PART II of the Demise of Truth in Postmodern Interreligious Pluralism

DEATH OF TRUTH: FROM TRUTH TO RELEVANCE

 

Any critique of alternative truth claims must proceed from the presupposition that any philosophical understanding goes beyond mere empirical description of the data under scrutiny (the heart of the postmodern emphasis derives from the radical limitations of Empiricism). Since no neutral description of facts is possible, metanarrative” or solipsistic irrationalism remains our only option. Of course, postmodern discourse concerning truth is characterized by multiplicity. If all postmodern “paradigm shifts” or mental frameworks are changing drastically (Kuhn’s Paradigmatic Revolution) and take hold it will surely lead to the destruction of Western civilization, if not the whole world. In a world where great shifts of paradigm is seen as a virtue, there will be no reason for exclusive truth claims (doctrines) of Christianity and Science. The resulting trend is toward synthesis in relation to world religions and ideologies. Surely there relates the challenge of the saboteurs within the sheepfold. This invasion consists of at least three major components which will play havoc with the fate of future generations of believers in the unique person of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior: (1) We must grant that truth resides in all religions. Harvey Cox, professor at Harvard Divinity School, former protégé of Paul Tillich and a leader within the World Council of Churches, proposes that we not only dialogue with the believers of other faiths, but realize that they, too, will be provided room in Jesus’ many mansions. Every religion contains enough truth so that Jesus can say to the “faithful” of that religion, “I am going to prepare a place for you.” (John 14.2) This presents a freedom to the broad-minded as a multi laned superhighway, . . .expressing the infinite forms of the love of God. . .through which it touches people.” (Harvey Cox, Many Mansions: A Christian Encounter with Other Faiths (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1988), pgs. 18, 52)

 

If the love of God takes “infinite forms,” then must Cox claim to see it also in a rag-tag voodoo doll or a glossy snapshot of the Sears Tower? Cox’ postmodern gospel continues--we need only to study “the sacred stories by which we claim the unity of our species and its animals and cosmic neighbors. . . .” (Ibid., p. 14) This is pure naturalistic pantheism. “We cannot merely speculate on whether rites and myths will someday cease to divide and stupefy people; we must so shape and reconcile them that they unite and enlarge us.” (Cox, ibid., p. 212) Cox’ proposal that since all religions (including Judaeo-Christianity) consists of divisive myths and rites that need to be redesigned so each can synthesize to the other or so everyone can at least find a common ground.

 

Hans Kung, a Catholic Theologian and professor of Dogmatic and Ecumenical Theology at the University of Tubingen, attempts to apply a pragmatic test to a religion to assess its validity. Both Cox and Kung think religious people, whatever their belief system, should be judged by their fruits (It isn’t doctrinal or ritualistic correctness that “matters” but “spiritual commitment.” (Contentless, whatever postmodern spiritually can mean) Cox claims, “Jesus’ example also reminds us that the search for oneness in diversity in interreligious dialogue is not only a matter of making judgments, but of refraining from judgment (ibid., p. 14) (e.g., postmodern non-judgmentalism). It is at least strange that Jesus never sought “interreligious dialogue” or “oneness in diversity.” We have the example of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman and the seventy-two men sent out were told to shake the dist off their feet when leaving a town that failed to accept the Gospel. Both Cox and Kung’s evaluation stems from the postmoern phenomenological search for becoming merely a human being (cf. Whatever that is?) Kung declares, “the basic question in our search for [truth] criteria reads, “What is good for the individual? Kuhn’s answer is “What tragedy helps him or her to live a human life, not an inhuman fashion. The moral good is what allows human life in its individual and social dimension to succeed and prospers in the long run. Kung asserts “that followers of other religions are to be respected as such, and not to be subsumed in a Christian Theology,” more “sense of relativity toward all human establishing of absolutes;” more “synthesis in the face of all denominational and religious antagonism. . . .” Earlier Kung claims, “Even the non-Christian religions can be ways to salvation.” (H. Kung, Theology For the Third Millennium: An Ecumenical View (trans. By Peter Hainegg, (NY: Doubleday, 1988, 232-236, 243-244)

 

Kung’s pragmatism sounds like classical utilitarianism and a general advocacy of the “greatest happiness principle” reset in post Vatican II theological language. Moreover, it is problematic to see how mere virtue--doing good and feeling good as opposed to doing harm and feeling bad (whatever these could possibly mean)--have anything to do with the principle of truth. None of these three mentioned postmodern prophets of cultural and epistemological relativism provide solution. All religions (spiritual traditions) are grounded in the same pantheistic, monistic ultimate reality.!”

 

Another postmodern relativist is Huston Smith, a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Syracuse, takes a more abstract approach to truth and knowledge in Western philosophy and his experience with world religions. In spite of his missionary upbringing in China, Smith finally aligns himself with Eastern mysticism. His studied with Indian swamis, participated in The Theosophical Society, and his late friend, Aldous Huxley, encouraged him to search for common ground in all religions. (e.g., his best selling book, The World Religions: Our Greatest Wisdom Traditions and The Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of The World Religions (1993).) His training was under swami and Zen masters, tivis and arimantas in the Australian bush, setting are in total harmony with Thomas Merton, the Dali Lama, and a remarkable native American chief. He totally distorts the historical narrative displacements in his work, Beyond the Postmodern Mind by speaking of the pre-Cartesian philosophers who started with unity and then went on to diversity. “Divinity” is but another word for “Reality;” all three of our prophets--Cox, Kung and Smith--simply take refuge, as Huxley did and as Hindus do, in the subjective nature of “Ultimate Reality.” Therefore all paths are true simply because God is defined as absolutely existence, consciousness, and bliss, both transcendent and immanent, in

its ultimate nature impersonal and always changeless. Cox acknowledges this Hindu view and perfectly captures some idea of unitary truth when he says, “For the Hindu. . .change usually means decline from a more perfect state and is largely illusory in any case. God never changes, we do. (Cox, Many Mansions, p. 67). This position sways the imagination not the intellect.

 

(2) We must transcend the Flawed Particulars and Historical Details. Cox believes in balancing the “particulars” of faiths with the “universal” within all faiths. Cox is enamored by the delights of paradox, and is thus caught in a whirlpool of spiritual subjectivism as he searches for a “crazy wisdom”; “the ultimate union of what appears to be opposites.” (Cox, Many Mansions, p. 67). By contrast, Hans Kung, Huston Smith and the scholars of The Jesus Seminar seem to recognize that the particular will inevitably clash. This group of scholars to transcend the historical particulars, and discount as fabrication the historical details. In one way or another, they must confirm “the truth” of their “universalism” and “ecumenism.” Kung strives to move in both directions--inward, for the domain of the acumen between the Churches, any among Christians outward, for the domain of world acumen outdid the Church [and] Christianity. . .. “ Kung says, “This kind of ecumenism corresponds to the transcultural on the universalist aspect of the paradigm analysis in theology and other fields.” *Kung, Theology for the Third Millennium (pp. 181, 204, esp. 176).

