79 CARL REINHOLD BRAKENHIELM THE MERITS AND LIMITS OF RELIGIOUS PLURALISM Reflection on Petterson and Hamberg Thorleif Pettersson and Eva Hamberg use the concept of religious pluralism to describe a situation in which various religious "firms" compete with each other with their religious "goods" on the cultural "marketplace". We may, if we wish, strip this description of its commercial connotations and simply speak of a situation in which various religious communities exist side by side and where none has a privileged position. The paradigmatic example of such a situation is the United States. One of the more important theoretical roots of religious freedom as an ideal goes back to John Locke and his Letter Concerning Tolera- tion (1688). Religious freedom can be contrasted with two other ideals, the assimilation model and the ecumenical vision. The assimilation model has as its aim the encompassing of religious minorities into one larger religious commu- nity. The ecumenical vision looks towards a future unification of different religious traditions into a future religious community (E pluribus unum). Many different questions can be asked about religious pluralism. Some of these are: I. What arguments can be formulated in favour of religious pluralism? Are there
Journal of Empirical Theology – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1997
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