Hick, John Harwood

Hick, John Harwood
   An English theologian/ philosopher, Hick, despite beginning his career as a conservative Christian, later adopted a religious pluralism where all major religions share an ethical core that seeks to move the devotee from being self-centred to othercentred. Hick has since developed the most philosophically sophisticated defence of pluralism. He refers to the centre of religious concern as 'the Real' and argues that while major religions aid a turning to the Real, this ultimate reality transcends all doctrinal statements except for those that are formal (trivially applying to everything) and negative (via negativa). Critics claim that, contrary to pluralist intentions, Hick's view is elitist, effectively saying that all religions are wrong while he is correct. Further, given Hick's denial of any positive knowledge of the Real, his claim that it is emulated in the move to being other-centred rather than, say, in being self-centred, appears to be arbitrary. Among Hick's other work is a defence of religious belief against logical positivism based on the possibility of eschatological verification (Faith and Knowledge, 1957), an influential Irenaean 'soul-making' theodicy (Evil and the God of Love, 1966), and an important study of death, reincarnation and resurrection (Death and Eternal Life, 1976).
   Further reading: Hick 1957, 1976, 1977 and 1989

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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