 

He encounters Christianity and World Religions on the same level of equal rights. Truth is not part of the discussion! (“to listen to learn from the other religions.” (Kung, ibid., p. 176) Kung’s “universalism” does not generate disillusionment as yet with the roman Catholic Church, especially after Vatican II.

 

Smith’s universalism is expressed in his despising the “scandal of particularity.” He argues that a loving God would not leave the vast majority of humanity for thousands of years to stagnate without hope. He claims that such a “faith” is too monstrous to tolerate. God could not act in such a manner! Smith claims, “We can only conclude from Kung’s position that he conceives of God as a being who favors universals over particulars. The sooner religions unite, discovering unity in diversity within the transcendental g round of all beings, the better off humanity will be, for only then will men truly understand the “mercy and goodness” of the one true, impartial God (i.e., this is pure pantheism and naturalistic process philosophy).

 

These three sages of postmodern irrationalism simply resort to self contradiction. They handle the truth in such a way, as Mortimer Adler puts it, “That all religions are true and on the other hand, that for a person of any one religious faith, there is only one true religion, his own.” Such a view relativizes spiritual and propositional truth, according to Adler, “Hans Kung’s book is no better than Cox’s with respect to the logic of truth.” (Mortimer Adler, Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religion and The Unity of Truth (NY: Macmillan, 1990, p. 81).

 

The members of the Jesus Seminar (1985) are the most radically opposed to the particulars of Christianity (e.g., Robert W. Fink, J.D. Crossan, M. Borg are “Christians”--see media coverage in TIMES and Newsweek, Life, U.S.News and World Report, radio and television talk shows, mini series, The Life and Times of Jesus (see G.H. Boyd, Jesus Under Fire (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1995, pp. 9-11).

 

Funk expresses the radical agenda of The Jesus Seminar-”We want to liberate Jesus. The only Jesus most people know is the mythic one. They don’t want the real Jesus, they want the one they can worship, the cultic Jesus.” (Marcus Borg, Jesus in Contemporary Scholarship (Valley Forge , PA: Trinity Press, 1994, p. 162; and especially M. J. Watkins and J.P. Morehead, “Introduction: The Fervor Surrounding Jesus” in Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents The Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995, p. 2); also “Search For The Wrong Jesus” and “Search For The Historical Jesus” by J.D. Strauss in LCC/S Library)

 

After voting on the 1,500 sayings of Jesus in The Gospels, using colored beads ranging from red for authentic to black for inauthentic, they concluded that only 82% of words ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels were not spoken by Him. (R. Funk And R.W. Hoover, The Jesus Seminar: The Five Gospels” What Did Jesus Really Say? (NY: Macmillian, 1993, p. 5). Crossen claims that Jesus was less interested in ushering in the Kingdom of God than in challenging “political normalcies of power and privilege, hierarchy and oppression, debt and foreclosure. . .imperial exploitation and colonial collaboration.” (David V. Biema, “The Gospel Truth,” TIME, April 1996, p. 3). Jesus was a pre-Marxist revolutionary, whose primary message was simple, “Caesar sucks.” Marcus Borg holds that “the image of the historical Jesus as a divine or semi divine figure, who saw himself as the divine savior whose purpose was to die for the sins of the world. . .is simply not historically true.” (Cited in L.T. Johnson’s The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and The Truth of The Traditional Gospels (Harper and Collum, 1996, p. 40)

 

If we believe the scholars of The Jesus Seminar, Jesus was simply a warm fuzzy sage who mainly preached love and compassion, at one and the same time a politically radical Liberation Theologian and a tolerant universalist expressed in the tomes of postmodern theologians of the “new paradigm.” Our postmodern examination of non-Christian religion stands or falls on who Jesus was and is! World religions have no place for Jesus, including Islam (see my paper “Reference to Jesus in The Koran’ in the LCC/S Library). Jesus is not God Incarnate, the Creator/Savior of the world in the Koran nor any world religions)

 

Postmodern discussions regarding Christianity’s relationship to the world belief/behavior system all disregard the claims of Jesus in the Historical Gospels and present Him as a guru, wise man, a preacher of love, peace, harmony for our fragmented world culture. We must embrace the Cosmic Christ (of Cox) in all creation (cf. Ecumenical Universalism). Then we encounter a third factor in postmodern ecumenical discussions, i.e., the pantheistic “Cosmic Christ.”

 

With the historical Jesus in academic disarray, we are set for the “mystical revision and reductionism of Matthew Fox and Huston Smith. The last refuge of the ecumenical universalist as Aldous Huxley illustrated in his Perennial Philosophy, is mysticism. In order to make Jesus palatable to global missions, postmodern theologians, “culture designers” must make him transcend particularity and history and evaporate into universality and mysticism. He thus becomes a universal, unifying personification of omnipresent Love, capable of satisfying every taste in the theological cafeteria and offending no one.

 

Matthew Fox, in his work, The Coming of The Cosmic Christ, proceeds from where the Jesus Seminar leaves off, catapulting us into a cosmic vision of Jesus as a kind of generic pantheistic Presence (e.g., Darth Vader--”The Force”). Fox, a former Dominican and now an Episcopalian priest who directs the Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College, also subscribes to “a paradigm shift in theology and religion itself. . . .” He knows that such a shift, although necessary, won’t be easy-- “to move from a ‘personal savior’ Christianity which is what a anthropocentric and antimystical Christianity gives us--to a cosmic Christ. Christianity calls, says Fox, “for metanoia, a change in perspective. . . .” He longs for a new symbolism “the appropriate symbol of The Cosmic Christ. . . is that of Jesus as Mother Earth crucified yet rising daily.” He sees the Cosmic Christ as the I AM in every creature.” Fox’s Cosmic Christ is the great unifier, the great underground river that unites all traditions, as though they were so many wells, “Buddhist wells, native American wells, and Christian wells, Islamic wells and Judaic wells.” He speaks of Jesus as “a perfect bridge” of mysticism. Fox realizes that this Christ who pervades every object, person and tradition, including goddess religions, can only be grasped generically and egocentrically. “Christ,” he admits, “is a generic name. In that sense we are all Christs.” (Matthew Fox, The Coming Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and The Birth of A Global Renaissance (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1988, pp. 79, 145, 154, 230-231, 235.)

