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Religion versus the religions: the dialectic of divine reality and human response in Karl Barth and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

Recent philosophical work on the question of religious diversity has revolved around the pluralist hypothesis of John Hick, according to which the different religious traditions of humanity are valid responses to the same transcendent Reality, and responses to Hick offered by defenders of mainline Christian positions who have charged that his position suffers from certain inconsistencies and ignores the presence of deep-seated conflict of truth-claims across these traditions. (1) Hick developed his views over the years against the standpoint of Christian exclusivism, which holds that Christianity is the only true faith, which implies, according to him, that many individuals will not attain the highest end of human existence, namely, communion with the God of love.

Roughly half a century before Hick, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan leveled a similar set of criticisms against Karl Barth, who is often regarded in the current literature as the paradigmatic example of an "exclusivist," for making a sharp distinction between God's self-disclosure in the Christian "Religion" and the world "religions." Sharply criticizing Barth's view that no reasoned justification of the Christian claims can be provided outside the circle of Christian faith as "fundamentalist," (2) Radhakrishnan instead offered the attitude of Hinduism toward the other faiths, which, he argued, was based on the conviction that the religious life was rooted in the depths of every human soul. It is, therefore, ironic that some recent scholars of Radhakrishnan have pointed out the centrality in his thought of a parallel disjunction between Advaita Vedanta as the "Religion" and the historical "religions," arguing that this interpretation of religious diversity in terms of an Advaitic framework is ultimately a faith-stance. That is, Radhakrishnan's conception of the "true religion" in terms of a self-validating intuitive awareness of one's identity with the ultimate transpersonal reality is arguably as "exclusivist" as the Barthianism it opposes.

However, if God's revelation in Christ and Radhakrishnan's intuitive experience are two distinct interpretive lenses through which the religions are to be viewed, this divergence of standpoints raises the important question of the possibility of dialogue between a proponent of Radhakrishnan's views and a Barthian. In dealing with this question, we shall (a) outline Radhakrishnan's distinction between the religion of the Spirit and the historical religions, then (b) discuss some recent interpretations of Barth's theology not as "exclusivist" but as a form of "committed pluralism," and, finally, examine the implications of our results in (a) and (b) for interreligious understanding.


For Radhakrishnan, there are two broad categories of "religion": first the "monistic" religions that emphasize the immanence of the Spirit in the realm of phenomenal reality, and second the "theistic" religions that regard the Spirit as an Other with whom one can enter into communion but cannot become assimilated. (3) These differences are legitimized by the fact that they are partly a product of an individual's temperament, one's location in a finite cultural environment, and one's daily experiences--and out of this crucible there emerge different religions with distinct emphases. The sages of the Upanishads affirm repeatedly the transience and the unreality of the world; the Buddha's way of liberation is grounded in his acute realization of the suffering that is inbuilt within existence; the Hebrew prophets and Muhammad were, in their own ways, struck by the majesty of a supreme God of righteousness; Protestant Christians regard God as the loving Father ever-willing to welcome them even when they have, like prodigal children, strayed away from God; and Catholic Christians and Sakta Hindus view God as the compassionate and loving Mother. Therefore, Radhakrishnan emphasizes at several places in his writings that the different religions of the world, with the specific impulses and values that they embody, should come together in a relationship of mutual friendship so that they are regarded "not as incompatibles but as complementaries, and so indispensable to each other for the realization of the common end." (4)

What he envisioned was not a "featureless unity of religions" in a world whose religious peoples are rapidly coming close in bonds of sympathy and warmth but a rich harmony that will preserve the integrity of each. (5) In this context, Hinduism is marked out by its "catholic" vision that accepts all the different ideas of the Supreme and recognizes that different human beings have attained different stages of spiritual perfection and, consequently, seek the ultimate in different ways and in different directions: "By accepting the significance of the different intuitions of reality and the different scriptures of the peoples living in India, Hinduism has come to be a tapestry of the most variegated tissues and almost endless diversity of hues." (6) In contrast to religions such as Christianity and Islam that were often associated with fanaticism and autocracy, the Hindu regards religion in terms of entering into the depths of the spirit that is beyond the bounds of time and space. Therefore, the Hindu who chants the Vedas, the Chinese who reflects on the Analects, and the European who worships Christ as the mediator can all access this realm of being through these specific contextual pathways. (7)

Nevertheless, though the historical religions should maintain their distinctiveness and reach out to one another in bonds of fellowship, Radhakrishnan insisted that those that are based on the theistic conception of the Absolute as a personal God who is the creator and sustainer of the universe emerge from minds that are not perfectly enlightened. The personal God is the Absolute as it is conceived by human beings, and in this limitation "the Absolute appears as supreme Wisdom, Love and Goodness." (8) This gradation is based on Radhakrishnan's understanding of "Religion" as the attempt to remake oneself through the harmonizing and integration of the inner conflicts between one's dim consciousness of the essential unity with ultimate reality and one's awareness of the possibility of nonbeing. (9) In his reconstruction of Samkara's classical Vedanta, Radhakrishnan argued that human beings are currently mired in their ignorance, which leads them to "superimpose" on the essential unity of the Spirit the multiplicity of the phenomenal world, and in order to be liberated from this delusive misidentification they need gradually to develop the spiritual insight (darsana) into the nature of reality as fundamentally one. (10) As one begins to restrain the centrifugal tendencies of one's life and draws them in around the self, which seeks a living contact with the Absolute, one begins to enjoy a spiritual experience where the subject and the object are not clearly differentiated and which is characterized by reality, awareness, and freedom. (11)

Following Samkara, Radhakrishnan emphasized that the content of this experience is a "that" that ultimately remains transcendent and sovereign beyond the grasp of finite minds and the products of their creative imagination, such as myths and metaphors. (12) Consequently, Radhakrishnan affirmed that there is a graduated scale of interpreting the religious experiences of humanity with the theistic notions at a lower level than the transpersonal or the monistic: "The assumption of a personal God as the ground of being and creator of the universe is the first stage of the obscuring and restriction of the vision which immediately perceives the great illumination of Reality." (13) Therefore, all views of the one reality are not on a par, and he outlines a scale starting from animistic notions to the Advaita Vedanta conception of the Absolute. (14) Consequently, though referring to the books in the series The Religious Quest of India, centered around the "fulfillment" theme, Radhakrishnan wrote that they struck "the imperialistic note that Christianity is the highest manifestation of the religious spirit; that it is the moral standard for the human race while every other religion is to be judged by it," (15) in his opposition to this religious "imperialism" he seemed to have struck a similar note. His opposition was based on a dialectic of "Religion" and the "religions": Every historical religion was imperfect and could not claim to be absolute, but all these religious forms are expressions of a common core to which he referred with various names such as "the essence of religion," "the life of the spirit" or Advaita Vedanta.

