This book is an exploration into the paradoxical structure of pluralistic thinking as illuminated by both Western and Eastern insights—especially Jainism. By calling into question the most fundamental assumptions of religious pluralists, the author hopes to contribute to a paradigm shift in discourse on religious pluralism and conflicting truth claims.
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“In a way, this book emerged out of my research in India with the International School of Jain Studies. What I found within Jainism was a comfortability with what we might term ‘paradox.’ Much of the violence between members of different faith communities is the result of black/white, either/or binary frameworks. To claim that one religion is true is often to imply that another religion is false. Even religious pluralists (like John Hick and John Cobb) seem to maintain this either/or binary framework by adopting the principle of non-contradiction (the idea that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time). But Jain philosophy transcends these true-false binaries; offering a vision of reality that is inherently paradoxical – even going so far as to paradoxically affirm that some contradictions are true. In my book, I argue that this paradoxical thinking could serve as the foundation for a new kind of religious pluralism – a deeper religious pluralism. If we can make sense of religious difference in a way that contradictory ultimate systems can be reconciled in their ultimacy, I think we will have a better philosophical basis for promoting peace and understanding between religions (and beyond.)”