator, the Real, is that it could lead to relativism, if there is but one Divinity, 'reality' behind all the various religions, then does that not mean that no matter what religious path a person follows, it will inevitably lead to the same place? Then the differences in faiths would not be of any consequence, because all religions then lead to the same destination. Knitter states that this is not what Hick proposes. Differences in religions are of consequence.

This is evident to anyone who has paged through the book of religious history. No one can deny how much damage the religions have done. These things include the crusades, apartheid and torture, amongst others, and prove that despite all the good and positive features in all faiths, there is also a lot of evil. Therefore, we should be able to tell the difference between those practices that are good and those that are evil, so that the practices that lead one down a path of evil can be avoided.

Hick does not state that all religious views, events, beliefs or people, for that matter are of equal value Knitter He also provides a way in which one can evaluate whether a religious view or practice is of value. If the practice is focused towards promoting the self-sacrifice for the good of others and it is a voluntary renunciation of ego-centeredness and a self-giving to, or self-losing in, the Real, then it has value, because it will then promote compassion, acceptance and love for all humanity Hick Knitter maintains that the guiding factor Hick uses to avoid relativism is ethical, rather than doctrinal or experiential.

Hick also states that one can never truly evaluate or rank the various religions Knitter :. Whether any one religion excels all the others can be known only when the journey is finished. So what can be known only at the end should not distract us during the journey.

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For now, we should keep trekking - walking together and helping each other along our different paths. Knitter explains the way Hick suggested Christians should approach dialogue with regard to the subject of Jesus:. But they cannot, and should not, claim that he is totum Dei - the whole of God. All that he was and all that he did and said were transfused with, and so expressive of, the Divine Spirit.

But all that the Divine Spirit is and does cannot be confined to Jesus, or to any human incarnation of the Divine. Hall states clearly that Jesus as he is depicted in the Gospels and the Epistles of the newer Testament, does not wish to be considered as it were all the God of God there is. This may be a difficult concept for any Christian to grasp, as most Christians learn from a young age that Christ is Lord, he is the human incarnation of God. This means that accepting that Christ is not the whole of God might be challenging for Christians.

However, Jesus' double nature - fully human, but also fully God - can help in this instance, as Christianity states that the Divine is a transcendent Deity. There is a second bridge to consider: The religious-mystical bridge. This bridge relates to those who believe that the Divine, the 'Mysterious Real', is being experienced within the many different religions and that there is Knitter :.

And if there is a core mystical experience pulsating within the religious experience, there is a core Mystical Reality within them all. This accounts for the differences in religions, because each individual and each community has their own distinctive social context, thus they each experience the same mystical reality, but in a different way. This bridge seeks not to avoid or neglect the differences in the different faiths, but to show how these differences do not contradict the mystical similarities in the different faiths. This model takes the mystical path in trying to understand something about religious pluralism, and that all religions are unified and that this unity can be experienced on a mystical level Knitter The person who has been most influential to this bridge is Raimon Panikkar.

Knitter explains Panikkar's views as follows:. He has called it 'the fundamental religious fact'. It's a fact that 'does not lie in the realm of doctrine [ but] may well be present everywhere and in every religion'. It's something that can be only known through experience, but once experienced, it tells us something very real about the world and about ourselves. As an experience, it imbues us with a sense of being at-one, connected, united, part of. This Mystery which humanity is united with is an immanent reality which consists of three components: The Divine, humanity and the world.

These three components are directly connected to one another, they differ but are intimately related to one another, the one is 'life-givingly related' to the other Knitter Panikkar refers to these three components and their mystical relatedness as a cosmotheandric 35 reality. Panikkar elucidates the concept as follows:. The cosmotheandric principle could be formulated by saying that the divine, the human and the earthly - however we prefer to call them - are three irreducible dimensions which constitute the real, i.

