13. Finding the Right Questions about Religious Diversity: What Buddhist Could Contribute to Discussions of Religious Diversity

Buddhist Responses to Religious Diversity - Theravāda and Tibetan Perspectives - Douglas Duckworth

Rita Gross [+-]
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Rita M. Gross was Professor Emerita of Comparative Studies of Religion at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. A past president of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies, she has participated in many forums for interreligious exchange. Gross is the author of many books and articles. Her major works include Buddhism after Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism (1993).

Description

This chapter argues that all current theologies of religion share the presupposition that differences among religions are a problem, even a mistake, and that unity or agreement would be preferable to difference and religious diversity. But theologians of religion need to start at the other end of the puzzle, conceding from the get-go that religious diversity is here to stay, is inevitable, normal, natural, and, therefore, not the major problem or issue. The important questions are not about them, the others who are different from us, but about us. Why do we dislike diversity so much? Why does it make us so uncomfortable? Why does difference so frequently elicit the response of ranking the different options hierarchically? And, most important of all, how can we cure our own discomfort with diversity? The chapter also suggests that we need to practice the spiritual disciplines that help us overcome our egocentric preferences for a world in which everyone else would be just like us and can, instead, live comfortable in a world that accommodates vast differences.

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Citation

Gross, Rita. 13. Finding the Right Questions about Religious Diversity: What Buddhist Could Contribute to Discussions of Religious Diversity. Buddhist Responses to Religious Diversity - Theravāda and Tibetan Perspectives. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jul 2020. ISBN 9781781799055. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38399. Date accessed: 18 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38399. Jul 2020

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