When we move from the "Indian Renaissance" of Radhakrishnan's late colonial and post-Independence India to Barth's conception of Christianity in the interwar period in Europe, the difference in their understanding of "religion," at first sight, cannot be sharper. For Barth, the utterly transcendent God, who cannot be grasped by human thought, had broken in through this epistemological darkness and through Christ had revealed to humanity its perverse attempts to evade an encounter with the living God by constructing its own religious systems. Because revelation is the Person of Christ and the divine reconciliation that took place in Christ, all historical religions are species of "unbelief" and only draw their adherents away from a real encounter with the true God. For Radhakrishnan, Barth's position was a clear instance of "dualistic" thought that affirms an unsurpassable gulf between the Supreme and the world, and he regarded Barth's view that the religions of the world are perversions that lead human beings away from the truth as an instance of "narrow orthodoxies ... likely to destroy religion altogether." (16) However, a closer look at the logic of Barth's attitude toward the religions of the world reveals that it is based on a dialectic between the Christian "Religion" and the "religions" that in some ways parallels the dialectic between the "Religion" of the spirit and the "religions" that we have investigated in Radhakrishnan.


Though Barth's theology is usually labeled "exclusivist" in the current literature on religious diversity and was regarded as such by Radhakrishnan as well, it is more accurate to view it as centered on a criterion, in the sense that for Barth the claim that "Jesus Christ is the Savior" is not a contingent but an analytic truth that can be understood only from within the circle of Christian faith. This understanding of God's revelation in Christ as the criterion for approaching the "religions" has three major implications for how we read Barth's theology.

First, if Barth made no attempt to develop detailed phenomenological or anthropological accounts of the "religions," this was because, as J. A. DiNoia has pointed out, he was grappling with an internal problematic of post-Reformation Christian theology, and his primary concern was not with specific religions but with the category of "religion." (17) In contrast to certain trends that first emerged in rational thought and were later adopted into neo-Protestant theology, which sought to interpret revelation through the category of "religion" divorced from its Christian contexts, Barth was seeking to emphasize that it is in light of revelation that we must understand religion and the religions. In arguing for the reversal of these movements through which theology "lost its object (18) and affirming emphatically that all human religions fall under the judgment of revelation, Barth was therefore speaking first to Christians and only secondarily to non-Christians.

Second, Barth argued that revelation, the self-communication and the self-offering of God in Christ, does not pick up bits and pieces from human religions and carry them to a "fulfillment"; instead, it contradicts and displaces them by revealing to those who turn to Christ with the response of faith that these are the products of human attempts at self-sanctification. (19) When human beings try, without the light of this revelation, to form their own conceptions of the divine and to justify themselves, they only alienate themselves further from God and bolt the door against God, who alone can take away their sins. In other words, the judgment that all religions are expressions of "faithlessness" (Unglaube) is not an empirical one that emerges through a detailed study of their social and institutional manifestations but is based entirely on the revelation of God's mercy and grace in Christ. Therefore, Barth is not presenting a version of the "liberal Christian" argument that Christianity stands at the evolutionary apex of the various forms of historical religions, nor is he seeking to establish the superiority of Christianity on any historical, phenomenological, cultural, or comparative grounds. This, however, means that all religions, including Christianity, stand under the divine judgment that "religion is unbelief," and the truth of the Christian religion lies not in its historical accomplishments, however noble they may be, but in its knowledge of the grace of God who justifies the "ungodly." It is in this sense that we may say that the church, the ingathering of Christians who confess themselves to be sinners, is picked out by divine revelation as the locus of "true religion," not because of its human perfections but to the extent that it is the place where human beings live through grace and by grace. Hence, Garrett Green has pointed out that the English translation of Barth's Aufhebung der Religion as the "abolition of religion" is misleading, for it fails to capture the dialectical thrust of Barth's view of how divine revelation both "contradicts" or negates religion in its aspect of the human attempt at self-justification and "exalts" or rectifies religion through the grace of Christ. (20) A more preferable term would be "sublation," which would highlight Barth's repeated emphasis that the Christian religion is the "true" religion only to the extent that--like a justified sinner--it is simultaneously the locus of judgment and justification by divine grace. (21)

Third, it is possible to read Barth's theology, with Trevor Hart, as a form of "committed pluralism" that denies, on the one hand, that there is a universal rationality that will provide human beings with immediate access to God without God's self-disclosure but that affirms, on the other hand, that those who have been brought by God's grace into the church must proclaim from within it the divine judgment on all human religions (including Christianity itself) as unbelief. In other words, it shares with other forms of pluralism the conviction that human beings view the world from within a multiplicity of contexts and that there are no transcontextual criteria that will enable one to judge that the vision allowed by one of these is superior to the rest. But, because it is also committed to its affirmation that reality makes itself known more clearly or focally in one definite location than in another, it invites others to accept this viewpoint without arguing that the truth-claims it puts forward are universally demonstrable in some straightforward manner. Therefore, Hart summarized Barth's attitude toward religious plurality as characterized not by arrogance but by the humility "of a sinner among sinners, who feels that his own glass home is rather too fragile for him to be throwing any stones." (22)

The interpretation of Barth as a "committed pluralist" has some important consequences for an attempt to develop a conversation between a proponent of a Barthian theological standpoint and an advocate of Radhakrishnan's thought. For, though Radhakrishnan himself strongly accused Barth as "dogmatic" and

"exclusivist," it would seem that there is a similarity in the underlying logic through which both figures approach the reality of the world religions. For Barth, all empirical religions, including Christianity, viewed as human products, are attempts at self-assertion, but this judgment does not lead to the conclusion that all of them are equally false. This is because, in the light of God's revelation in Christ, one may speak of Christianity as a "true religion" but only in the qualified sense that it is a congregation of sinners justified by divine grace. That is, revelation sublates religion in the sense that in the light of revelation Christians must say "no" to human religion but on that same basis must return a qualified "yes" to the Christian religion.