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What this institution emphasizes is that the three dimensions of reality are neither three modes of a monolithic undifferentiated reality nor three elements of a pluralistic system. There is rather one, though threefold, relation which manifests the ultimate constitution of reality. This means that whatever the Divine is, 'it breathes within human and material' Knitter This relationship between the divine, humanity and the earth is not static, but is ever-changing and growing.

Panikkar continues:. Man and God are neither two nor one. God and man are, so to speak, in close constitutive collaboration for the building up of reality, the unfolding of history, and the continuation of creation. God, man and the world are engaged in a unique adventure and this engagement constitutes true reality Therefore, it is this cosmotheandric experience of reality that dwells within and is made available through the various faiths of the world Knitter Panikkar prefers not to speak of a common denominator in all religions, as he does not think there is such a thing Knitter He defines the concept of unity by saying that one cannot measure one religion by the other, 'or all of them by a common yardstick' Knitter What does this then mean for the unity of the different faiths?

Knitter explains Panikkar's viewpoint by saying that:. You can't find the unity without the diversity. Why is this so? For Panikkar the 'Mystery' within the religions is a reality that doesn't exist 'in itself' - that is, without humans and the world. So it has its being within the diversity of humanity and the world.

This then leads to the conclusion that God or the Divine is itself as diverse as the different world religions. Because the Spirit of the Divine is above reason, it cannot be boxed in. Therefore, Panikkar says that all religions must 'give up any pretence to monopoly of what religion stands for. For Panikkar dialogue is important, as in dialogue religions can learn, grow and expand their own identities Knitter Panikkar uses the term perichoresis, that the early Greek theologians used to explain the Trinity as connected or how the Trinity 'dances together', Knitter [] :.

Just as the three persons of the Triune God receive, maintain and deepen their differences precisely by dancing in and out of each other, so the religious traditions of the world can dance in dialogue with each other and so grow in both difference and togetherness. The last bridge connecting Christianity with other religions is the ethical-practical bridge. The thesis is that the ethical responsibility that all religions share can be the pillar on which an interfaith bond can rest. Knitter states that this is global responsibility and says that 'in being responsible for our endangered globe and all its inhabitants, the religions have new opportunities to understand both themselves and each other.

There is a tremendous amount of suffering in our world today. If there's not more of it than ever before, we seem to be more aware of it. Also, it seems to be more threatening and unsettling than ever before. There are various forms of suffering, which include poverty, victimisation, violence and patriarchy cf. It is, however, not just humankind which suffers - this suffering extends to the Earth and all creatures.


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As humanity keeps growing, the Earth suffers increasingly, trying to keep up with this growth and consumption. Suffering is therefore not confined to one particular faith - all people are affected by it Knitter All religions are faced with this problem. Knitter states that if there were to be a religion that denies the experience of suffering and does not see it as a challenge which must be faced by all religions, then that religion would have lost its relevance, 'if a religion has nothing to say about Holocaust Memorial Council, put it more boldly when he said that no theological statement should be made that could not be credible in the presence of burning children Kearney The existence of suffering and the challenge of easing this suffering becomes the common ground for all faiths, where they must take a stand, 'a common stand' Knitter Tutu speaks very passionately about the responsibility of all religions to ease injustice a form of suffering which has been experienced in South Africa and across the globe :.

Where there is injustice and oppression, where people are treated as if they were less than who they are - those created in the image of God - you have no choice but to oppose, and oppose vehemently and oppose with all the force you have in your being, that injustice and oppression. In his view of injustice and suffering, Tutu refers directly to the South African context by referring to the suffering caused by apartheid and racism.

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Even if there are many different religions, they all share the same endangered context, the Earth. All religions have the same agenda. This shared agenda creates a bridge for dialogue. Knitter says that this bridge creates the platform for stating that talking after acting will make for better talking, 'if religious persons first spend time acting together in order to relieve eco-human suffering, they will be able more successfully to talk together about their religious experiences and beliefs.

In this kind of religious sharing among those who have struggled for justice and well-being, people will likely discover that they have 'new ears with which to hear' what a friend from another religion is saying. Knitter also notes the importance of the ending or easing of human suffering in the good news brought by Jesus:.