 

Fox, Smith, et.al., must characterize the truth as a mystical, generic and universal Moses, Isaiah, Christ, Paul, Buddha as well as Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Kepler, Einstein, Crick, Monad, Adler. All tell us the same thing about the universe--What? “They tell us of depth upon depth of value falling away from this visible world. . . . They tell us that this universe in all its vastness is permeated to its very core by love.” (Smith, Beyond the Postmodern Mind , pp. 64, 191, 261), If love units everything, then why can’t we always perceive love behind and within our “differences?” What is wrong with mankind? The Universalists and Ecumenists believe we can achieve world peace if only we will learn to practice universal, unconditional, nonjudgmental tolerance and love! It would seem that relativists, proponents of diversity and determinists, opponents of free will, would balk at such an agenda. Yet the universalists and ecumenists of one shared goal and two shared beliefs, they all seek global peace and unity, of the classless, genderless, nonsectarian variety. They believe in the “fact” of evolution, whether of humanity, consciousness, or social systems, and in the essential role of education or “cultural design” in securing a bright future for mankind, as Fox declares it, “Reduction is greatly needed during the era of a paradigm shift. It will require different roles of different persons--indeed, it may require an entirely different kind of person.” (Fox, The Coming Cosmic Christ, p. 80) This is a mega idea fused into the agenda of postmodern cultural engineers.

 

Perhaps this brief trek into the postmodern cultural maze will enable us to glimpse into three effects now taking visible cultural form: (1) the Birth of a One World Generic Natural Religion. (2) The Demise of Evangelicalism. And (3) the Stage Set for The Anti Christ (read my study of Ephesians 6--”Principalities and Powers” --evil requires a personal foundation for explaining evil, just as much as good requires a personal God).

 

Fox’s mysticism can achieve “deep ecumenism,” the unleashing of the power of wisdom from all the world’s religious traditions. Without such global ecumenism he asserts, “there will never be global peace or justice. . . .” He reiterates his point by declaring that the Second Vatican Council (Compare this Vatican document with the fifty pages of “The Document in Response to New Age Pantheism”) In Fox’s world view, we are “all Christs” (ibid., 79, 145, 154, 230-231, 235)

 

The pantheistic world of Cox, et.al. is permeated with “love.” What? Again, if the world is united by love, what is wrong with mankind? Only Cox’s pantheism can “re educate” our global village. This narcissistic illusion is totally irrational. How can the interreligious dialogue change the world of growing globalization? The postmodern, multicultural “macro ecumenism” opening “the ecumenical movement to other religions and cultural traditions beyond the Christian community.” The new gospel calls for a healing of humanity and creation and work “for justice, peace, and integrity of creation” throughout the world, especially “insisting on justice and full participation for women in the Church and the world.” They want “to arrive at man’s understanding of reality” and to embody unity so that “the world may believe,” but they never say what they want the world to believe regarding Jesus Christ (The World Council of Churches, Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of The World Council of Churches: A Policy Statement, http:/www.wcc.coe.org/ciw/index.html, September 1997, 3-13. The WCC;’s home page is http:www.wcc-coe-org.

 

The agenda of the WCC sounds leftist, feminist, socialist, and value enough to satisfy the exuberance of universalists of any type. Not only does the WCC support the above agenda, but the United Nations has its “cultural designers” (see esp. Peter Jones, The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1992).

 

Robert Muller, assistant secretary general to the United Nations and author of the New Age Book, New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality, is a key voice among political VIPs of the New Age Movement. The United Nations, according to Muller, is “a key catalyzer of globalism.” It’s Muller, in fact, who declares in his book, (op.cit.) “The next stage will be our entry into a moral global age--the global age of love and a global spiritual age. . . . We are now moving fast towards the fulfillment of the visions of the great prophets who. . .saw the world as one unit. . . .” (Ibid., p. 75) This pantheistic message has been around American audiences since at least 1989 in Chicago when Swami Vivekananda spoke on behalf of Vedarta (e.g., more recently The Gaia Mind Project. Gaia is the goddess, unitary consciousness of a personified earth. See WCC home page under other resources and their religions of the World in the search engines of Yahoo, e.g., such topics as “Events, Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals and Theosophy--Gaia Mind site. These groups are unified by commitment to “global peace and unity.”

 

Fox’s different kind of a person is already developing. This same message is heralded by Mary Daly, an escapee from the nunnery to become a tenured professor of theology at the Jesuit Boston College, denounces the Christian faith and “describes herself as an eco-feminist lesbian witch.” Other radical feminist movements have bordered on lesbian pornography. James M. Robinson, a Jesus Seminar scholar and former president of the Society of Biblical Literature, urged “fellow Bible scholars to deconstruct their discipline in order to “lay bare [its] . . .biblicist presuppositions.” The postmodern gospel of Robinson was heard in 1995 at the annual conference of “The Society of Biblical Literature” exposes “leading New Testament scholars rejoiced that the heretical Gnostic Gospel of Thomas had finally made it into the club, and that now we could disband the club”--namely “the New Testament Canon of Holy Scripture.” (Peter Jones, “Apostasy in American: An Overview of Warning Signs in Our Time,” SCP Journal, 20, 3-4, 1996; and “Jesus and The Den of Thieves,” Part I, 14-23. This pagan insurgence of this classical pantheistic heresy into the Church leaves many with the impression that the Faith is so anemic that it is open to “new Paradigms.” This new invasion is credentialed by George Barna--he points out, although 93 percent of adults say they believe in God, when asked to define God, they describe a God different from the one depicted in the Bible. Fifty-three percent believe that “all people pray to the same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being.” Most people believe that “good people will earn a place - a mansion, I suppose, in heaven.” (George Barna, The Index of Leading Spiritual Indicator, pp. 18, 23, 75)

 

This postmodern maze is attempting to strip Christ of His uniqueness, as God (Creator) incarnate in Jesus Christ by the generic natural religions. The exponents of natural religion have always held-from the Greeks to The Hindus--from Rousseau to Huxley, that one may reach God, union with the inner divinity by means of self-efforts. By mystical intuition man can find that one true God within. This is a clear contradiction with the Biblical Gospel. Natural religion (a’la’ Kant’s Religion Within Reason Alone) always advocates the broad path and way of self-effort. Huston Smith emphatically declares this anti biblical message by referring to Aldous Huxley’s belief that Ultimate Reality, the ground of being, is only apprehended “clearly and immediately” by those who have made themselves loving, pure in heart and poor in spirit. Smith adds, “Perhaps such purity of heart is the indispensable instrument for disclosing the key perceptions on which religious incredible assumption is grounded.” (Huston Smith, Beyond The Postmodern Mind , p. 262).