Now, while Radhakrishnan was clearly more familiar than Barth with religious traditions from all over the world and was emphatic in his claims that they should all meet in fellowship, he approached these traditions through the perspective of Advaita Vedanta as the "true" religion of the spirit. Unlike Barth, Radhakrishnan argued that every historical expression of religiosity is a valid, positive response to the ultimate reality; however, in a Barthian manner, though for very different reasons, Radhakrishnan also held that not all religions have attained the level of truth and goodness where they can lead their followers to the realization of the timeless Spirit. At one level, Radhakrishnan urged the adherents of the religious traditions to give up their exclusivities and parochialisms, for no tradition is "superior" to any other, but at another level, he was convinced that the numerous dogmas and symbols that the traditions had multiplied were but imperfect, earthly images of the eternal truth that the world and the Absolute are nondual. (23) Therefore, we may make a case for reading Radhakrishnan, too, as a "committed pluralist" in the sense that, while at one level he affirms the value of the plurality of the religious traditions, this affirmation is rooted at another level in his commitment to his reinterpretation of Advaitic thought. For Radhakrishnan, religious experience involved the dissolution of all the normal disjunctions of waking experience and the union of the individual with the deepest essence of reality where "all being is consciousness and all consciousness is being." (24) He was forced to admit that a significant proportion of Hindus do not, in fact, orientate their beliefs and practices in accordance to the scale in which nondualistic conceptions of the ultimate reality are superior to theistic conceptions, and, unlike the "cultivated" who seek to go beyond the symbolic realm to the transcendent, the former remained entrapped in the images and icons they worship. He wrote: "The cultivated tolerate popular notions as inadequate signs and shadows of the incomprehensible, but the people at large believe them to be justified and authorized.... In the name of toleration we have carefully protected superstitious rites and customs." (25)

In other words, Barth and Radhakrishnan can be regarded as offering two different forms of "committed pluralism" that affirm the multiplicity of human perspectives that are significantly shaped by our social and historical locations but that deny that they are merely the reflections of the latter or are trapped within their margins. However, there is a crucial difference between their "pluralisms" regarding the question of whether and how their specific visions of reality can be communicated to others: Radhakrishnan argued that human beings across different sociocultural traditions have had spiritual experiences of union with ultimate reality, whereas Barth believed that the judgment that Christ is the Savior is possible only from within the circle of Christian faith. In the following sections, we shall show how this divergence leads to certain strains on their individual positions: In the case of Radhakrishnan, the major issue remains that of whether the concept of a "mystical core" in the world religions is coherent, while Barth had to deal with the critical question of how the Christian message could be communicated to those who are not within the horizons of faith.


At the time when Radhakrishnan was developing his creative synthesis of Sankara's Advaita and numerous contemporary philosophical strands such as Bergson's evolutionism and Whitehead's organicism, many Western figures such as AIdous Huxley and Walter Stace put forward the thesis that there is an essential "unity" of religion that underlies its various empirical manifestations in the complex of doctrinal beliefs and institutional practices that conflict only at the surface level. It is clear from Radhakrishnan's writings that he believed that there were "certain essential features" that he could detect in the religious traditions all round the world "in spite of apparent variations and individual forms"--these features being the elements of the Advaita view. (26) In his famous words, "The [Advaita] Vedanta is not a religion, but religion itself in its most universal and deepest significance." (27) The true spiritual experience intimated by Advaita, of realization of one's essential identity with the transcendent reality, lies at the core of all these traditions, across the phenomenal bounds of culture, nation, and history. However, Radhakrishnan's formulation of the thesis of philosophia perennis in terms of the Advaitic intuitive experience of identity with the ultimate can be questioned on the ground of the possibility of such a "pure consciousness," which he believed was transcontextually accessible.

First, there is the point that Radhakrishnan inflicted interpretive violence on the religious traditions of the world by focusing specifically on only those strands that seem to fit into his vision of a nondualistic spiritual experience as the vital core of religion. So, he took texts from various figures such as Plotinus, Eckhart, and Sankara, widely separated from one another in time and context, and juxtaposed them in a dehistoricized fashion that elided the diversity of the sociocultural locations from within which these were produced. It has been pointed out that the claim that there is ultimately one kind of religious experience is highly dubious, given the differences in phenomenological content across different types of religious experiences: Some have a subject/consciousness/object structure, whereas others do not seem to be experiences of anything existing independently of the experiencing subject, and all these experiences have their specific doctrinal settings. (28) A fundamental difference between Radhakrishnan and Samkara at this point is that, whereas the latter grounded the self-certifying nature of intuition of nonduality ultimately in the authority of scripture and exegesis based on it, the former reversed this order of priority. (29)

Radhakrishnan instead argued that this "experience," which provides its own justification and which does not, in addition, violate the canons of rationality or make appeals to unique revelations, is also found to conform to the interpretation in the scriptures. This inversion has been read as Radhakrishnan's attempt to disjoin the supra-intellectual mode of apprehension from any sectarian scriptural tradition, whereas in classical Advaita the attainment of intuitive awareness is based on a specific set of traditions, texts, and teachers. (30) Thus, while Radhakrishnan believed that the Vedas are the records of the experiences of the sages who were the "pioneer researchers" in the realm of the spirit, Wilhelm Halbfass has argued that the Vedas are not, in fact, the summary of personal experiences but constitute an objective structure that shaped experiences-and within which reason, exegesis, and meditation played specific roles. (31) Radhakrishnan's search for a trans-empirical experience has the consequence that theistic Hindus are not sufficiently, that is, Advaitically, Hindu, and even adherents of other religions such as Christianity have an imperfect understanding of the teachings of their founders. He believed that Jesus' teachings were, in fact, expressions of timeless Advaitic thought and that what the theologians have made of them "are after-thoughts, interpretations of the fact, viz., the life and death of Jesus." (32) Such a response has been criticized on the grounds that it implies that Christianity can meet Hinduism in the fellowship of religion of the Spirit only when its distinctive conception of the Incarnation undergoes a significant transmutation into that of the Advaitic avatara. (33)

Second, Radhakrishnan's selective appropriation of texts in which he discerns glimmerings of Advaitic thought can also be critiqued from the neo-Kantianism of Stephen Katz, which is based on the epistemological principle that all experience is conditioned by cultural and mental patterns so that the process of differentiating patterns of experience into their various symbolic and institutional forms takes place not after but during the experience itself. This "social constructivism" is supported by other scholars who, opposing the "essentialism" constructed by writers such as Huxley (34) and Stace (35) through the downplaying of the differences between religious traditions, emphasize that experience, embedded in cultural and linguistic frameworks, is always already interpreted. (36) However, in spite of Katz's intention of being faithful to "the richness of the experiential and conceptual data" (37) in question, it has been argued that his primary assumption that there can be no nonconceptual "pure experience" denies the particularity of the truth-claims of a number of Indic traditions such as Hindu yoga and Buddhism. (38)

Without trying to settle this debate, it is important to note in this context that, while Radhakrishnan argued that such a supra-conceptual experience is the vital reality of the world religions, in one sense his position does accept the Kantian dichotomy between the ineffable noumenal reality and its phenomenal manifestations. So, he emphasized the importance of our traditions in shaping our ideas about reality and held, in a Kantian style, that religious experience is the "presentment of the real already influenced by the ideas and prepossessions of the perceiving mind. (39) This is particularly so because the specific ways in which human beings in different cultural matrices experience the real is colored by their presuppositions, prejudices, and temperaments. Nevertheless, the difference between Radhakrishnan and Kant emerged when he went on to affirm that the "prepossessions" that lead certain individuals to interpret this experience through theistic categories are ultimately distortive of the nature of noumenal reality, which, unlike Kant, Radhakrishnan held to be accessible to the enlightened seers of humanity. (40) In short, Radhakrishnan's view that the intuitive experience that he indicated was available to figures such as the Buddha, Plato, Philo, Hillel, and the medieval mystics of Islam was based on a very specific conceptualization of such experience as leading to a nondual realization of one's unity with ultimate reality that has no distinctions.

