Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Steven M. Cahn

Subject Categories

Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Religions and Peace, Religions in peace, Religion, Truth and Reason


Can All Religions Live In Peace?

Religion is identified as one of the main factors that divide humanity. Pluralists like, John Hick identify the conflicting truth claims or the doctrines of different religions as the basis for religious exclusivism. Hick accuses the exclusivists of being epistemically arrogant and morally oppressive. His remedy for eradicating exclusivism is that every religion with conflicting truth claims should reinterpret these claims so as to share an outlook with other religions. Alvin Plantinga, a critic of Hick, contradicts Hick on behalf of a believer or an exclusivist.He argues that for a believer his beliefs are true and all that are not in line with his beliefs are

wrong. According to Plantinga an exclusivist's epistemic arrogance is justified as he/she is epistemically favored by God. Furthermore Plantinga says that if the exclusivists are morally oppressive pluralists are also for the same reason. Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski, another critic of Hick, focuses her discussion on the gap between rationality and truth. However, she finds that Hick solves the problem in a sense when he acknowledges

that all religions are capable of communicating the divine to their respective believers, and all offer ways to salvation. She also points out three possible dangers involved in Hick's position. Moreover, Zagzebski proposes that trust in one's own belief is the decisive factor in one's religious convictions.This essay aims to find a philosophical ground for the peaceful co-existence of religions. To be different from others is our existential situation. A religion is different from other religions based on its fundamental doctrines about the divine reality, which are incomprehensible or unfathomable. Hick's Kantian analysis helps us realize that all the knowledge we can have is only phenomenal. On that ground, no religion can claim to be superior to all other religions. However, Hick's conclusion that all religions must modify their contradicting truth claims to be in line with other religions could be naive. Each religion is superior to other religions from the perspective of its followers. However, peace among religions is possible philosophically, especially as we are aware of our limitations in knowing the truth, and we respect others as they also search for the same.