Welcoming the Interfaith Future: Religious Pluralism in a Global Age
Members of many religions live alongside one another in sprawling urban centers and isolated rural communities, and conflict and misunderstanding among religions are widespread. From a Christian and Anglican perspective, this book searchingly examines the nature of such encounters and explores the meaning of religious dialogue and terms like conversion, syncretism, salvation, and pluralism. Tightly focused historical chapters discuss expanding twentieth- and twenty-first-century Catholic and Protestant views about other religions and conclude with a fresh interpretation of the formative Asian contribution to contemporary interfaith encounters. Three established, successful examples of on-the-ground religious interaction are also presented, including the work of Muslim leader Eboo Patel in Chicago, Episcopal Bishop William E. Swing in San Francisco, and Anglican Bishop Tim Stevens in Leicester. Ultimately, interfaith religious dialogue benefits from the prayerful use of visual symbols in addition to written commentaries. Several important, innovative Anglican figures are considered, including Kenneth Cragg, Alan Race, David F. Ford, Keith Ward, Desmond Tutu, Ian S. Markham, and Rowan Williams. The Anglican document Generous Love (1998) is presented as a wider, inclusive discussion of possibilities for interfaith dialogue. The author concludes by reflecting on the importance of the old hymn, There's a Wideness in God's Mercy in the evolution of his own views and as a foundational statement welcoming the interfaith future. This book is a solid, lively, and lucid introduction of a volatile issue rippling its way through the contemporary Anglican Communion.