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Christoph Böttigheimer {*}

Truth and Tolerance

Opposites in the Interreligious Dialogue?


From: Stimmen der Zeit, 11/2007, P. 754-766
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


For some years there has been, contrary to expectations, talk about the "renaissance of religion" {1}. Contrary to the secularization thesis religion has not disappeared from the public interest but on the contrary since the end of the 20th century experiences a revival - though more on the sensational, emotional-aesthetic level and so less in favour of the traditional churches {2}. Though it remains to be seen how this new kind of religiosity develops, one can already today assume that religiousness will not simply dissolve in the secularization process of Western, technically highly developed societies. Also in a "post-secular society" is to be reckoned with religion as an influential factor {3}, particularly since non-Christian religions show an increasing presence in our country. Against the background of our overall socio-cultural situation the religious reality is also in the future to be taken seriously; A dialogue with and between religions is advisable, as a result of which the issue of tolerance is raised anew {4}.

There is another reason why religion increasingly comes into the area of public awareness: At the latest by the act of terrorism of 11 September 2001 the geopolitical importance of religion became apparent for everybody; partly even the spectre of the "clash of cultures" {5} goes round. Already a cursory look into the crisis areas of the earth shows that the religious component in its influence on armed conflicts must not be underestimated, nor vice versa its potential contribution to world peace. More and more proves true to what Hans Küng pointed already decades ago: "No peace among the peoples of the world without peace among the world religions!" {6} The peace of the world depends not least on the peace among the religions and this cannot otherwise succeed than on the path of dialogue.

Thus today we are irreversibly challenged to the interreligious dialogue. The Second Vatican Council urgently reminded Catholics to "talk and (to) cooperate with followers of other religions, ... to recognize, to preserve and promote those spiritual and moral goods and also the socio-cultural values that are to be found with them" and to give on that occasion testimony of their own faith (NA 2). Since the community of the Church is most closely connected with mankind and its history



it is to look for the dialogue with all people and to open to their cultural and religious traditions. But can such an open dialogue succeed at all in view of Christianity's revelation-theological claim to superiority? When Christians are convinced that God revealed to us in Jesus Christ the absolute truth, can they then still tolerantly and openly meet the representatives of other religions? Are Christians not in danger to use their own Christian criteria as basis for judging other religious traditions, and will they not become unable to understand adequately non-Christian religions and to do justice to their respective conception of themselves?

The comprehensive claim to truth at first represents a problem, if not a provocation for the dialogue of religions. In the following it therefore is to be about the question whether the Christian understanding of truth really endangers a tolerant, dialogical communication with other religions. Do the claim to truth and tolerance mutually exclude each other? To answer this question first the Christian claim to truth is examined more in detail and then attention is given to tolerance as a necessary condition of a fruitful dialogue among religions.


Incomparability of the Christ Event

According to Christian understanding Yahweh's salvation-historical self-revelation happens in Jesus of Nazareth, for which the synoptists use the term "gospel" (Mk 1, 14) resp. the formula "gospel of the kingdom" (Mt. 4, 23; 9, 35; 24 , 14; Lk 4, 16-21; 4, 23; 16, 16; 7, 22). The term "gospel" means Good News and implies the statement of a fact: God's kingdom gains acceptance, that's why Jesus' preaching of the Kingdom of God is a Good News; it is the announcement of universal love, perfect reconciliation, comprehensive justice, unsurpassable freedom and true salvation. In it the joy is founded that now present and future belong to God and are just determined by the characteristics of his nature.

Although it is exegetically controversial whether Jesus himself used the term "gospel", he has - according to the testimony of the gospels - clearly placed himself on the spot named by this term. His preaching for instance proves to be a qualitative message with the character of salvation coming true at present, for which his name "Jeschua" is program: "Yahweh saves; he is rescue, salvation." He unmistakably makes it clear that in him, in his person, Yahweh himself "now" and "today" (Lk 4, 21; Jn 2, 4; 7, 39; 17, etc.) becomes rescue and salvation: "But when I expel the demons by God's Spirit then the Kingdom of God has come to you" (Mt 12, 28 par.), then the "Day of Yahweh" is there.