 

In the song of postmodernism we hear the repeated harmony line--”zeal, dogmatism and idealism exist only because we are forever committing intellectual sins. We sin by attributing . . . significance to meaningless pseudo knowledge. . . .” (A. Huxley, Collected Essays (NY: Harper, 1958, p. 380; The postmodern gospel in The Jesus Story is a myth from R. Bultman to Joseph Campbell, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor As Myth and As Religion (NY: Harper/Collins, 1988). Postmodern encouragement of “tolerance of divergent views” is an effort to enable thousands of “unchurched Harrys” to hear of and talk about Jesus. Such twisted logic can only lead to the total demise of evangelism and missions in any biblical sense. (“United Church Leaders’ View of Jesus,” The Toronto Star, Nov. 15, 1997, A2).

 

“The challenge of globalization and the search for an international order of justice and peace necessitates close contact between the WCC and such organizations.” (WCC, “Toward A Common Understanding” p. 14; French diplomat urges Protestants “to support European Unity” Ecumenical News International, New Highway.) While these claims are widely promulgated in postmodern education and media, they spell the total rejection of the classical Gospel of Christ! This is, of course, the point. The postmodern mind univocally repudiates the unique/exclusivistic claims that “Jesus Only Saves!”

 

Merely quoting Scripture will not be an adequate response to our enormous cultural challenge, but for now, readers beware; see especially I Corinthians 15.14,17--”If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain and empty of meaning.” It becomes merely a myth that one can take or leave it at his own discretion. In fact, sin would be tolerable; only ignorance would be unacceptable. Ignorance of unity in diversity leads to division, separation from ultimate reality and from humanity, disintegration within the human psyche, disease of mind and body. Here we dwell not in the alpine air of classical Christianity, but in the great smog that would blow across the globe as the “Cosmic Christ.” (Read again for the first time Mark 10.34; Luke 12.52; John 14.6).

 

It is true that Jesus said much about love and mercy, but He did not preach a generic nonjudgmental, nondivisive, relativistic faith. “I came to set fire on the earth.” (Lk 12.52) If truth doesn’t divide, it isn’t the truth. The prophets of universalism/ecumenism are enemies of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (we must arm for battle against “Principalities and Powers” in Ephesians).

 

When will the world be as one? (See esp. My essays, “Postmodern Science and Eschatology” “Trying to Make Sense of A Senseless World” and “From Syncretism, Relativism, Pluralism: Challenge of Multicultural Diversity/Tolerance Syndrome) (Note--even the brilliant mind of Mortimer Adler seeks unity founded on the principles of truth in Western mathematics and science (see M.J. Adler, Truth in Religion , pp. 141-142, 156). Our postmodern culture has invited in wolves among the sheep (Matt 7.15; 10.16; John 10.11-18) and we need the good shepherd to guard the flock. Paul speaks of “the men of lawlessness” (I Thess 2); the spirit of the anti Christ in the world (I John 4.3); and to one anti Christ and many anti Christs (I John 2. 18,29; 22; 4.2-3; II John 7). The biblical Jesus stands against postmodern Ecumenists, Universalists like Cox, Kung, Smith, The Jesus Seminar, WCC, and a plethora of New Age sympathizers (The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Falsehood, I John 4.6; II Peter 2.1).

 

What answers do Christian schools, churches, pulpits offer amid this Babble of Paradigms? Christianity does not need to be revived for it remains as true and relevant today as when it was first spoken and inscribed. The voice of the Gospel will always survive the new wineskins. The Gospel of Christ is as true and relevant today as in its origin in Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world (see John 3.16--”God so loved the “the Kosmos” that He gave His only begotten Son” for the total creation, who came not to bring false political peace but “fire on the earth”.) “Where there are no absolute truths,” says G.E. Veith, Jr., “the intellect gives over to the will” (see Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture (Wheaton, IL: Crossways Books, 1994, p. 193).

 

                                         Truth in Christianity and World Religions

 

Every religious tradition has its own beliefs and religious reflection. Perhaps these three questions run through all religious traditions: (1) Within what world view do we stand? (2) What is the origin of suffering and death? (3) How then shall we live or orient ourselves? The unity of each religious tradition, i.e., view of life, lies in the power of the traditions that focus on the transcendent (e.g., God? Or?).   

 

The concept of Truth receives very little attention in our postmodern cafeteria of religious faiths. The place of theology/doctrine does not occupy a similar position in all religions. Most religions operate on a Functionalist ploy, i.e., how does my religious faith allow me to function in my cultural context. It is deeply held in our mystical maze that there is no way in which the deepest truths can be adequately articulated, and that ineffable true insight can only be received when one has morally and meditatively prepared oneself for it; then doctrine will be assigned a different status if it is believed that discriminating insight itself is already beneficial, purely as analytical knowledge. This relativistic notion clearly removes truth from any discussion of commitment to religious systems.

                                                                             

                                               The Concept of Truth in Hinduism

 

The concept of truth in the Hindu tradition is polyvalent, it is a collection of conflicting or contradictory positions. This tradition is the oldest religious tradition in India. Its religious writings is found in Vedas (see esp. R.C. Zachner, London, 1966, p. 14). Zachner asserts the many pantheistic passages are already found in the Upanisads (p. 52). The greatest individual blessing consists in one’s realization and experience of this phenomena, i.e., individual human believings ultimately participate in “The Highest One” This represents the pantheistic world view (e.g., Source Book in Indian Philosophy, ed. S. Radhakaishvan and C.A. Moore (Princeton, 1973, esp. Pp. 350 I; Source Book p. xviii, 101). The six schools of philosophy are discussed in The Source Book. The absolute in Hinduism is the Monistic unity of all things, the world - Brahman - no matter how it is signified as beyond authority, it is inexhaustible. All living beings participate in god’s being, i.e., god dwells in all beings. This sets well in resurgent gnostic New Age Pantheism. (See bibliography at the end of this paper)

 

There are two basic doctrines of Vedic scripture: (1) Insight that the individual self is in effect the Highest Self (Source Book, p. 514) and (2) Insight that the ultimate or genuine reality is non dual Brahman - Being - consciousness and Blessedness (ibid, 512, 525-530). Knowledge of things is available with the aid of the senses. Two of them, connected with hearing and seeing, have the ability to perceive outside the body (Satprakashanauda, p. 53). The self eludes any objectification (Ibid., 537, III. 11.21; also J.F. Staal, Advaita and Neoplatonism: A Central Study in Comparative Philosophy (Madras, 1961, pp. 102ff.). The world of things are not what they appear to be. The many things of appearance are at bottom only Brahman. Therefore, every day experience is illusionary. Sankan is diametrically opposed to all common sense.