In sharp contrast stands Barth's view that, in light of the Christian revelation, "religious" experience is seen to be tinged with human rebellion against the divine. In contrast to Radhakrishnan who believed that it was possible to speak of a true spiritual experience not inflected by cultural trappings and creedal formulations, Barth's theology was in part a reaction against this very assumption that there was a universal shared religious experience underlying all cultural contexts. Against figures such as Schleiermacher, who sought a transcendent essence of religions in feeling which is pre-conceptual and should not be confused with doctrine or dogma, Barth set up the Christian revelation as the criterion through which such experiences are to be assessed and evaluated. Barth's strong insistence on the centrality of revelation must be placed in the context of his attempt to focus attention on the God who meets us in freedom in opposition to the "religionism" of liberal Protestantism, which he believed tried to lay down a priori criteria for what could count as a revelation of God. (41) His fundamental objection to the liberal enterprise of translating the Christian message into philosophical vocabulary that was, in fact, inimical to revelation also appears in recent theological discourse in a type of "unapologetic" theology that confesses its inability to offer a defense of Christianity that would be acceptable to all rational human beings; rather, it affirms that conversation takes place in a specific context, and we therefore begin with the rules and assumptions of the Christian faith. (42) Instead of subscribing to universal epistemic principles that would control the rational assent of all human beings, the church will, rather, accept a statement such as the Bible is the criterion of belief-worthiness as an epistemological rule for ordering its beliefs. (43)

In opposition to trends in modern theology that have tried to justify knowledge-claims about God with reference to epistemological theories that are independent of the Christian faith, Ronald Thiemann has argued that there are no indubitable foundations that can serve as the common ground from which to convince the skeptic. Therefore, regarding a believer who takes the biblical narrative as God's address, Thiemann has written that the question of how one arrives at such a decision is a complex matter not easily subject to theological analysis. Christians may be said to "know God" in the sense that they can identify God as the divine reality who raised Jesus from the dead and can assert that the biblical promises are true. In respect of the promises not yet fulfilled, the Christian will continue to wait in hope, for the biblical narrative identifies God as the one who "characteristically" keeps the divine promises. (44)

In a similar manner, David Kelsey has argued that the judgment that the Bible is the authority for Christian communal and ecclesial existence should be understood not as a contingent claim but as an analytic statement from within the circle of Christian faith. However, one may raise the question as to why an individual should take the biblical texts (and not others) as authoritative in this manner, but Kelsey argued that, given the complexity and diversity of reasons for which individuals join a specific Christian community, already modeled on its distinctive understanding of "church," "scripture," and its "authority," it is not possible to identify the precise reasons: "The reasons for adopting just these writings as 'authority' are as complex, unsystematic, and idiosyncratic as are the reasons individual persons have for becoming Christians." (45) In these strands of "nonfoundational" theologies we may still speak of epistemic justification--not to establish the reasonableness of Christianity according to some putative universal norms but to highlight the structure of the Christian discourse. Therefore, we may still make some room for old-style "natural theology"--provided that we read the ontological, cosmological, and design "proofs" for the existence of God not as universally persuasive for all rational agents but as arguments that specify the rules for membership in the church.


The discussion should have helped to close the apparent distance between Radhakrishnan and Barth in their views on religion: If Barth took Christ as the criterion for evaluating the category of "religion" as mixed with human self-assertion against the creator, Radhakrishnan's approach to the religions was based on the criterion of Advaita Vedanta as the essence and goal of all religious traditions. Now, the centrality of Christ and Advaita as the two criteria for viewing the diverse religious forms of humanity would seem to hinder the possibility of a dialogue between a proponent of Radhakrishnan's standpoint and a Barthian. This is particularly so because, as we noted, on the one hand, Radhakrishnan's view that "mystical" experience of nondual realization is at the heart of all religiosity is a very specific interpretation from within Advaitic perspectives, and, on the other hand, the Barthian emphasis that Christian beliefs explicate the structure of the Christian language-game but cannot be demonstrated to be self-evidently true for all would seem to discredit the very attempt to offer arguments in "defense" of Christianity. However, we have also suggested that these two criteria are not quite free-floating or arbitrarily chosen but are moored in a dense background of beliefs and conceptions about human beings, the reality of the divine, the value of the temporal process, and so on. It is through a discussion of these doctrinal assumptions that we may try to indicate some avenues of dialogue between the perspectives of Radhakrishnan and Barth on the plurality of the world's religions.

To begin with Radhakrishnan, he argued that spiritual experience does not look toward any external standards for justification, for it is self-sufficient, self-evidential (svasarhvedya), self-established (svatasiddha), and self-luminous (svayam-prakasa). (46) However, this experience of unitary awareness underlying the diverse religious forms of humanity is based on a specific set of beliefs about the nature of the human self and ultimate reality. The point of special importance here is that Radhakrishnan argued that the experience has a cognitive value and that it is based on a set of metaphysical conceptions of the nature of the Absolute, the human self, the world, and also the way of attaining union with the ultimate as identical with the self. First, there is the doctrine that, underlying the empirical ego and its manifold experiences, there is an inner core that is deathless, noncreated, and absolutely real. (47) This is the Spirit, which is pure existence, timeless, and unconditioned and which remains completely untouched by the imperfections of the finite universe that is existentially dependent upon it. Second, this conceptualization of ultimate reality explains why creedal formulations and systems of beliefs are provisional and even weaken one's apprehension of the Absolute. Since the "Hindu attitude" to religion is a quest for the realization of the Spirit within the depths of one's being, accessory elements such as symbols, creeds, or dogmas are regarded as having only an instrumental value to the extent that they help the aspirant in this personal search. (48) Third, the process of moral perfection and growth toward the realization of one's identity with the Spirit is guided by the law of karma and rebirth. As the self seeks to overcome its finite individuality, this task may require several lifetimes, and this law allows the self, when one of its empirical existences is cut short, to pick up from where it had broken off and to pursue the project once again. (49)