Jesus does not only announce the Good News, he rather quite existentially lives the joy, so that the wedding guests cannot fast as long as the bridegroom is with them (Mk 2, 19). At the same time he lives so much in the relationship to God that he is totally transparent for God and his Kingdom: "Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father" (Jn 14, 9; 4, 34; 5, 19; 7, 16f; 8, 28).

Jesus' awareness of his authority and his indirect claim to be God's self-revelation becomes further apparent in the forgiveness of sin. Jesus kept scandalous company with sinners; this is one of the best documented traits of his appearance. He is aware of the infinity of divine mercy and acts, as it were, instead of God who alone is entitled to forgive sins. Absolution of sins with Jesus takes place out of his own authority. So there is no doubt about Jesus' claim - not even for his adversaries (Lk 23, 3). By his powerful deeds (Lk 17, 20) this claim in addition becomes confirmed and the healing effect of the Kingdom of God symbolically visible and recognizable. Even more than by the miracles people were moved by Jesus' authoritative teaching (Mk 1, 22.27; 11, 18; 12, 17; Mt 22, 33; Lk 4, 22). For he exercised in a sensational way the power of saving proclamation: "Here a wholly new doctrine is proclaimed with authority" (Mt 23, 10).

Jesus places his word beside, yes even above what "had been said to the ancestors" (Mt. 5, 21.33), and claims so to say the final word of God. He talks as parable of God in person not only about God but is the talking of God, whom he confidently and in a most intimate relationship addresses with "Abba" (Mt 11, 25 Virgil). The unique experience of Yahweh in Jesus so proves to be Jesus' claim to be God's final revelation and to bring his final proximity. In him God is present in a totally complete and unique way, and that's why Jesus binds the divine salvation to the eschatological decision for his person. The fate of man will be decided by the relationship to him (Mt. 10, 32f.; Lk 12, 8; Mk 8, 38). That Yahweh could be experienced in Jesus in a unique way became not least apparent in his uncompromising attitude towards his adversaries. Even in suffering and death he maintained his claim and proved its validity - he was obedient "up to the death, even up to death on the cross" (Phil 2, 8). This death on the cross is more than just an expression of loyalty to his message; it is the unsurpassable documentation of God's boundless mercy, since Jesus forgave even his tormentors.

The Kingdom of God beginning with Jesus is the ultimate salvation of mankind. In it God's revelation comes true; that's why Saint Paul can say what in Christ has happened "in a unique way", has happened "once and for all" (Rom 6, 10; Heb 7, 27; 9, 12; 10, 10). The fulfilment of God's revelation in 'the present' is the fulfilment of past promises and in it the anticipation of the eschatological salvation. So finality and universality equally combine with uniqueness.



For the post-Easter Church Jesus is not only an individual figure on the contrary, the concrete-historical Christ event is of universal importance. Christ is God's self-revelation for everybody, once and for all (Heb 1, 1f). The Second Vatican Council sees in the eschatological Christ event the supreme revelation stage and thus also the highest salvation stage reached, that's why no further reaching public revelation of God and no better reality of salvation can be expected (DV 4). Christ is the ultimate, once and for all said Word of God; in him God says himself and everything.


Specific Characteristic of Christianity

The importance of the Kingdom of God motif for Christianity was at the Second Vatican Council rediscovered as central idea of Christianity, as the Church's proclamation task and as the epitome of soteriological abundance (LG 5, 9, 19; GS 45; AG 1). But that does not mean that until then the question about the "essence of Christianity" had not been asked. It had, albeit still somewhat vaguely, already emerged in the medieval theology or mysticism, but was then asked more decisively by the Reformers and finally in the Enlightenment theology.