 

When is knowledge valid? What are the criteria by which cognition may be tested to sort out what is true? It must be borne in mind that “true knowledge” bears in itself the characteristics of validity (Satprakashanana, pp. 138ff.). The schools of this religion have tried in vain to expose its parallels to Greek philosophy. In Hindu thought earthly reality is no illusion, the cosmos is God’s body. People have a finite self which can know God. This “twoness” in the “oneness” is never overcome by Hindu pantheism. Knowledge of the true self is related naturally to knowledge of God, which can be gleaned from the Vedic scriptures. But this knowledge does not necessarily overcome ignorance. This knowledge is to be obtained in devotion and meditation. Analytical knowledge is not enough, but it is not unimportant.

 

Truth or reality (satya) and knowledge (jnana) are two of the properties of God’s essential nature. The word “knowledge” or awareness (jnana) indicates a state of permanently unconstricted knowledge. People cannot know God’s thoughts for God is pure thought. Brahma is knowledge yet at the same time he is the subject of this knowledge and blessedness. (Hinduism is idealistic pantheism) Absolute knowledge cannot be known discursively. All thinking of humans is contaminated by untruths; yet without language, myths and metaphors, no knowledge could be intersubjectively passed on.

 

A precondition for attaining this knowledge is that one purifies one’s life from all factors which bar self-realization. One must change oneself! Since this phenomena is not available to most people, there must be a series (reincarnations) in order to perfect themselves so that they can be absorbed into the absolute. There is much literature produced to “demonstrate” that this view is congruent with all kinds of other insights which people have reached scientifically. But the Hindu is absolutely inexpressible! All doctrine is untrue, i.e., only an idol. Here the tolerance syndrome enters from East to West in postmodern culture. In this Eastern maze an atheist also recognizes truth. Satya is “set,”--the true is Being. The true, real permeates all that exists. All things are one even though they appear to be many. The Self gives all things their existence.

 

The True, Real is a more inclusive term than the Highest or than God. God is impersonal, omnipotent, omniscient. Every limitation is foreign to the cosmic Darth Vader god. (e.g., rejection of the Incarnation and Inscripturation). The form of communion with the truth is the essence of religion and the cornerstone on which life itself rests (e.g., B. Richards, “Gandhi’s Concept of Truth and The Advata Tradition” Religious Studies 22 (1986):4.14).

 

Classical Hindu thinkers equate Truth with God. Truth as what is real. In all that exists God is the ground of being, the Real. In some Hindu schools Truth is higher than God. There are at least three premises in Hindu thought: (1) The Hindu view of knowledge concerning the Divine is correlated to their view of the nature of divine Reality. (2) The second premise concerns epistemology which is correlated to this ontology. Since the “One” has many aspects, it can be approached in more than one manner: Reality is far too complex to be presented in one theory; (3) The third premise is that one’s faith justifiably agrees with one’s nature; a person is as his faith. Here we encounter the cafeteria of belief systems fused with behavior systems. The pluralism between people necessitate the existence of more than one religious paradigms. So ultimately we are not talking about the same thing when we address Truth and Knowledge! Each paradigm provides its own “autonomous view” of the two aforementioned issues. Therefore, intersubjective, rational communication is impossible (see my essays, “Intersubjective Mode” in the Library at Lincoln Christian College and Seminary; also “All Religions Are Equal and True” in the Journal East and West : 59-72, 1979).

 

                                                  Contradictions and Rationality?

 

Does the contextuality of knowledge make plurality inevitable? At the same time, it makes it difficult to establish precisely where two conceptions impinge on or contradict one another. Scholars illuminate four points of contact: (1) No proposition represents reality as it is itself, because all propositions are made from a specific position. (2) Apparently contradictory propositions are not really contradictory if they are made in terms of different paradigms. (3) A true proposition may be untrue from another perspective. (4) There are many points of view from which one can look at the same matter (see P. Bowes, The Hindu Religious Tradition: A Philosophical Approach (London, 1977, p. 277); Broadly speaking of Hindu views is that all religions are paths to one Reality. The Pluralism of views represents a multiplicity of ways to the truth, not an array of equally valid positions (A. Sharma, op.cit., p. 63). The absolute surpasses all devotion to a personal God in non-dual transcendence, the other denies non duality. This is monastic pantheism! But the relativity of various schools is dissolved because of the “common recognition that reflections about knowledge are serviceable to the aspiration of purifying oneself and the achievement of true insight and liberation.” (See P. Hacker, “Zur Geschichte und Beurterlung der Hinduismus: Kritch einger verboiteterAunsichte” 1964; and his “Religiouse Toleranz und Intoleranz im Hinduismus” (1957) in Hacker’s Kleine Schriften, p. 384) There is conflict within the pluralism of schools regarding the place of “doctrine” in religious traditions (cf. Hacker, op.cit., p. 608).

 

 

                                                     Truth in Buddhist Tradition

 

The history of Buddhism is long and diverse--a classical text is Dharmmapaddia (Path of Truth) which says, “People think wrongly. If someone speaks or acts with wrong thoughts, sorrow follows him as cart wheels follow the legs of the ox which pulls it.” (Source book in Indian Philosophy, eds. S. Radhakarishnan and C.A. Moor, (Princeton, 1973), p. 292ff.). In order to overcome ignorance and attachment, the cause of suffering, one overcomes both of the above factions. Buddhist teaching is summarized in four doctrines: (1) The Noble Truth of suffering; (2) The Noble Truth of the origin of suffering; (3) The Noble Truth of the cessation of suffering; (4) The Noble Truth of the path which leads to the cessation of suffering (D.J. Kalupahana, Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis (Honolulu, 1982, pp. 36ff); P. Griffiths, “Concentration or Insight: The Problematic of Theravada Buddhist Meditation Theory,” Journal of The American Academy of Religion 49 (1981):605-24); Griffiths lists passages where dissolution of perception is reached by meditation which leads to insight and thus to pure awareness, esp. pgs. 610-614). Cognition is thoroughly subjective; therefore intersubjective communication is precluded--this leaves each person in a solipsism.

