A view of Christianity as the dominant western religion and its effects on society's perceptions of other religions

Essay by bwagner4B, February 2008

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Its place among the world religions, pluralism, and dialogue

Historically, Christianity has been seen as the frontrunner of all the World's religions. It has been seen as the most popular of all the religions. Christians believed strongly that their path was the one and only true path to find god. However, with recent dialogue between Christianity and other major World religions, many Christian followers have seen that there are many ways to reach a religious plateau. Christians now have an understanding that they are not alone in the quest to find god. Christianity itself has joined other major religions in religious pluralism.

Religious pluralism in its most basic form truly means multiple or many religions. When applying this to Christianity it means that the religion itself can learn from other religions. One reason that this idea of religious pluralism is so prevalent today, according to Paul Knitter, is because "today we in the west know more about other religions than ever before."

Because there is this knowledge of other religions, one can draw many similarities between them.

In drawing such similarities between religions one can see that there is an inert oneness or sameness between all religions. Knitter defines religious dialogue as "the exchange of experience and understanding between two or more partners with the intention that all partners grow in experience and understanding." According to Arnold Toynbee, "deep down, all religions are the same - different paths leading to the same goal." One might not agree that all religions are the same, but the fact that they share many similarities cannot be ignored. This affects Christianity's place among the World religions greatly. This idea pulls Christianity back onto a level playing field with the other major religions. Because Christianity is now being compared to the other...