Religious Pluralism and the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ
And, of course, the writers whom I am criticizing would reply: "Yes indeed, but God has revealed God's self in many ways. Therefore, there are many gospels and many missions." I do indeed believe and am firmly convinced that there is no human being in whose mind and conscience there is not some whisper of God's word, and I have known many non-Christians who have a deep and often radiant sense of the presence of God. But I also know that many evil and horrible things are done in the name of religion and in the name of God. Does a claim to have a mission from God exempt the one who makes it from critical questioning? And if there are to be questions, where do we find the criteria? Diana Eck, moderator of the WCC's Dialogue Unit, is severely critical of Hendrik Kraemer because he presumed to discuss the question of whether and how God reveals the divine to a Muslim; for the answer to that question, she says, we must go to the
M uslim (IRM, p. 382). But does that apply to all those who claim to have a mission from God? Hitler, for one, was certain that he had a mission from God; do we take his word for it? If not, on what grounds do we deny his testimony? When Christians do evil things in the name of God, as they do, we can confront them with the figure of Christ in the Gospels and require them to measure their actions and motives against that given reality. But if it is denied that there is any such divinely given standard available to us as a part of our human history, what grounds are there for passing a judgment that is more than ad hominem?
This is not a merely rhetorical question. In The Myth of Christian Uniqueness one writer faces up to it. Langdon Gilkey asks the question: How, in a pluralist world, do we respond to a phenomenon like Hitler? His answer is interesting. He says that for such