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Finding a High Road: The Moral Case for Salvific Pluralism

K.E. Himma,"Finding a High Road: The Moral Case for Salvific Pluralism, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, vol. 52, no. 1 (August 2002), 1-33

53 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2015  

Kenneth Einar Himma

University of Washington - School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2001

Abstract

What more than anything else probably motivates sympathy among Christians for the view that other religious traditions might be capable of leading to salvation are moral concerns about Christian exclusivism. The idea that the most devout and ethical persons of non-Christian faiths might find themselves in hell simply because they do not believe one of the essential tenets of Christianity seems difficult to reconcile with God’s moral perfection.

Despite this, most arguments for salvific pluralism have rested largely on epistemological and metaphysical concerns. John Hick, for example, sometimes argues that the fundaments of the major religious traditions correctly describe different aspects of ultimate reality and sometimes argues that ultimate reality is unknowable, leaving all religions on roughly equal ground. In this essay, I attempt a purely moral case for salvific pluralism by developing the ethical intuitions that I think ultimately ground pluralist sympathies. I argue that there is nothing culpable, by itself, in accepting certain non-Christian religious traditions. Since it would be unjust to punish someone for a non-culpable behavior or state, it follows that salvation does not depend on assent to the fundaments of Christianity.

Suggested Citation

Himma, Kenneth Einar, Finding a High Road: The Moral Case for Salvific Pluralism (January 1, 2001). K.E. Himma,"Finding a High Road: The Moral Case for Salvific Pluralism, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, vol. 52, no. 1 (August 2002), 1-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2567134 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2567134

Kenneth Himma (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98195-3020
United States
206-543-4550 (Phone)

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