Follow-up on Suchocki and pluralism

Kevin Kim (a.k.a. the Big Hominid) has some thoughts and questions riffing on my post about Marjorie Suchocki’s Divinity and Diverstiy. I think Kevin pinpoints a certain ambiguity in Suchocki’s position, one that I wrestled with.

It seems to me that Suchocki could either be characterized as a pluralist or as a modified inclusivist. This ambiguity is most pronounced, I think, in her treatment of the competing truth-claims of different religions. On the one hand, Suchocki affirms the existence of God and describes other religions as culturally conditioned responses to God’s call and presence in the world. This sounds like an inclusivist position, at least to the extent that it implies that the truth is more fully revealed in Christianity (or at least in theistic traditions generally) than in non-theistic traditions.

On the other hand, Suchocki also argues that the conceptual articulations of the various religions are abstractions from and grow out of the soil of a more immediate experience of ultimate reality and that, when detached from that experience, it doesn’t really make sense to ask if one is “truer” than another. That sounds a lot like a “constructivist” position in the mold of John Hick, where ultimate reality is ineffable and the various religions are cultural responses to the Real. Ultimately, it’s not clear to me that these two tendencies are fully compatible.

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