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My Neighbour’s God

Interfaith Spaces and Claims of Religious Identity

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Edited By Andreas Kunz-Lübcke

In the latest discussion on the relations between religions, it has often been argued that monotheism necessarily leads to intolerance and exclusivism. A religion which claims to worship «the one and only true God» is inevitably forced to reject every religious behaviour and practices of «the Other». But is this really the case? This volume contains contributions which discuss the major question: What are the instruments and the strategies used in different religious settings where interreligious encounter is part of daily life? Most of the contributions concentrate on the challenges of theology in the context of India. A special focus will be on approaches for interreligious coexistence derived from Biblical or Systematic Theology.

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My Neighbour’s God: Joseph and Jonah as Examples of a Pluralistic Monotheism

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Abstract: Monotheistic believers are suspected to be necessarily intolerant towards other religions and their followers. The basis for this hermeneutic of suspicions is the idea that a monotheistic religious system accepts only the One God who does not allow the existence of other divine entities besides him and who demands to be the exclusive focus of every human kind of worship. Consequently, a monotheistic believer must necessarily reject the belief in representatives of other religions. Firstly, this paper will present some critical and prominent voices, which argue that a monotheistic belief leads necessarily to intolerance and readiness for violence. However, a closer look into the Biblical literature that demonstrates that accusations like this are not appropriate in every case. Through the examples of the narratives about Joseph and Jonah, this paper will demonstrate that Biblical monotheism has developed strategies, which allow its followers to accept the otherness of the other.

Keywords: monotheism and its alleged intolerance; Biblical voices for religious plurality

1. Monotheism and the Hermeneutics of Suspicion

The debate about religion(s) is back. Under the pressure of an increasing number of Muslim refugees seeking shelter and/or a better future within the European Community in the last several years, the public debate on religion has gained ground. At the core of the debate is the relation between individual freedom and the public appearance of radical monotheistic - in this case Muslim - groups.

For example: Is the full-body veil...

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