 

                                                 Conventional and Absolute Truth

 

One encounters the word “truth” as a translation of the word Shamma (Pali) canon or Dharma (Sanskrit). What is then intended is true doctrine. (K.K. Inada, “Some Basic Misconceptions of Buddhism,” International Philosophical Quarterly 9 (1969):102); E. Conze, Buddhist Thought in India (London, 1962); and his Short History, p. 12f; also Sacred Books of Buddhism; M. Siderits, “A Note in The Early Buddhist Theory of Truth,” Philosophy of East and West 24 1979), pgs. 432-437.)

 

The conventional truth is relative (e.g., The Blind Men and The Elephant). The blind men experience a contradiction! The example assumes that reality can be approaches from many sides. Note that their descriptions were all wrong because “someone” knew what an elephant was (is). Buddhism seeks an “open minded,” “non conceptual” experience of mental and sensory reality. Knowledge of the absolute is therefore accompanied by being without attachment (Husserlian Expose’) and liberation from the burden of discriminating cognition (H.V. Guenther, “The Levels of Understanding in Buddhism,” Journal of American Oriental Society, 78 (1958):20-23).

 

Knowledge of the absolute is possible only by non mediated structure. Therefore knowledge is noncognitive, i.e., irrational, and not intersubjectively communicable. In the supra-sensory experience there is no longer any distinction between subject and object. One experiences

“Oneness” - The Absolute.” (T.V.R. Muri, “Samvrti and Paramartha in Madhyamika and Advaita Viedanta” in The Problem of Two Truths in Buddhism and Vedanta, ed. M. Sprung (Dardrect, 1973), pp. 9-27; Commentary on The Distinction Between The Two Truths (Albany, 1987), p. 5. The crucial issue is critical analysis of praxis as a criterion for the evaluation of world views!)

 

Some scholars speak in a very qualified manner of the correspondence between thought (Epistemology) and being (Ontology). Buddhism seeks to attain “absolute truth” not “true doctrine.” This absolute truth is not a theory, but an open minded awareness of reality with which one is at one. Things are no longer objects; the ground of all things is experienced.

 

If Buddhism precludes “True Doctrine”, then what is their attitude toward other faith systems? (1) The Doctrine of Two Truths, which includes the resistance to reification. (2) The idea that every human being must achieve liberation through personal transformation. (3) The idea of rebirth.

 

The doctrine of two truths makes all doctrine a relative matter. All relative truth is an attempt to point out another perspective on reality. Dharma is not a doctrinal whole which must be maintained to the expulsion of all other faith systems. All doctrine and theology are merely relatively true and many religious groups are not aware of this relativity.

 

Since doctrine is relative, the emphasis on personal transformation thus plays an important role. Compassion is the word by which this benevolent disposition towards others is designated. Even if one has partially realized detachment and non-ego implies that there is no longer a self to be proud of or an esteem as more important than others. What matters in Buddhism is kindness, clarity and insight (see lectures of the 14th Dali Lama--Kindness, Clarity and Insight (Ithaca, 1985); M. Paliharoau-dana, “A Buddhist Response: Religion Beyond Ideology and Power” in Christian Faith in A Religiously Plural World, ed. D.G. Dawe and J.B. Carman, Maryknoll Press, 1978), p. 39ff.)

 

Even the search for the higher level of knowledge must be transcended but the truth is apparently also at stake at this level of relative truth. (Even the claim of relative truth cannot escape Truth Claims ). All forms of Buddhist pantheism reject the Judaeo/Christian doctrine of God--as ultimately inadequate. (Even the use of Meister Eckardt’s Theologia Negativia cannot add to or cross the impasse between the Judaeo/Christian God and non Christian religions articulations about ultimate reality) Abe Masio, ”Man and Nature - Christianity and Buddhism,” Japanese Religion, 7, no. 1 (1971):7ff.) In non Christian religious pantheism, God’s personality lies in the trans personality of transcendence (note the Zen Buddhist invasion into America in the 1960s). (T. Vetter, Der Buddha und seine Lehre in Dharmakiris Pramanavartka (Vienna, 1984, p. 15 - Introduction and German translation) Since Truth has nothing to do with language, it has nothing to do with true doctrine, tradition or any theological system according to - - -

 

                                          Truth in Judaeo/Christian Faith Systems

 

Perhaps the best short study source for the biblical concept of truth is G. Quell, “aletheia” in TWNT, I (Stuggart, 1933; esp. Pp. 233-237). There is an enormous Jewish literature beyond the Old Testament scriptures, e.g., the Midrash, the Talmud, and Classical Rabbinic literature, Maimonides and two modern Jewish thinkers, Heschel and Fackenheim..

 

Faith is thus a faithful life in obedience to God’s commandments and prohibitons. The major substantial beliefs are the belief in the oneness of God. The election of Israel and the gift of the Torah, the resurrection of the dead and the coming of The Messiah (see esp. J. Katz,

Exclusiveness and Tolerance (1T61; rpt Westpoint, CT, 1980); E.E. Urbach, The Sages: Their , Cncepts and Beliefs (tr. I Abraham (Jerusalem, 1970); M. Kadiashin, The Rabbinic Mind (NY, 1972); E.J. Kipman, The Mishnah: Oral Traditions of Judaism selected and translated: Major Concepts in The Talmud (1909, reprint NY, 1961); E. Schweid, “The Rejection of The Disapora in Zionist Thought: Two Approaches,” .Studies in Zionism 5 (1984); S. Schecter, Aspects of Rabbinic Theology: Major Concepts in The Talmud (1909, reprint NY 1961).

 

                                                 Truth (O.T. emet/ N.T. alistheia)

(See Kittel TWNT, vol. I, Ger. Pp. 233-237)  

 

The biblical view of truth is not only thought or said, but it is done, as is apparent from the expression “doing the truth.” The Hebrew concept of truth applies in the first place to the life which people lead, the life of the Jewish people within the covenant with God, empowered by His Promises. There is no Hebrew word for promise, it is the term davar or word. The Old Testament view of word expresses two factions: (1) Creative and (2) Revelatory (e.g., why “Blessings” could not be revoked even though deception was practiced (Genesis 27, Jacob, Essau and Rebecca). (The Old Testament use of emeth is much broader than modern/postmodern scientific use of truth) The term is used of permanence, genuineness, truthfulness (Jeremiah 10.10 - Jahweh is the truthful God) justice, righteousness (Zechariah 7.9 renders tense judgements) of certain words of people (Deut. 13.14, “and behold, if it be true and certain), as truth revealed by God or the true religion (Daniel 11.2) as reality (Jeremiah 28.9, “that Jahweh has truly sent him” “and now I will show you the truth”)..        