At the end of the 18th century it gained central importance in the Protestant theology, when it came to a comparison of Christianity with other religions. In this context above all Hegel in his religious and philosophical speculation coined the expression about Christianity as "absolute religion" {7}. Contrary to the enlightened relativization of the Christian religion he wanted to show that the concept of religion - unification of the mind with God in the act of reason - is interpreted in the "individual religions" of history, but achieves its realization only in the "absolute religion": in Christianity. In it the concept of religion has become the content of religion itself and so returned to itself. In Christianity, the "absolute religion", therefore concept and reality are in the highest form reconciled with each other, the absolute mind has consistently become world.

Based on the religious and philosophical speculation of the German Idealism the formula "absoluteness of Christianity", which takes up the "interpretation of Christianity as the 'absolute religion'" {8}, in the liberal theology since 1830 gained an apologetic meaning: Since only in the Christian religion the aim of all religions, the reconciliation between God and man is realized, the historical religions develop - in the sense of a purposeful process of progress - towards Christianity. Such a dogmatic claim to exclusivity of Christianity was however at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century destroyed by the so-called "Religious-Historical School".



It distinguished itself by a radical historicism, since it tried to understand the origin of Christianity, especially of the Scriptures and the early Christian tradition in the context of the history of human thought and culture, which lead to a more intense examination of the non-Christian religions and their influences on Christianity.

For the religious-historical school the relationship between history and truth had become a problem, which it could only solve by holding open the question of truth. The aporia between history and the absolute dissolves as a seeming one when one associates with the formula "absoluteness of Christianity" not ideas like something without a history or abstractness, but strongly emphasizes that the non-derivable novelty stems from the movement of the divine revelation into history that finds its culmination in the historical Christ event and in the Kingdom of God dawning with it. An abstract idea of Christianity as "true religion" {9} had in history mostly disastrous results, especially since it became the moral and religious support of the Western cultural imperialism. Whenever Christianity connected with its own religious system a naive, triumphalism without a history this resulted in intolerance.

When God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ and his message of the Kingdom of God are believed it means neither that the Christian religion is directly revealed by God nor that it was immune from any mistake or always developed in accordance with the spirit of Jesus Christ. "With the Christian too religion (can) be taken ill and become superstition", that's why "the concrete religion, in which faith is lived, must always be cleansed by truth" {10}. The church after all is a community of believers on the way on pilgrimage through time and history, itself burdened with sin and consequently always called by Christ, its head, to his perfection (Eph 4, 13; Col 2, 2). On their historical way of discipleship Christians can never in an exhaustive way bring up for discussion's the abundance of Jesus Christ, they always stay behind their Lord and are therefore challenged to continual self-criticism.


Salvation, Truth and non-Christian Religions

The claim to final validity applies only to God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ. The Christ event and the foundation of God's Kingdom is the culmination of the divine history of revelation and so also the culmination of the history of salvation. People are not only informed about their salvation by God's revelation, salvation is communicated to them, provided they believe in the message of God's Kingdom and so participate in God's reality.



Furthermore the knowledge of truth correlates with the salvation as participation in God's Kingdom and reality. Salvation and truth must be seen together (DV 11) - good and truth cannot be separated.

Truth and salvation are correlative - the success of truth is the success of man {11}. Hence religious traditions promise not only salvation but at the same time lay claim to truth. All religions lay claim to objective truth, because they claim to talk about God not only in a subjective but an objective true sense and to solve the sense question: "Where a religion does not force on the question of truth it is either without relation to the outward reality or has died in itself." {12} Christianity's claim to absolute authority is anything but singular:" All ... religions raise the very claim the Christian religion raises too. "{13} For the members of a religion their respective religious system presents itself as the only valid and therefore obligating one.