It is therefore clear that the advocates of the mutuality model are realistic about the plurality of religions, and that this is the reason they seek bridges to connect the different religions in the hope that dialogue will be possible and the many different faiths will find common ground on which to walk.

This model states that in some ways all religions are the same but also unique, and therefore the mutuality model seeks a context in which all religions can be enriched by each other. The acceptance model. The last model, the acceptance model, maintains that there are many true religions, and therefore it seeks to find ways to bring about peace amongst all faiths see Knitter Knitter explains this model as:. This model seeks not to find the similarities between the different religions, but to accept the diversity in all religions, '[t ]he religious traditions of the world are really different, and we have to accept those differences - that, you might say, is the one-line summary of this model' Knitter This model was formed in and for the postmodern times that we are living in.

Postmodern views do not embrace the concept of universal truths, but rather view difference as being 'life-giving' Knitter It is therefore in a postmodern world view that diversity is embraced, as the many cannot be boiled down to the one, '[d ]ifferent things can be interrelated, connected and brought into unifying relationships, but never to the point where you lose diversity' Knitter Because of this one can say that truth is always many truths.

Truth takes many different forms, to the point that it becomes not one, but many. Knitter declares that if there were to be one absolute truth, humankind would never know it, not in the present. He further states that 'truth is always plural not singular because 1 all human experience and all human knowledge are filtered and 2 the filters are incredibly diverse. A theologian that has been one of the leading influences in this model is George Lindbeck. He provides a new perspective on religion, which can be referred to as the cultural-linguistic perspective Knitter Rather, it's the word and images that we are given by our religion that give shape to our religious thoughts and convictions.

Really, words enable us to have thoughts in the first place! No one can think nakedly, as it were. Thinking is always dressed in some images and words. Without religious words, we would not have religious feelings. Lindbeck is of the opinion that a person must first have 'external thoughts' given to them by their culture and religion, before it becomes possible to have internal words in their minds and hearts.

What then is also true is that the religious language a person receives from their culture makes and shapes the religious experience they have. Lindbeck says that 'communicative symbol systems are a precondition. Genetics obviously plays a role in who a person is, 'but also. Lindbeck regards religion as a communal phenomenon that shapes the subjectivities of individuals 'rather than being primarily a manifestation of those subjectivities. Lindbeck's view is that not only does an individual have filters through which they understand the world, but these filters determine what is being seen Knitter Knitter states that these filters do not just identify meaning, they give meaning; they do not merely mediate, they create.

Therefore, religious language creates the world we live in Knitter Due to this, it is difficult for people who are pioneers of the cultural-linguistic approach to talk about that which religions have in common. This is the reason why Lindbeck rejects an inner experience of God which is common to all human beings:. There can be no experiential core because. Adherents of different religions do not diversely thematise the same experience, rather they have different experiences.

Buddhist compassion, Christian love, and. Therefore, it is impossible to translate one religion into the religious language of another; religions are untranslatable Knitter However, there are overlapping terms in the different faiths, but these have different meanings and functions in the different faiths, because these faiths are different.

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Knitter explains that Lindbeck is insisting on a lack of common ground, and the impossibility of one religion really understanding and judging another - not because he wishes to isolate the different religions from each other, but because he wishes to preserve, protect and honour the differences between the different religions Knitter The question now is what the acceptance model says about dialogue. If religions are so completely different, is dialogue even possible?

Knitter states that this model is not against dialogue, but it seeks to be realistic not only about the advantages of dialogue but also its limitations and its 'dangers'. This model uses the concept of the different faiths being good neighbours to each other. Knitter explains what it entails to be a good neighbour:. Religions are to be good neighbours to each other.


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But to do that, each of them needs to recognise that, indeed, 'good fences make good neighbours'. Each religion has its own backyard. There is no 'commons' that all of them share. To be good neighbours, then, let each religion tend to its own backyard, keeping it clean and neat. In talking with one's religious neighbour -and that's what good neighbours do with each other - one is advised to do so over the back fence, without trying to step into the other's yard in order to find what they might have in common with oneself.