It is within such a doctrinal setting that Radhakrishnan argued that the experience of pure identity supersedes all experiences of duality, but it has been pointed out that theistic mystics who have sometimes claimed to have had such experiences regard them not as ultimately valuable but only as a preparation for experiences of a personal deity. Therefore, while he claimed that the Hindu attitude to religion was characterized by the refusal to mark the religions as true or false, or to set up one tradition as the norm for all humanity, scholars have often noted that Radhakrishnan presented a specific interpretation of the evidence as normative for the empirical religions. (50) Consequently, Radhakrishnan's claim that theistic experiences are not veridical from the ultimate standpoint becomes plausible only from within the Advaitic context with doctrinal statements such as "The ultimate reality is distinctionless" and "The human self is essentially identical with the ultimate reality." However, given that Radhakrishnan accepted the sovereignty of the self-existent ineffable Spirit, which is beyond all human formulations, it has been argued that it is plausible that the real is essentially personal rather than impersonal, so that personalist conceptions of the real are closer to the truth than are impersonalist ones. Such an alternative has, in fact, been proposed by Michael Stoeber, who has argued that there is an experiential core underlying the different religious traditions of the world and that this center is structured by what he has called a "theo-monistic" hierarchy. According to him, the mystic is required to undergo an initial stage of monistic experiences that involve a radical abandonment of self in the divine, and this initial self-surrender at the basic level is followed by the experiences of the Real as ultimately personal. Drawing upon figures such as Eckhart, Ruusbroec, Ramanuja, and Aurobindo Ghose, Stoeber argued that their theological writings illustrate the theo-monistic model within which the divine is conceived of as both nondualistic and differentiated, personal and impersonal. (51) Therefore, if the impersonal Ultimate could be regarded as an aspect of the personal Ultimate so that the aspirant after the latter is yet to realize the former, Julius Lipner wrote:
   The point of this hypothesis ... is to show that there seem to be
   plausible alternatives to Radhakrishnan's explanation of what
   passes for experience of the Real and to emphasize that at the end
   of the day, his own stance remains a faith-response, a sustained
   attempt to interpret the evidence. It is none the worse for that;
   rival points of view are in the same boat. (52)

Now, in a manner somewhat parallel to Radhakrishnan, Barth argued that Christian theology is not based on any external justificatory standards--human beings do not "choose" Christ as the criterion; rather, some of them are seized by Christ who enables them to see Christ as the center of all creation. Barth emphasized that the acceptance of the Bible as a faithful witness to the divine reality does not need to be "justified" in respect to an extra-scriptural norm, whether this be the bar of universal rationality or a religious dimension underlying human experience. For Barth, the Bible vindicates itself: The belief that the Bible is the Word of God presupposes that the Bible "has proved itself to be the Word of God," and this "proof' is possible only through the miracle of faith. (53) That is, though there is no ontological identity between God and the world, whether in terms of an analogy of being or prethematic awareness of the divine, the Spirit of God enables us to hear the word of God, such that knowing God is ultimately God's own gift to us. It is God alone who can give us knowledge of God, and this by revealing Godself in the "Word made flesh," a revelation that is attested to by the Bible and that comes alive to us when we read it in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is only when in the event of revelation God's sovereign action lays holds of human beings and draws them into the circle of knowledge that they can know God and correctly speak about God from within it. Therefore, we recognize the Bible as the Word of God not from outside the circle of faith through some "objective" proofs but only from within it as an "analytical statement" that cannot be derived from some other proposition. (54) In connection with this hermeutical circle, Barth wrote: "The doctrine of Holy Scripture in the Evangelical Church is that this logical circle is the circle of self-asserting, self-attesting truth into which it is equally impossible to enter as it is to emerge from it: the circle of our freedom which as such is also the circle of our captivity." (55) However, such an understanding of God's revelation as a self-enclosed circle that is self-authenticating and self-interpreting gives rise to some important questions regarding whether human beings can be said to respond to such a revelation without a background set of beliefs about themselves and their place in the world. First, Kenneth Surin has pointed out pace Barth that there remains an "anthropological" component in the reception of divine revelation to the extent that it is human beings who must seek to appropriate and understand, with their ordinary cognitive faculties, what is "given" to them through this revelation. Revelation cannot therefore be completely self-authenticating, for it requires the uncoerced response of faith on the part of individuals, and this response in turn presupposes a certain epistemology of revelation, a hermeneutical theory, a philosophy of history, and so on. (56) In other words, revelation has to accommodate itself to the canons of ordinary human understanding, for otherwise it would be totally ineffable and available only to a select few inspired in some special manner. In opposition to the conception of divine revelation as a body of information or collection of propositions, Barth stressed that the primary locus of revelation is the Word of God, but, to the extent that revelation must involve the understanding of an act of God as God's initiative, the illumination of the human mind is necessary for the divine self-disclosure. (57) Barth insisted that our knowledge of God does not depend on the conceptual frameworks we bring to bear on the divine "object," but his overemphasis on God's creation of the framework arguably severs all connection between human language and divine reality and raises the difficulty of how human beings may be said to know God. (58) Recent conceptualizations of divine revelation have instead emphasized the relativity and fallibility of the vehicles through which it is mediated, so that revelation is less a sudden divine fiat through which God produces faith and more a dialogic process through which human beings respond to the divine initiative. (59)

Second, Barth's view that the statement that the Bible is the divine Word must be understood as "grounded in itself" has to deal with the objections raised against the possibility that a certain proposition can be authenticated in such a way that the person accepting it cannot be mistaken in doing so. William Abraham has pointed out that it is sometimes claimed that believers can know with certainty, through their experience of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, the truth of certain claims that are taught by the Christian faith. Such an experience would be self-authenticating with respect to certain propositions about God in the sense that it provides sufficient evidence for these propositions, and the person having this experience cannot be justified in doubting them. However, he noted that the belief in the existence of the Spirit is necessarily presupposed by the claim that one has experienced the witness of the Spirit, for one cannot arrive at this conclusion without having some very specific beliefs about the nature of God, God's special revelation in history, and so on. Therefore, Abraham's belief is that the most promising way to interpret such claims is to see the inner witness of the Holy Spirit as helping to make plausible an integrated system of beliefs about God, human nature, ethical life, post-mortem existence, and so on. (60)

