, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 140–160 | Cite as

Ecumenism between the world religions

  • Max Charlesworth
II. Pluralism


We seem then to be left with the fourth position outlined above as the best solution we have to the problem of religious diversity. No doubt this will be far too radical for some religious believers in that, while it allows a believer to hold that his or her religion has some kind of paradigmatic status it also admits that genuine religious developments may take place in other religions. On the other hand it will not be radical enough for other people who will see it as denying the integrity and autonomy of other religious ways and sanctioning some degree of religious exclusivity and intolerance in that, by seeing Christianity as having some essential core of truth that Buddhism lacks, I am claiming superiority for Christianity. And vice versa, if I claim that Buddhism is the privileged way of enlightenment, I am claiming superiority for Buddhismvisà-vis Christianity.

Nevertheless, even if this position does notsolve the problem of religious diversity it does at least show which of the alternative solutions are finally untenable, both on religious and philosophical grounds. And it does provide a basis for genuine ecumenical dialogue between the world religions. Indeed, by recognising that a religious believer can hold that genuine developments of religious values may take place in other religions, it makes such dialogue absolutely necessary in much the same way as the Christian Churches have been led to see ecumenical dialogue as not merely an option but a necessity.


Religious Diversity Christian Church Ultimate Truth World Religion Religious Believer 
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Copyright information

© Springer SBM B.V. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Max Charlesworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Melbourne

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