In the biblical confession of Christ the claims to truth and salvation are right from the beginning closely related to each other - Christ is the salvation and the truth of man (Jn 18, 37) {14}. Since in the Incarnation of the divine Logos truth became in an unsurpassable way apparent in the world, the Christ event lays claim to universal salvation and truth. Out of that now again no false conclusions must be drawn: On the one hand it is again strictly to be taken into account that the claim to truth belongs to the Christ event and not to the Christian religion as such. The Church of Jesus Christ does not own the truth, as little as it is free to decide what to do with the salvation. Jesus Christ, that is a person is the salvation and truth of man, and the church is promised to take part in it provided that it lets itself be led by Christ, its head, and time and again converts to him.

On the other hand the Christian claim to truth does not imply the claim to exclusiveness. From the outset the church did not lay claim to the monopoly on truth, but acknowledged truth and salvation also in non-Christian traditions. Since in Christ Creation and Salvation culminate (Col 1, 13) there is only one truth and just one, all-encompassing Salvation order, and therefore every salvation and every knowledge of truth originates always in Jesus Christ. Since the truth on Salvation is indivisible the extra-Christian salvation can on principle only originate in Jesus Christ, who alone is in person the abundance of salvation and truth. In this sense all people - wherever and in what-ever way they achieve salvation - are included in Jesus Christ's work of salvation. Against this background the early Church Fathers also in other religious traditions recognized fragments of the one divine event of revelation.

Other religions too can contain true and holy things (NA 2; AG 11), and can give all people the possibility to work their salvation (LG 14-17; AG 3;



GS 22); God can "lead them to faith on roads that he knows" (AG 7)- even atheists can achieve salvation on ways only known to God (LG 16). That corresponds to God's universal will of salvation that the salvation of Christ applies "not only for Christians but for all people of good will in whose hearts grace invisibly works (see LG 16). Since Christ has died for all ( cf. Rom 8, 32) and since there is in fact only one final vocation of man - the divine -, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers everybody the possibility to join this paschal mystery in a way known to God" (GS 22).

Although non-Christian religions too contain true and holy things this of course does not mean that the world religions are equivalent with regard to the soteriological aspect. If it were so the Salvation ways of the various religions had all to be regarded as legitimate paths to salvation, and then the Christian Mission had - as once Hubertus Halbfas formulated - "no other concern than that a Hindu became a better Hindu, a Buddhist a better Buddhist, and a Muslim a better Muslim" {15}. Such a view can only be taken by somebody who has said goodbye to the question of salvation and truth and blindly leaves it to the religious systems, just as if religions had a monopoly of the communication of salvation and truth. Then salvation and truth would always be communicated as soon as the respective system is named "religion" {16}. Such a view of salvation is already rejected within the Bible: Out of acting according to the regulations of one's religion does not necessarily result salvation, as the parable of the Good Samaritan demonstrates in an exemplary way (Lk 10, 25-37). Since the religious fulfilment of commandments must not at all result in taking part in salvation it is however wrong to say: "The main thing is you have religion," the rest is done by the functional mechanism of the religious system, whether true or false, whether sense or nonsense.

The question of Salvation must not simply be separated from the question of truth, because truth and salvation are closely joined with each other. To bind the question of Salvation without regard to the question of truth to a system of religious standards is only seemingly progressive. Joseph Ratzinger rightly observes:

"In truth they (such theories) raise conservatism to a world-view: Everyone was blessed by his system. But not the system and the observance of a system save man but what is more than all systems and what is the opening of all systems: love and faith, which are the real end of selfishness and self-destructive hubris." {17}

Hence religions and the components of their systems are for the sake of truth and man's salvation to be critically examined and then to be questioned what they can contribute to the reconciliation between God and man. It is an important characteristic of Christian faith that it was from the beginning devoted to philosophical reason.



As already Saint Peter's first letter calls to give account to everybody who asks about the rationality of the Christian faith (1 Pet 3, 15), so vice versa from a Christian point of view all religious conceptions of salvation must undergo a detailed critical and argumentative discourse on truth. Instead of disregarding the question of truth it is to be aspired to in the interreligious dialogue; it cannot be avoided in Christian theology. The dialogue of religions only makes sense provided it is used as instrument of common truth-finding - for the sake of man's salvation. There can be no renunciation of the Christian claim to truth; but is then still an honest and open dialogue possible? Does the Christian claim to truth go with the virtue of tolerance?


