What are Christians to make of religious diversity? Are other religions simply wrong? Is this great multiplicity something to appreciate and foster? Is there any way to judge whether one religion is better than ather, or are all equally good options? What has brought about such a wealth of diversity and tension in the first place? Charles Jones traces the rich history of Christianity's many encounters with other religions, from the Roman Empire and Paul's speech to the Athenians on Mars Hill (Acts 17:16-34) to the discovery of n-European peoples, through various currents of philosophy and science, and in both the peaceful and violent meetings of Christianity and other religions today. Jones suggests that there are patterns to the way people meet across religious boundaries. He helps us see the tension between our desire for religious coherence and our need to build bridges to avert conflict and foster good relations-the tension between integrity and openness. By the end of the book, readers will have a sense of the history of Christianity's engagement with religious diversity, as well as tools to move interfaith life forward. Excellent for parish education and informal discussion groups, this eye-opening guide takes a vital step in our understanding of our roles in a world of religious diversity.
Charles B. Jones is associate professor in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, where he specializes in East Asian religions and serves as executive director of the Institute for Interreligious Study and Dialogue. He earned a Master of Theological Studies degree from the Divinity School at Duke University in 1988, and a Ph.D. in History of Religions from the University of Virginia in 1996. He has written several articles on Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and is a resource person for the Episcopal Church's Interfaith Education Initiative. He lives in Maryland with his wife Brenda and son Trevor, and near his daughter Chenoa.