Hick´s Hypothesis About Religions

1401 WordsJun 22, 20186 Pages
Imagine that three people are all touching a part of an elephant. The first is touching the elephant's leg and says that the elephant is like the truck of a tree. The second is touching the elephant's trunk and disagrees with the first, saying that the elephant is like a large snake. The third person is touching the elephant’s side and says that the elephant is like a great wall. Each person is convinced that they are right and the others are wrong because of what they know and have experienced. What they don’t realize is that they are all technically right because they are each describing a different aspect of the elephant. The same analogy can be applied to the major religions of the world. In 1973, John Hick discussed the idea for a…show more content…
Hick devotes an entire chapter in An Interpretation of Religion to discussing them, noting three levels on which religious traditions disagree: (1) matters of historical fact, (2) matters of trans-historical fact, and (3) differing conceptions of the Real. Hick claims that these disagreements can be resolved by applying the historical method but it proves to be difficult. One reason is because many historical claims have no independent historical support outside the religion that makes the claim. Hick reasons that historical differences just must be accepted, especially when they are not over central articles of faith. Hick’s basic argument is that most historical disagreements cannot be resolved and since many of these disagreements are not related to the essence of any religion, concludes that resolving them is not critical and ultimately they do not create a problem for his pluralistic hypothesis. Later in is his book, Hick considers conflicting trans-historical truth-claims. He defines them as having to do with questions to which there is, in principle, a true answer but which cannot be established by historical or other empirical evidence. Two examples are the nature of the universe and the fate of human beings at death. The nature of the universe, as Hick claims, has primarily been a dispute between theistic and non-theistic religions. This is a dispute to which there is, in principle, one valid answer. However, the question cannot
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