Many Paths toward One God?: Christian Theology and Religious Pluralism
Hyo-Dong Lee, Assistant Professor of Theological Philosophy
This seminar is on what is called theology of religious pluralism or simply theology of religions. Theology of religious pluralism directly engages one of the most prominent features of the world today, i.e., religious plurality. It raises and attempts to answer a set of theological questions, among which are: What does it mean for Christians to profess the world as God’s beloved creation when different or even competing professions of ultimate allegiance and devotion are constantly being made for the sake of its healing? What are Christians to make of the Great Commission to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth? How should disciples of Jesus understand the biblical saying attributed to Jesus himself, “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”? How are Christians to live peacefully together with the religious “others” who have now become close neighbors?
Spirit and Cosmopolis
Sharon Betcher, Professor of Theology, Affiliate, Fellow in Teaching and Research, Vancouver School of Theology
This seminar assumes the urbanization of humanity as the context for spiritually motivated, philosophical reflection on the role that Spirit can play in an urbanized and secular world. If Spirit/uality has to do with the practice of neighbor love, hospitality and graciousness amidst everyday life, Christopher Flavin of World Watch Institute expresses an urgent realism for thinking spirituality with and through emergent urbanism: “Urban centers are hubs simultaneously of breathtaking artistic innovation and some of the world’s most abject and disgraceful poverty. They are the dynamos of the world economy but also the breeding grounds for alienation, religious extremism and other sources of local and global insecurity.” As Flavin goes on to say, all of the major changes confronting humanity—from ecological rectification to global climate change and the amelioration of class divisions as well as religious and ideological resentments—must be thought and worked through the fact that humans are an urban species. Given that urban studies theorists insist that “fear is as great a threat to the future stability of cities and regions as the much more talked about economic forces” and that “fear has become aestheticized” (that is, enfolded into what we construe as the beautiful and good), this particular unit addresses theo-spiritual reflection and practice in the face of fear, pain, disgust, and beauty, especially insomuch as these cut chasms through our cities. Where might we locate resources in our own tradition through which to mindfully attend to the regeneration of that interdependence today named social flesh?