Third, even proponents of Reformed epistemology such as Alvin Plantinga, who hold that belief in the Christian God does not need evidential inferential support from other beliefs because Christian belief is "properly basic," admit that the key issue is not, in fact, epistemological but ontological. Plantinga is aware that many atheists and agnostics do not count belief in God as a properly basic belief, and he has responded to this with his notion of a "warranted belief," that is, a belief produced by our God-given epistemic faculties when they are functioning according to the way God designed them to. God has planted in human beings the cognitive faculty of sensus divinitatis, that is, a disposition to believe in God when they are in the appropriate contexts, and only theistic beliefs are properly basic, since they are functioning according to God's design plan and are produced by a cognitive power aimed at truth. Therefore, the crucial point is not simply the issues of "rationality" and "warrant" but metaphysical, because what is regarded as rational is ultimately connected to one's metaphysics: "[T]he dispute as to whether theistic belief is rational (or warranted) can't be settled just by attending to epistemological considerations; it is at bottom not merely an epistemological dispute, but an ontological or theological dispute." (61)

Plantinga's observation reminds us that, though the question of the relation between Christian theology and "metaphysics" has been intensely debated over the last century, Christian theologians, in fact, have grappled with issues such as the relation between God and the world, the human knowledge of God, and so on with metaphysical categories, and they have sought to render coherent the concept of a God who "really" acts in the world. (62) From a "Barthian" perspective, the enterprise of offering arguments in defense of Christianity is usually rejected, given Barth's view that there can be no "point of contact" between the gospel and human nature, because the image of God has been totally effaced by the fall, and human beings therefore have no capacity for receiving revelation. (63) However, Christian theologians who do not share this diagnosis that human reason has been thoroughly crippled have sought to develop a cumulative case for Christian theism--not because they suppose that Christian faith is based on arguments but because they seek to reflect, in light of this faith, on different areas of human experience and argue that their truest fulfillment lies in the Christian God. There is, therefore, a strong element of metaphysical thinking in these cumulative appeals, first, to human experience and the general features of the world and, second, to specific strands in human history, in order to develop a Christian worldview that will both illuminate the value of the dimensions of art, morality, consciousness, and freedom and point out their true orientation toward the Christian God. (64) Therefore, while a Christian may have sufficient warrant to accept the Christian doxastic practice of forming beliefs and evaluating them, to show that this practice has superior epistemic status over other practices, or at least is more reliable as an indicator to the nature of reality, one will have to develop complex arguments offering "evidences" for Christianity and showing that its central claims are at least plausible and not inconsistent. (65)

This attempt to discern the presence of the Christian God in nature and history is not, as Barth might have argued, a "domestication" of the divine freedom in terms of human concepts that lead through some inexorable logic to God. Rather, it is an attempt to use critical rationality to develop lines of argument from various considerations such as truth, beauty, and morality and to propose the Christian understanding of the Incarnate God as the best explanation for our world. That is, while it is important to demonstrate to Christians that the biblical narrative is meaningful because it supplies the grammatical rules that structure the Christian discourse, the question of whether these utterances are true because there is an objective order to which they conform cannot be ignored.

Consequently, Christian theologians who hold such a view that the Christian revelation is not entirely outside the scrutiny of rationality, even though they could account for the fact of "epistemic peer conflict" and religious diversity as a product of human sinfulness, may be led to assess their own beliefs and enter into a careful study of the significance of those of other religious traditions. (66)


In short, both Radhakrishnan and Barth, in their own rather different ways, argue that there is an inner circle from within which their respective doctrinal claims can be validated: For Radhakrishnan, this circle is the Advaitic experience of unitary awareness; for Barth, it is the Holy Spirit who authenticates the Bible to believers. Both seem to suggest that this circle supplies the conditions necessary for recognizing the truth about reality; the criteria adopted for this purpose are not supplied externally. However, as we have pointed out, this circle is not thereby entirely quarantined from rational scrutiny, for it is underpinned by a set of metaphysical conceptions about reality, and these can be assessed and evaluated on the grounds of consistency, plausibility, and so on.

From a Barthian perspective, a Christian can claim that the views of an Advaitin Hindu who holds that the personal God is ultimately an illusion are not on an epistemic par with Christian belief, for she has received the instigation of the Holy Spirit who protects her from error in ontological matters, while the Hindu's epistemic vision, clouded because of original sin, is unregenerated by grace. That is, though reason is a divine gift through which human beings offer judgments that are truth-aimed, this is not the prelapsarian reason of Adam and, hence, "must be placed under erasure by the assertion of reason's corruption by sin." (67) On such an understanding, when an individual begins to indwell the Christian world, Christ's grace removes the "blindness" to the way things are and orders the dispositions, needs, and inclinations of the heart so that he learns to assess the evidence in the proper way and apprehend that it points toward Christ. (68) Such a response, however, presupposes a number of truth-claims about a nonphysical mode of reality, the existence of a personal God, the status of finite reality as imperfect and yet enveloped by a divine purpose, and so on. Unless one wishes to claim that the Christian "God" exists only within the Christian conceptual scheme and has no objective reality independent of it, so that Christian beliefs are simply regulative ideals that govern the lives of their adherents, one must view them as functioning in the manner of empirical assertions that can be true or false. To be sure, it is a complex matter as to how these beliefs are to be verified, for a claim such as "God exists" or "Christ is the Savior" cannot be demonstrated in the manner in which we establish the truth or falsity of empirical beliefs such as "snow is white." However, to deny that they have any empirical anchorage would, in effect, also be a denial of the claim, common to many strands of Christian theology, that the Christ event brought about a decisive change in the world, not simply for those who share the Christian faith-stance but also for others. Consequently, though it is important to make a conceptual distinction between an individual's trust in Christ and the beliefs that one holds about Christ, one's response of commitment and the propositions one accepts to be true are integrally connected with each other.

In the alethic realism that William Alston defends, propositions are the minimum carriers of truth, and a religious statement is "true" if and only if the cognition-independent state of affairs it refers to obtains. (69) Consequently, while it is important to demonstrate to Christians that the biblical narrative is meaningful because it supplies the grammatical rules that structure Christian discourse, the question of whether these utterances are true, in the sense that there is an objective order to which they conform, cannot be ignored. Indeed, statements such as those that affirm the existence of a personal God as the divine reality, who has a plan for humanity and who enters into human history in various ways, have been put forward as fact assertively by Christian theologians, and the reasons and arguments offered in defense of such factual claims have been subjected to minute scrutiny by both Christian thinkers and their opponents.