 

Emet never refers to an abstract theory which is true apart from concrete life. Emett always applied to live reality. Does this view present a disparity with the Greek concept of truth as knowledge corresponding to reality? A philological construct of a concept of truth from emet to aletheia does not exhaust the nature and significance of truth. Mere philological description of etymologies does not necessarily expose the polyvalence of a community of users (Just compare word meanings in the Oxford English Dictionary which contains multiple meaning of the same word. Still true communication is carried on. If a word had to be changed or a new one created the world’s high speed computer would be replaced for daily conversation, let alone technical discussion of science. (Compare the Greek translation of the Masoretic text. The N.T. text often quotes from the Septuagint, not the Hebrew text and the postmodern translators for specific audiences (in light of postmodern deconstructionism, i.e., there is no inherent meaning in any text, the reader/audience will construct the meaning, .e.g., Fish, Lyotard, Eco, Bernstein, Adler).

 

Biblical doctrine/theology does not stand free of life but is tied up with it in a non mediated way. That is the source of expressions such as doing the truth. This differs with the truth of propositions not in that what is said is untrue, but in that what is said is not separated from the action of men among His people, in relationship to God. There can never be mere reduction of doctrine; it always fuses “true doctrine” and “true living.” Just compare with the classic texts in which the verb aman, from which emet is derived, occurs in two senses: (1) If you will not believe (taomina (Isaiah 7.9) surely you shall not be established (teamena). This establishing occurs in life itself, it is not legitimation of an abstract theory. Often it is claimed that there is no doctrine in Rabbinic literature. But there is always reflection concerning conflicting conceptions (see esp. J. Guttmann, Philosophies of Judaism (E.T. trans NY: Max Kadushim, 1973, pp. 176-202f); The Rabbinic Mind (NY: 1972):347ff; sec 3.2).

The nature of doctrine has been analyzed profoundly of Max Kahushin. (Rabbinic Mind and Organic Thinking (NY: 1938, pp. 50, 68) He distinguishes between “value concepts” and “cognitive concepts” which aid people in describing and knowing things. Disciminating thought must be as accurate as possible. “Value concepts” integrate experience in a comprehensive situation. One cannot start from piece meal experience and arrive at an understanding of the whole. Kahushin calls “cognitive concepts” indeterminate. (Op.cit., pp. 131ff.) This issue is probably why the Rabbinic traditions are not a uniform whole (e.g., many conflicting opinions of the Rabbis are transmitted in The Talmud). There is a large measure of opinion gathering expressed in the haggadah tradition.

 

The Kittel article on truth declares that the Rabbis’ concept of truth does not diverge from the “biblical conception of truth.” (R. Kittel, “emet in rabbinschen Judaism” see “aletheia” in TWNT, I, p. 247ff.) Moses ben Maimon (1135-1204) is the most influential medieval Jewish thinker. His works include Mishneh Torah, the classical systematic recapitulation of Jewish law. In it he gives a summary of the articles of faith. This summary is regarded as a deviation from the rabbinic tradition because the cognitive aspect of faith receives a different position then it had up to that point in Jewish tradition (see J. Guttmann, Philosophies of Judaism (1964) trans from German reprint NY 1973, p. 203); M. Mainonides, The Guide to The Perplexed (reprint NY, 1956). He sums up four things which prevent people from discovering the exact truth: (1) arrogance, (2) the depth and difficulty of a subject; 93) incompetence, inability to understand, and (4) prejudice and habituation to misrepresentations (Maimonides, op.cit., p. 41).Real knowledge of God is obtained by reflecting on what man can know by reason and from scripture about God. Maimonides often fuses Aristotlean and neoPlatonic elements, not entirely without tension. (Guttmann, pp. 197ff.)

 

Heschel and Fackenheim are two modern Jewish thinkers--one (Heschel) is one of the most influential thinkers in American Judaism, and greatly influenced by Chassidian. Fackenheim ascribes to the significance of Jewishness and couples the Jewish religion as “being true” to a secular Jewishness. Both of these scholars oppose religion. Merely a product of the human mind, which explains all religions symbolically. Both scholars affirm that Judaism molds certain facts to be true. Logical ways of reasoning is an after thought, following Freudian theory of projection, i.e., rationalizing behavior after the event has occurred. (J. Heschel, Man Is Not Alone, pp. 84ff; and God In Search, p. 330). The ultimate results of these two intellectual giants is that faith is tradition! Man cannot demote the ineffable in words, but God Himself can reveal to people what he wants them to know.

 

Doctrine and tradition play less a part in Judaism, according to Heschel and Fakenheim, than the experience of faith itself (whatever is that?). Though both hold certain facts to be true Heschel speaks of the verities of Judaism in God in Search, pgs. 339, 349), From the time of Diaspora to the concentration camps of World War II Judaism was not to protect True Truth but to protect Jewish beliefs, i.e., their Jewishness. The claim that The Church is the True Israel generates enormous hostility! The history of the people of God fused with doctrinal tradition is not seen as a systematic whole.

 

                                         The Concept of Truth in Islamic Tradition

 

The Islamic faith derives from the loins of Abraham, the word Islam means subjection of someone or of a person to God; the Arabic word is often translated as “religious surrender” (W.M. Watt, Bells Introduction to The Quran (rev. edition, Edinburgh, 1970, p. 119); H.A.R. Gibb, Mohammedanism, A History Survey (London, 1961), L. Gardet, “Islam” in Encyclopedia of Islam (Leiden, 1960), IV Leiden 1978), pp. 171ff.)

 

This is the core of the Islamic faith. In relationship to Allah only obedience and subjection is proper. If one worships Allah and does what he has charged, then one can live in trust of Him, having peace with Allah and man. What is written in The Koran (Quran) is literally the Word of God. If one believes and obeys the commands of the Koran, one will survive the judgment on the Last Day and be admitted to Paradise. The Koran was given literally to Mohammed, the Arab language is a crucial matter. All translations are inferior to Arabic.

 

The five pillars of Islam are: (1) Faith (iman), (2) Prayer (salat), (3) Alms (Zekat) necessity to give alms; (4) Fasting (Ramadan) one must fast once a year during the month of Ramadan; (5) Pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca once in your lifetime, built around the Kaba in Mecca built by Abraham and Ishmael. These obligations are essential, especially in Muslim countries (for traditions concerning attitudes towards Christians and Jews, see Watt, p. 86ff.)