Tolerance and Christian Faith

Representatives of the so-called pluralistic theology of religion assert that starting from Christianity's revelation-theological claim to superiority non-Christian religions could be adjudicated only a conditional value. That ultimately undermined an honest interreligious dialogue. This could only be lead at the same eye level, if one did not beforehand maintain one was already in possession of the comprehensive criterion of truth. So religion pluralists demand to give up the Christian claim to superiority and to hold open the question of truth. They take as their starting-point a last truth in or behind this reality, the unity of God embracing all religions, and in which the final community of all religions striving for that divine reality, is based. The centre common to all of them was in the religions in each case revealed in different forms, and it must be added that the cultural conditions of a certain phase of history influenced the individuation. Hence Jesus Christ should not be made absolute; rather other historical revelations of God were to put beside the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was one mediator of meeting God, not the mediator, and even less a God in person. The Christian conviction should be understood as a subjective one and not as "statement of the last final revelation given by God" {18}.

But the representatives of the pluralistic theology of religion till now have not succeeded in conceiving a convincing new Christology. Is a relativization of the importance for salvation of the Christ event and the exclusion of the question of truth for the sake of tolerance necessary anyway? What does the term "tolerance" stand for? Tolerance means first "put up with" or "bear" various and different things. In Latin the word "tolerare" has also an active meaning in the sense of "making (something) bearable", in other words "respect" or "recognize". Does now the bearing or even recognizing of differences inevitably mean



to give up the claim to truth and to adopt the attitude of indifference, just as Nietzsche accused tolerance "to be the inability to Yes and No" {19}? The history of religion differentiates between a "formal" resp. "weak" and a "from the point of view of content" resp. "strong" tolerance {20}. As moral obligation it does not refer to the content of a religious conviction, but "to the ethics and - not to be underestimated - the etiquette, i.e. the ritual behaviour, clothes, appearance, in a word: the lifestyle of a religion" {21}. Such a tolerant behaviour is not marked by giving up one's claim to truth but by recognizing the other person's religious identity and religious lifestyle. A genuine, open dialogue presupposes that the dialogue partners on the one hand have something to say, i.e. they are secure in their religious beliefs and also announce them; on the other hand, that the vis-à-vis is not despised because of its being different but tolerated, i.e. recognized and moreover that one also tries to understand the foreign religion by changing one's perspective: "Dialogue presupposes the recognition of the other person. Only a conversation among equal partners can be called dialogue." {22}.

The declaration for the uniqueness of the Christ event implies the declaration for the uniqueness of man as God's image, for whose sake the divine love became flesh. That means every interreligious dialogue is to be lead on the basis of all people's dignity renewed by Christ; only who respects the other one in its being different can confess the unique Christ event. Hence the basic requirement of an honest dialogue, the respect for the equal dialogue partner can consequently also be underpinned by Christology. By accepting and estimating as equal the other one's being different for the sake of the dignity given to it by Christ, the virtue of tolerance as "civilizing the difference" {23} gets a religious foundation. Hence the foundations for a tolerant, dialogical communication will not be taken away by the belief in the unsurpassable self-communication of God's boundless loving-kindness in Jesus Christ, quite the reverse, they are deepened:

"In the history of Christianity it has been often forgotten that tolerance belongs to the truth of the Christian faith, because it declares its faith in the Christ who has died for all... For the sake of God's tolerance in Christ's cross the striving for human tolerance belongs to the truth of the Christian faith." {24}

The Christian faith does not only justify a formal tolerance but in some respects also a 'strong' one combined with a certain relativization of the Christian claim to absolute authority {25}. For if the dignity founded in the Christ event is granted to the other one, it must at the same time be conceded



that the God who finally revealed and announced in Jesus Christ his universal love remains also for Christians a mystery. On the part of man the attitude of reverence corresponds to God's transcendence. Vice versa one has to take as one's starting-point God's reverence for man, since God despite his historical revelation - concedes man a creaturely freedom. This reverence of God for man requires to meet man equally reverently, i.e. to refrain radically from wanting to tell him what he has to do, and absolutely to respect the freedom of his conscience, even of a conscience that is mistaken about the truth of salvation.