Radhakrishnan's appeal to a trans-empirical experience, too, is undergirded by a particular set of truth-claims about reality, and it is these doctrinal statements that allowed him to assert that, when theists such as Christians speak of the Supreme as a personal Lord, these are at best interpretations of the truth from the human perspective, and these personal confessions must not be confused with the nature of the Absolute. In other words, in contrast to the Christian claims about a personal God who is ontologically distinct from the creature, Radhakrishnan's perspective was based on the belief that an individual is consubstantial with ultimate reality and can become aware of this inner identity by focusing the inner being on the Spirit. (70) Both in traditional Advaita and in contemporary presentations of Advaita, various types of arguments have been offered in defense of this belief, to show that the relational experiences based on the distinctions between self and nonself are sublated by the higher nonrelational experience of unity with ultimate reality. These arguments have been subjected to intense scrutiny by theologians such as Ramanuja and Madhva, who have charged the thesis of nondualism, with its associated notion of "contentless experience," as being infected with radical incoherence. Whether or not these refutations succeed is a complex issue, but what the long tradition of arguments for and against the Advaita claim shows is that the doctrines and reasons that point the way toward the Advaitic experience can be analyzed, debated, and critiqued.

In this manner, although Barth and Radhakrishnan started from two distinct standpoints, one would have made some headway in engaging in dialogue two proponents of their views: They offer two alternative visions of interpreting the evidence, and these can be analyzed for their adequacy and plausibility. This is particularly so if we examine the notion that seems to play a crucial role in their religious epistemologies, namely, experience can authenticate certain beliefs, and it is impossible that a person who has this experience and these beliefs can be wrong. In contrast to beliefs such as "I exist now," which can receive self-authentication from experience, other beliefs such as "God exists" or "Atman is Brahman" presuppose numerous truth-claims about the structure of reality, the constitution of the human person, and so on. Consequently, the latter beliefs are never insulated from doubt or counter-evidence, for it is logically possible that one believes that one has experienced God and be mistaken in this belief, for it may be the case that God does not exist--or that one has attained unity with ultimate distinctionless reality and be mistaken, for it may be the case that ultimate reality is personal. In other words, though certain experiences might provide strong feelings of certainty, the latter should not be confused with veridicality, which relates to whether the supposed "object" of experience really is the way it appears. This is not to suggest to a Barthian that Christian beliefs must be demonstrated to be self-evidently true for all human beings but that a claim such as "Christ died for the justification of sinners" will sound highly implausible to an Advaitin Hindu unless the latter is provided with a set of background statements about the reality of a personal God, sin, and salvation. For instance, it has been pointed out that the Jewish disciples of Christ were able to comprehend what had happened at the Resurrection because of their Jewish belief in the general resurrection at the Last Day, and only gradually did their reflections on the significance of this event lead to the development of incarnational Christologies.

Likewise, the Advaitin claim "You are divine" will sound preposterous, if not almost self-contradictory, to a Barthian, in the absence of metaphysical conceptions about reality that are supposed to be authenticated by the Advaitin intuitive experience. In connection with the possibility that a Christian might approach a Hindu teacher for spiritual guidance, Radhakrishnan asserted that the latter would not ask his pupil to give up "his allegiance to Christ but would tell him that his idea of Christ was not adequate, and would lead him to a knowledge of the real Christ, the incorporate Supreme." (71) However, to explicate this inadequacy would require an Advaitin to spell out her concrete doctrinal beliefs, and these, as we have noted, have been the subject of rigorous discussion. To move from one's experience of reality as devoid of the subject-object distinction to the claim that ultimate reality is indeed distinctionless, one would require further argumentation as to why this claim is more plausible than some other interpretations such as a gradual loss of perception or a regression from experiencing the world in its true complexity.

In conclusion, Barth and Radhakrishnan have offered two different interpretations of religious expressions of humanity centered on two distinct pivots. These pivots are "foundational" in the sense that they help to organize the data into a specific pattern. Further, both patterns reject the epistemic parity of all religious traditions and hold that their core beliefs have better epistemic support than those of the alternative schemes. Consequently, the plurality of such patterns, each with its specific background beliefs and internal resources to "defeat" the claims put forward by others, cannot be whittled away if one takes their truth-claims in a realist manner. On such an understanding of the doctrine-expressing statements of religious traditions as having cognitive content, so that they are capable of being true or false and conveying information about extralinguistic entities, Paul Griffiths has proposed the principle of the Necessity of Interreligious Apologetics. According to this principle, when the doctrinal statements of one religious tradition are incompatible with those of another, its representative intellectuals should engage in both negative and positive apologetics with those representing the other. That is, they should show, negatively, the failure of a critique of its central truth-claims about the nature of things or the value of certain courses of action, and, positively, the cognitive superiority of its set of doctrinal statements to that of other traditions. (72) Therefore, the philosopher of religion, whether Christian or Advaitic, has to engage in the difficult task of rationally assessing their own and each other's metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical doctrines, and developing norms to assess the claim of these traditions to provide cognitive access to the nature of reality.

(1) Gavin D'Costa, ed., Christian Uniqueness Reconsidered: The Myth of a Pluralistic Theology of Religions, Faith Meets Faith (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1990).

(2) S. Radhakrishnan, Eastern Religions and Western Thought, 2nd ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1940 [1st. ed., 1939]). p. 283.

(3) S. Radhakrishnan, An Idealist View of Life, Hibbert Lectures for 1929 (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1932), pp. 100-107.

(4) [S.] Radhakrishnan, The Hindu View of Life (London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1927 [2nd printing--New York: Macmillan Co., 1968]), p. 43.

(5) S. Radhakrishnan, Religion in a Changing World (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd.; New York: Humanities Press, 1967), p. 134.

(6) Radhakrishnan, Hindu View, p. 17.

(7) Radhakrishnan, Eastern Religions and Western Thought, pp. 326-327.

(8) Radhakrishnan, Idealist View, p. 345.

(9) Radhakrishnan, Religion in a Changing World, pp. 106- 110.

(10) Radhakrishnan, Hindu View, pp. 7-8.

(11) Radhakrishnan, Idealist View, p. 91.

(12) Ibid., p. 100.

(13) Radhakrishnan, Religion in a Changing World, p. 122.

(14) Radhakrishnan, Hindu View, p. 24.

(15) S. Radhakrishnan, East and West in Religion (London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1933), p. 24.

(16) Radhakrishnan, Eastern Religions and Western Thought, p. 285.

(17) J. A. DiNoia, "Religion and the Religions," in John Webster, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth (Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 247-249.

(18) Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol. 1, The Doctrine of the Word of God, ed. G. W. Bromiley and T. F. Torrance, tr. G. T. Thomson and Harold Knight (Edinburgh: T & T Clark; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1956 [orig.: Die Kirchliche Dogmatik, I: Die Lehre vom Worte Gottes, 2 (Zurich: Evangelischer Verlag, 1932-)]), part 2, p. 294.

