One Earth, Many Religions
By: Paul F. Knitter
One of the world's foremost exponents of the "pluralist" position as the most adequate Christian theological account of religious diversity turns to a new and urgent issue facing the community of world religions. For Paul Knitter, the spectre of environmental and social injustice looms over any serious discussion of humankind's future. As urgent as it is to have peace among the world's believers to achieve peace among nations, it is urgent that these communities unite in understanding and defending of the earth.
In One Earth Many Religions Knitter looks back at his own "dialogical odyssey" and forward to the way that interfaith encounters and dialogue must focus attention on new challenges. Nothing less than enlisting the commitment of the world's religions on the task of saving our common home will do. In making that case, Knitter makes clear the complex structures political, economic, and social as well as religious - that face those who approach this task. While articulating a "this-worldly soteriology" necessary to overcome our eco-human plight, Knitter offers practical considerations on actions and projects that have and should have been undertaken to stem the tide of environmental and human suffering.
The global crisis is both at the center of One Earth Many Religions and a test case for Knitter and others engaged in the dialogue of religions. Can religious differences concerning the nature of the transcendent themselves be transcended in order to promote eco-human well-being? The issue seems basic and clear if interreligious dialogue cannot effect such a change, then one must question whether religion is of any use whatsoever.
Paul F. Knitter has taught at Xavier University, Cincinnati, and Union Theological Seminary, New York. He is author of No Other Name? and is General Editor of the Orbis Faith Meets Faith Series in Interreligious Dialogue.