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Pub Theology Meetup – ReVisioning Series
June 5 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm EST
“Can a theology group assume a ‘common ground’ approach that accommodates all religious and skeptical views? Please be prepared to say why you agree or disagree with the ‘common ground’ approach of Pub Theology.”
One Person’s Perspective:
I have a comment about the “common ground” approach, if I understand it correctly. It sounds like it assumes a level of neutrality that doesn’t exist in real life! I’ll ask a few questions for discussion (and again, I’m open to correction of my understanding since I’ve only attended a couple of times): Does this pluralist approach assume a secularist viewpoint? Does it favor a more liberal vs. a more conservative or traditional stance? I’ll make the question sharper: Why not embrace a genuine and robust pluralism that heightens confessional stances, rather than cede that “theology” (of whichever religious tradition) could be done on a presumed ground of neutrality? A theology group of various religious perspectives could still invite secularists to join theological discussion. An open and pluralistic group could also encourage those with whom one disagrees, even fundamentalists, to sit down at table as a genuine act of tolerance! I’ll offer a concrete example of what I’m getting at from one of the few times I attended: When during a discussion of faith and doubt in the face of evil and suffering, I offered my take on Job. A skeptic in the group expressed his dislike of what he called my “imposing” a religious view on him. Of course I was simply expressing my personal view, and he in fact was imposing his secularist view on me! I think the so-called “common ground” approach can lead to this kind of confusion and to a weak view of pluralism (or what David Tracy calls “lazy pluralism” in The Analogical Imagination).
I’d be interested in a theology group that understands “common ground” to mean openness to and discussion of confessional traditions across various religious spectrums even while it included non-believers or anti-theologians in such discussion, rather than a supposed commonality of approach between believers and skeptics or even among believers.
by Todd Speidell
Organizer’s Note: You can read Todd’s original post and begin our discussion online at https://www.meetup.com/opentableasheville/messages/boards/thread/50793849