The key is that a neighbour must not attempt to make his own and his neighbours' backyards look exactly alike, as this would lead to a religion trying to fit into a culture and philosophy that is not its own. This may cause a religion to lose its own unique identity Knitter How can one faith then be a good neighbour to another.? Knitter says that:. So the first key is just for religions to observe who their neighbours truly are, which means that every religion must just be true to themselves and live as authentically as they possibly can Knitter This is then the foundation for further dialogue.

Knitter states that this is an advantage for the different faiths:. Therefore, they don't start measuring each religion according to how much each one shows that common heart. For this reason, there is no agenda for dialogue. Every religion will have to decide what the next step in this dialogue will be '[ t]he conversation and the relation between religious believers will just happen, if they happen' Knitter A second theologian identified by Knitter who has impacted this model, is S.

Mark Heim. To Heim religions are different from one another in every way: They have different endpoints and are different realities. He speaks of the concept of salvations, stating that all of the different faiths of the world are envisioning and attaining salvations, not salvation, '[t]hey're all moving toward different destinations, and, we can presume, they are arriving' Knitter He believes that there is no such thing as a sole fate for all humanity, therefore until the end of time religions will stay different, 'and this means that after death people will be "happy" and "fulfilled" in very different ways' Knitter Heim extends these differences further by saying that there is not only one Ultimate or Divine, but a multiplicity of Ultimates '[t]his view suggests that when we're dealing with what is "ultimate" or "most basic" or "transcendent", we're better off using the plural rather than the singular' Knitter Heim, therefore, states that there is a plurality amongst the religions, because there is a plurality within God.

He then uses the image of the Trinity to explain what he means. Heim also declares that to be is to be in relationship '[o]ne cannot simply exist; one must exist with.

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And that means that every-one needs an-other one' Knitter Knitter explains what Heim's conclusion is:. In Heim's own words, 'there is no being without difference and communion. The concrete form of these many different ways of relating to God is the many different religions Knitter Heim's viewpoint of many salvations creates a new perspective on dialogue.

People from different faiths differ so much that no agreement or disagreement can be a threat. There is no fear of pushing the religious Others away nor a need to make them convert, as this model makes the dialogue partners comfortable with the fact that one faith's way is not the only way. Heim says that this dialogue is different from the dialogue made possible by the other models, because when a dialogue partner is facing someone who they know is utterly and unimaginably different from themselves, then this person has the opportunity to face another religious truth that is both 'real and alternative', and can open themself to the possibility of learning something new.

Knitter states that this model is extremely positive about dialogue. Heim is therefore also committed to dialogue and states that even though all religions are vastly different, they can and must talk to and learn from one another Knitter This dialogue will be characterised by the fact that a religious person will always view their own religious views as superior, but must then also accept the validity of other similar claims Knitter :. Now we can better grasp what Heim means when he insists that we can be challenged by another religion only when we accept that it is really different from our own.

Dialogue cannot only lead to new knowledge about other religions, it can also bring forth a change in oneself Knitter This model also states that dialogue can have an effect upon the state of suffering and the relief of injustice Knitter Heim is also an advocate of a Christocentric approach to dialogue. Knitter states the two reasons why Heim is Christ-centred:. First, it is only through Christ that Christians have come to experience and understand God as triune - that is, as inherently and profoundly relational both within God's self and with all creatures; but, second, Christ makes clear or should make clear to his followers that precisely because God is so personal and relational, God thrives on particularity and diversity in the way God relates.

