Thursday, May 23, 2013

Response to Clint Schnekloth on Pope Francis' Inclusivism

Clint Schnekloth wrote a great summary of Pope Francis' recent sermon that highlighted Roman Catholic thinking on inclusivism

This is inclusivism but it might not be good news to anyone except to Christians.

This is Clint's breakdown:

1) Everyone is redeemed through Jesus, including atheists.
2) Everyone can do good, even non-Catholics or non-Christians
3) Pursuing that which is good is a a place of encounter... do good and we will meet each other there.
Here's my response:

Salvation, redemption, and the good are defined by Francis either "in Christ" or from a Christian perspective. The inclusivisms or universalisms are exclusive of non-Christian perspectives so far as they cannot be absorbed into that "in Christ" or Christian perspective.

Sure, an atheist can be saved, but it would be quite a surprise to the atheist as well largely deflating the atheist's perspectives and cherished claims, especially if the atheist was denying the existence of non-natural agents like the Triune God. If Francis were to hold that the atheist would be saved as the atheist, that would be fascinating.

Likewise, the good that Francis intends is not something like the pluralist, liberal good that John Rawls or others intend in their "overlapping consensus." How can this good be a common ground? Perhaps in an ad hoc and fragile way, but certainly not in a pluralist or liberal-procedural way.

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