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Inclusivism, one of several approaches to understanding the relationship between religions, asserts that many different sets of beliefs are true.[citation needed] It stands in contrast to exclusivism, which asserts that only one way is true and all others are in error. It is a particular form of religious pluralism, though that term may also assert that all beliefs are equally valid within a believer's particular context.

Broadly speaking, there are two schools of Inclusivist thought:

Strands of both types of Inclusivist thought run through inclusivistic faiths.

Ancient Greece

Interpretatio graeca was the common tendency of ancient Greek writers to equate foreign divinities to members of their own pantheon. Herodotus, for example, refers to the ancient Egyptian gods Amon, Osiris and Ptah as "Zeus," "Dionysus" and "Hephaestus." This could be seen an example of inclusivism, as could syncretism.

Syncretism functionalized as an essential feature of Ancient Greek religion. Later on, Hellenism, a consequence of Alexander the Great's belief that he was the son of a god, only to be reinforced upon personally consulting the Oracle of Zeus-Ammon at Siwa in Egypt, itself showed syncretist features, essentially blending Persian, Anatolian, Egyptian (and eventually Etruscan-Roman) elements within Hellenic formulations. After the Hellenization of the Egyptian culture initiated by Ptolemy I Soter, Isis became known as "Queen of Heaven" and worshipped in many aspects and by many names besides that of Hera.

Baháʼí Faith

Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Baháʼí Faith in the first half of the 20th century, states:

The fundamental principle enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh, the followers of His Faith firmly believe, is that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their basic principles are in complete harmony, that their aims and purposes are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ only in the nonessential aspects of their doctrines, and that their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society.[1][2]

Christianity

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A standard passage cited in the debate over this question is found in Jesus' words in John 14:6: "No one comes to the Father except through me" (NIV). If this is taken to mean that a person is saved only by conscious faith in Jesus, the verse appears to contradict Lewis' position. However, another reading is that Jesus is solely responsible for making salvation possible (i.e. he "instituted" it by his death and resurrection). In this reading there may be room for the position that some might come to the Father through this salvation not knowing (at least originally) its connection to Jesus.

Hinduism

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See also

References

  1. ^ (The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh" in World Order, Vol. 7, No. 2 (1972–73))
  2. ^ "The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh: A World Religion". Archived from the original on 2005-02-27. Retrieved 2005-01-30.
  3. ^ Strong, Anthony H. (1907) [1886]. Systematic Theology. Old Tappan, NJ: Revell. pp. 842–843. OCLC 878559610.
  4. ^ Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1967), 65. For a study of Lewis on this topic see John Sanders, No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992), 251-257.
  5. ^ Wesley, "On Faith" in The Works of John Wesley, third edition volume 7 (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1986), 197. For other texts by Wesley on the topic see John Sanders,No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992),249-251.
  6. ^ Clark Pinnock, A Wideness in God's Mercy: The Finality of Jesus Christ in a World of Religions (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992)
  7. ^ "I Can't Play God Anymore" interview with James M. Beam, McCall's Magazine, (January 1978), pp. 154-158
  8. ^ "Nostra aetate". www.vatican.va. Archived from the original on 2008-12-20. Retrieved 2014-06-25.