Since God's creatures are so different, God's relationships with them - God's revelations to them - will be really different. This approach then 'enables Christians to balance the wobbly seesaw between full commitment to Jesus and a full openness to other religions' Knitter Heim ; see Knitter says that when Christians resolve to follow Christ with their whole mind and heart, they must also keep the same mind and heart open to what God may do through other religious figures, 'Christ tells them [Christians] that God loves particularities, lots of them' Knitter Therefore, Heim believes, as a Christian, that God can make use of other systems to reveal himself and save Knitter Other theologians who are advocates of the acceptance model view the process of forming a theology of religions in a reverse way, which means they state that dialogue must not be the final destination of a theology of religions, but that dialogue should be the starting point in the process of forming a theology of religions Knitter These theologians state that a Christian theology of religions will be the fruit of dialogue and not the 'prelude' to it Knitter They also state that any theology of religions must be a comparative theology of religions.

According to Knitter this will mean that Christians will have to forget about 'what they think their tradition and theology tell them about other religions and simply go and see what the other religions say about themselves. The different models for a Christian theology of religions seem to be stuck; so let's leave them on the side of the road and look for help elsewhere - in the actual study of other faiths.

The proponents of comparative theology declare that not only does comparing one's own religion with others helps a person to form a Christian theology of religions, it also helps a religious person with their own self-understanding. The question is, however, how does one start to engage in this dialogue.? Knitter explains what the comparative approach is:. Instead of taking up broad, often complex, issues like 'the Christian and Buddhist notion of Ultimate Reality' or 'the Self in Hinduism and Christianity', comparativists suggest that we zoom in and focus on particular texts or movements or images.

In other words, limit the territory and explore it carefully. Connecting both, and adding a further institutional dimension, is the activity of the Templeton Foundation, which invests considerable funds in the promotion of dialogue between science and religion. The most celebrated instance of putative conflict took place at the University of Paris in , when bishop Stephen Tempier issued a condemnation of propositions in theology and philosophy.

Tension between universities and clerics, and turf wars between faculties, are undeniable and to some extent inevitable. Kilwardby, it turns out, was one of the most acute philosophical minds of the time and an enthusiastic early adopter of aspects of Aristotelian thought. Heavy-handed use of such formal prohibitions might be an affront to modern sensibilities, but it is a mistake to regard them as emblematic of a religiously motivated hostility to science. Another complication with the medieval story comes from the fact that opposition to Aristotelian philosophy would later become a hallmark of scientific innovation.

One of the prohibitions listed by Gingras concerns the existence of a vacuum, since this was something that God could instantiate if he so wished. It has been plausibly suggested that such prohibitions liberated Christian thinkers from too slavish an adherence to Aristotle, and that the theological emphasis on the unrestrained power of God that lay behind a number of the prohibitions promoted counterfactual thinking and hypothetical reasoning. Pierre Duhem, one of the pioneers of the history of medieval science, went so far as to say that the condemnations mark the beginning of modern science.

More generally, on a number of occasions, Gingras makes much of prohibitions and book censorship on the assumption that this is a sign of an enduring battle between science and religion, or at least between the institutions that stand in for them. But this reading results from a failure to understand the universality of regimes of censorship and their ultimate goal.

Legislative restrictions placed on the expression of religious, political, moral — and, in a small minority of cases, scientific — views might have served to maintain the power of particular institutions, but their goal was also the preservation of social order. It is patently clear, moreover, that religious views were far more likely to be subjected to the coercive powers of the state and, in those cases where it could exercise temporal power, the Church than were scientific ones.

The most determined and courageous instances of resistance to such attempts at control, overwhelmingly, were religiously motivated. This brings us to the Galileo affair, which makes a predictable appearance as a set piece. The basic details of the story are well known, and again Gingras does a creditable job of reconstructing them. Galileo was warned by the Inquisition in not to teach or defend the heliocentric hypothesis first propounded by Copernicus over 70 years before.

Following the publication, in , of an insufficiently ambiguous defense of Copernicanism, Galileo was placed on trial, and in the following year he was found guilty of vehement suspicion of heresy and ordered to recant. He did so and remained under house arrest until his death almost 10 years later. This looks like an open and shut case of science versus religion. But there are complications. Not only that, but the absence of observable stellar parallax provided apparently unassailable evidence against the motion of the Earth.