Comparative Theology as Guide in the World of Religions
One of the most common objections against religion is the claim that religions undermine each other’s value and dignity. As religions have claims of truth and absoluteness, they are under suspicion of being violent towards each other. Therefore, many believers nowadays seek for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the other religions. Without this understanding and appreciation living together in a pluralistic society and the survival human kind would be at stake.
Nonetheless, the question how a positive appreciation can be theologically legitimized is still debatable. There is skepticism about claims to ultimate commitment and truth. The confessional theology nowadays is not able to solve the uncomfortable feeling those claims of ultimate commitment of different religious traditions can evoke. Therefore, every confessional theology of religions should raise the basal question how to award the pluralism of religions a positive – or at least not a negative – meaning without losing one’s own claim to ultimate truth. These two demands – to cherish the pluralism of religions and their believers and to not lose one’s own truth claim and commitment – is to my mind the basal question of any theology of religions. This dilemma cannot be overcome by the standard models of the theology of religions.
In my book „Komparative Theologie als Wegweiser in der Welt der Religionen“ (Comparative Theology showing the way ahead in the world of religions) from 2012, I deal with the world of religions from a theological viewpoint. I demonstrate from a Christian point of view how it is possible to appreciate and cherish the creeds and ultimate commitments of believers of non-Christian religions without neglecting own’s own religious truth claims. In addition to this monograph, I do work together with colleagues from other religions and continents to conceptualize hermeneutical, methodological and philosophical principles of Comparative Theology. At my chair it is possible to write a doctoral dissertation connected to Comparative Theology and to attain a PhD in Comparative Theology. Our university is the only one who offers this degree in the German-speaking world. Students from around the world which are interested in this program are welcome to contact me.