 

As a revealed religion, Islam insists on the correct knowledge of Allah. Knowledge of Allah occupies a prominent position. The faith in God which religious commitment implies and which comes to expression in one’s conduct is of central importance to the entire Islamic tradition (see esp. L. Bardet, Dieu et la Destinee de l’homme (Paris, 1967, pp. 361-372) and his article mentioned above) Knowledge is explicated in the Koran as a guidance and a mercy unto people who believe (L. Gardet, pp. 395, 406). The revelation qualifies the nature of knowledge. The only knowledge which really matters is the knowledge of Allah - knowledge in religious commitment and the knowledge of Allah’s will. The Koran never speaks of knowledge about Allah, according to Rosenthal in his book, Knowledge Triumphant: The Concept of Knowledge in Medieval Islam (Leiden, 1970, p. 134); see attitudes toward other religions in a book by A. Khoury, Tolerance in Islam (Munich, 1982, p. 17). But the Islam faith requires total commitment to life. The hard posture toward non Muslims became the foundation of later legislation (see the crucial material in Khoury, op.cit., p. 24 esp. 29ff, 45, 525, 775)

 

It is remarkable that the word haqq can apply both to the truth as well as to reality. True knowledge is the true nature of reality. The central question of truth still is the crucial issue, even in post modern context of rejecting truth altogether. All belief systems can organize the life of the believing community without ever asking about the truth or validity of the pluralism to belief systems. That people believe alternative legitimization structures is without question true, but the truth of the content of our pluralism of truth system is not self evident. Truth must have explanatory and predictive power for attaining new knowledge, else we accept an irrational solipsism of belief being true because we believe it. This is fideism, i.e., faith is justified because someone believes in life organizing systems of belief. It is hard to believe that all belief systems can produce medicine, build missiles, and aircraft, computers, technology, etc.. Even in our study of Truth systems, it is highly rational to believe that some systems can and cannot produce new knowledge, the knowledge necessary to “explain our highly complex postmodern culture of 2003. There are, of course, “multi-centered” belief systems, but are the scientific revelations of Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Plank/Heisenberg, Crick/Monad, computer technology, etc., nothing more than Western creations of reality or do they represent the decoding power (vs. Encoding) of scientific knowledge? Is the truth of Religion different from the Truth claims of science? Or do we live in a maze of a pluralism of often mutually exclusive Truth claims? Here lied the foundation of multicultural pluralism!

 

(Compare Hendrik N. Vroom, Religions and Truth (Eerdmans (E.T.) 1989) and George Orwell, , 1984, e.g. The Ministry of Truth,Newspeak--War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength.) The Principles of Newspeak, is the official language of Oceana and has been devised to meet the ideological needs in English Socialism. A vocabulary consists of words needed for business of everyday life. These grammars have two outstanding pecularities. The first is an almost complete interchange ability between different parts of speech. The word thought does not exist in Newspeak.

 

In words applied in principle to every word, the language could be negated by adding the affix un, or could be strengthened by the affix plus, or for greater emphasis, doubleplus. For example, uncold meant warm, while plus cold and doubleplus cold meant “very cold” or “super cold.” Almost any word could change meaning by prepositional affixes such as ante, post, up, down, etc. Postmodern speak changes “views” to “voices” or vocalities,” or multi vacalaities. Add an adjective like intertextual and you are covered. We should listen to intertextual, multivocalities or post colonial others outside of Western culture if we are to learn about phallogocentric biases that mediate our identities. Now you are talking postmodern cultural and epistemological relativism. The postmodern lexicon emphasizes prefixes (phonemes) such as post, pre, de, dis, isms, itis, endings, iality, ating, ibility, tricity. The linguistic signals reveal expressive adjectives or schools of thought, egs. Barthe, Foucault, Derrida. Genderess, Afrocentricism, Eurocentricism, nonjudgmentalism, logocentricism, etc..

 

This postmodern lexicon is a revision of the lexicon of Newspeak, e.g., (Orwell, 1984) War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. Any culture that rejects Truth, Objectivity, Language, Logic, or History is on a cultural decline into chaos and narcissism. (See my essay, “The Demise of Language” in the LCC/S Library). (Note the following two appendices on Truth claims in the Old and New Testament Scriptures.)

                                                                             

                                                           Important references:

 

Classical:

F.F. Moore, History of World Religions (Edinburgh: T.& T. Clark.

Emil Schurer, A History of The Jewish People in The Time of Christ (4 vols.) NY: Scribner

Peter Richard, Israel in The Apostolic Church (Cambridge University Press, 1969).

Joseph Klausner, The Messianic Idea in Israel (London: Allen and Unwin, 1956).

Jakok Jocq, The Jewish People and Jesus Christ (SPCK, 1962)

Yeves Congar, The Mystery of The Temple ((London: Burns and Oates, E.T. 1962)

James Strauss, “Paul’s Missionary Mandate: Romans 9-11" and all of Edersheim’s Works.

 

Religious

R.C. Zaehner, The Bhagavad-Gitva (Oxford University Press, 1999); translation and commentary    and topical discussion)

John Powkes, Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Oxford 1999)

M. Eliade, ed., The Encyclopedia of Religion (16 volumes, 8 books - NY: Simon and Schuster,         Macmillian, 1986, 1995.

J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann, editors., Encyclopedia of World Religions, 2002

JB Nos, A History of The World Religions, new edition, revised (NY: Macmillian 2003)

R.E. Van Voorst, Anthology of World Religious Scriptures (Th edition Wadworth, 2003. Note    all discussion of world religion, scriptural writings and bibliography of basic religious           books and annotated bibliography on world religions in LCC/S Library, pp. 1-13)

 

Islam

J.A. Arbury, Sufism: An Account of Mystics of Islam - excellent, 2001.

A.M. Youseef Chorecire, Islamic Fundamentalism (2nd edition, revised 1997).

J.L. Exposito, Islam: The Straight Path (3rd edition, Oxford 1998, excellent); also The Oxford             Encyclopedia of Modern Islamic World (Oxford University Pres, 2001).

Z. Hoque, Translation and Commentary on The Holy Quran (Holy Quran Pub. Project, 2000)

W.M. Watt, The Formative Years of Islamic Thought (1998) excellent, advanced work.

J.D. Woodberry, editor, Muslims and Christians on The Emmaus Road (Monrovia, CA: Marc, 1989)

James Strauss, “Christian Witness in The Territory of Terrorism”:”Jesus in The Quran” “Resurgent Non Christian Religions (Islam)” in the LCC/S Library

 

Jewish

Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel (2 vols, 1965)

J.H. Walton, Ancient Israelite Literature In Its Cultural Context: Survey of Parables Between          Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Zondervan, 1989).

 

Dr. James Strauss, Professor Emeritus

Lincoln Christian Seminary, Lincoln, IL