(19) Karl Barth, "The Revelation of God as the Abolition of Religion," in John Hick and Brian Hebblethwaite, eds., Christianity and Other Religions. Selected Readings (London: Collins/Fount Paperbacks: Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), pp. 40-42.

(20) Garrett Green. "Challenging the Religious Studies Canon: Karl Barth's Theory of Religion," Journal of Religion 75 (October, 1995): 477.

(21) Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol. 1, part 2, pp. 280-361 ("The Revelation of God as the Abolition of Religion").

(22) Trevor Hart, "Karl Barth, the Trinity, and Pluralism," in Kevin J. Vanhoozer, ed., The Trinity in a Pluralistic Age. Theological Essays on Culture and Religion (Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), p. 139.

(23) Robert N. Minor, "Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on the Nature of 'Hindu' Tolerance," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 50 (June, 1982): 275-290.

(24) Radhakrishnan, Idealist View, p. 92.

(25) Radhakrishnan, Hindu View, p. 25.

(26) Radhakrishnan, East and West in Religion, p. 18.

(27) Radhakrishnan, Hindu View, p. 18.

(28) Keith E. Yandell, The Epistemology of Religious Experience (Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 18-21.

(29) Anantanand Rambachan, Accomplishing the Accomplished: The Vedas as a Source of Valid Knowledge in Sarikara, Monograph No. 10, Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 1991).

(30) Gavin D'Costa, The Meeting of Religions and the Trinity (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000), pp. 61-62.

(31) Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay m Understanding (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988), p. 388.

(32) Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, "Reply to Critics," in Paul Arthur Schilpp, ed., The Philosophy of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, The Library of Living Philosophers (New York: Tudor Publishing Co., 1952), p. 807.

(33) Thomas Kulangara, Absolutism and Theism: A Philosophical Study of S. Radhakrishnan's Attempt to Reconcile Sarikara's Absolutism and Ragmanuja's Theism (Trivandrum, India: MS Publications, 1996), p. 309.

(34) Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy (London: Flamingo, 1994 [orig.--London: Chatto and Windus; New York: Harper & Row, 1945]).

(35) Walter Stace, Mysticism and Philosophy (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1960).

(36) Wayne Proudfoot, Religious Experience (Berkeley, CA, and London: University of California Press, 1985).

(37) Steven Y. Katz, "Language, Epistemology, and Mysticism," in Steven T. Katz, ed., Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 66.

(38) Sallie B. King, "Two Epistemological Models for the Interpretation of Mysticism," Journal of American Academy of Religion 56 (Summer, 1988): 257-279.

(39) Radhakrishnan, Hindu View, p. 19.

(40) Radhakrishnan, Idealist View, pp. 130-134.

(41) Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol. 1, part 2, p. 4.

(42) William C. Piacher, Unapologetic Theology: A Christian Voice in a Pluralistic Conversation (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989), p. 123.

(43) Paul J. Griffiths, "'How Epistemology Matters to Theology," Journal of Religion 79 (January, 1999): 1-18.

(44) Ronald F. Thiernann, Revelation and Theology: The Gospel as Narrated Promise (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985), pp. 154-155.

(45) David H. Kelsey, The Uses of Scripture in Recent Theology (London: SCM Press; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975), p. 164.

(46) Radhakrishnan, Idealist View, p. 92.

(47) Radhakrishnan, Eastern Religions and Western Thought, p. 83.

(48) Ibid., pp. 316-317.

(49) Radhakrishnan, Idealist View, p. 288.

(50) Paul Hacker, "A Prasthanatraya Commentary of Neo-Hinduism: Remarks on the Work of Radhakrishnan," in Wilhelm Halbfass, ed., Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Vedanta (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995), p. 340.

(51) Michael Stoeber, Theo-monistic Mysticism: A Hindu-Chriistian Comparison (Basingstoke, U.K.: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press, 1994), pp. 18-19 and 111-112.

(52) Julius J. Lipner, "Religion and Religions," in G. Parthasarathi and D P. Chattopadhyaya, eds., Radhakrishnan: Centenary Volume (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 149.

(53) Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol. 1, part 2, p. 506.

(54) Colin Brown, Karl Barth and the Christian Message (London: Tyndale Press, 1967), pp 36-38.

(55) Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol. l, part 2, p. 535.

(56) Kenneth Surin, The Turnings of Darkness and Light. Essays in Philosophical and Systematic Theology (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 141-142.

(57) John Baillie, The Idea of Revelation in Recent Thought (London: Oxford University Press; New York: Columbia University Press, 1956), p. 64.

(58) Thiemann, Revelation and Theology, p. 43.

(59) David Brown, The Divine Trinity (London: Duckworth, 1985).

(60) William J. Abraham, "The Epistemological Significance of the Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit," Faith and Philosophy, vol. 7, no. 4 (1990), p. 447.

(61) Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford, U.K., and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 190.

(62) Frederick C. Copleston, Religion and Philosophy (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1974).

(63) John Baillie, Our Knowledge of God (London: Oxford University Press, 1939), pp. 17-27.

(64) Richard Swinburne, The Coherence of Theism (Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1977 [rev. ed.--New York: Oxford University Press, 1993]).

(65) Brian Hebblethwaite, In Defence of Christianity (Oxtord, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2005).

(66) David Basinger, Rehgious Diversity: A Philosophical Assessment (Burlington, VT, and Aldershot, Hants, UK.: Ashgate, 2002).

(67) Paul J. Griffiths and Reinhard Hutter, eds., Reason and the Reasons of Faith (London and New York: T & T Clark International, 2005), p. 7.

(68) William J. Wainwright, Reason and the Heart: A Prolegomenon to a Critique of Passional Reason, Theology for the Twenty-First Century (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995).

(69) William P Alston, "'Realism and the Christian Faith," International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 38 (December, 1995): 37-60.

(70) Radhakrishnan, Idealist View, p. 113.

(71) Radhakrishnan, Hindu View, p. 34.

(72) Paul.I. Griffiths, An Apology for Apologetics: A Study in the Logic of Interreligious Dialogue, Faith Meets Faith (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. 1991). p 15.

Ankur Barua (Hindu) has been a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy of St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi, since 2007, where he teaches Indian and Western philosophy and Indian theories of ethics. He holds a B.Sc. in physics from St. Stephen's College, and both an M.A. and a Ph.D. (2005) in theology and religious studies from Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He participated in conferences in England on Hindu responses to Buddhist theories of the self and in India on religion and modernity, both in 2010. His publications include The Divine Body in History: A Comparative Study of Time and Embodiment in the Theologies of St. Augustine and Ramanuja (Peter Lang, 2009), and articles in the Oxford Journal of Hindu Studies, the Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, the International Journal of Hindu Studies, the Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies, Harvard Theological Review, and Religions of South Asia.
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