Truth, love and tolerance inseparably belong together: "Guided by love we want to keep to truth" (Eph 4, 15). As God's love is favourably disposed towards man to the last extreme and by this exactly does not pocket him but liberate to new freedom (Gal 4, 21-5, 6; 2 Cor 3, 17; Jn 16, 7-15), so Christian faith wants in a free discourse determined by love to struggle together with other religions for truth, without restricting others in their freedom or imposing its will on them in a know-all manner. Admittedly the interreligious dialogue requires apart from tolerance towards the religious conviction of others also obedience to one's own truth. Nevertheless the interreligious dialogue is free of compulsions; why the result of the conversation cannot be determined in advance and can sometimes be painful: "Dialogues interested in truth (are) of such a kind ... that there can be corrections on all sides, and thus no dialogue participant leaves the dialogue completely unchanged. "{26}

Still a further aspect is to be mentioned in the Christian justification of 'strong' (doctrinal) tolerance while at the same time holding on to absolute authority: When for Christians God himself in the Incarnate Logos is the absolutely necessary criterion of truth {27}, so with this Christ event the divine truth is "embodied in time and history" {28}; "it can be recognized in history but exceeds this history" {29} and that's why it can be grasped by man in his being trapped in history only in a temporary way - a truism that was not first brought to light by the pluralistic theology of religion but was already known to the Apostle Paul (2 Cor 4, 7; 1 Cor 13, 12). Theological knowledge remains a "torso" (1 Cor 13, 9), it is subject to the eschatological reservation. "The length and width, the height and depth" of God's salvation in Jesus Christ (Eph 3, 18) can never be exhausted by man.

Hence it is specially to be differentiated between the state of faith and that of vision (Rom 8, 24; 2 Cor 5, 7), and the conviction of the abundance of truth and salvation in Jesus Christ must not be confused with the final possession of truth. Definitive truth criteria will so long not prevent a real dialogue as is admitted that the Christian confession is never free of obscuration



and therefore also Christians are always to look for God's always major truth: "Even Christians cannot claim to understand him who is incomprehensible, to have grasped him who is unfathomable." {30}

Jesus Christ's importance for the human knowledge of God can be understood only in a historical, continual communication process. In it all religious (beliefs) convictions are of weight and depend on each other. For from a Christian perspective all religions can on principle participate in Christ's grace and be an expression of the work of God's Spirit (Jn 3, 8). Thus one has to concede on principle that all dialogue partners are capable of recognizing truth, and that's why the Christian theology "is to remain open for the possible truth of someone else... whose religion can (definitely) be the place of a real meeting with God" {31}; It has always to reckon with the possibility that it is taught by other religions a deeper knowledge of the way of salvation. For that reason the Christian dialogue partner does not only inform but also listen, not only give but also receive - all can learn from each other.

To know that one is called for by God's truth in Jesus Christ does not exclude to enter into a fruitful discourse with other religious convictions, which does not at once stand under the compulsion of self-assertion and repulsion of the other one. On the contrary, an interreligious dialogue can first be an invitation to self-examination on the search for a fuller cognition of truth. Both the Pastoral Constitution of the Second Vatican Council (GS 1) and the Pontifical Secretariat for non-Christians explicitly invite to such a discourse: "The mutual checking, the improvement of the one by the other one, the fraternal exchange of the respective gifts lead to ever greater maturity." {32}



The question of truth must be an integral part of the interreligious dialogue, already for the mere reason that it is inseparably linked with the question of Salvation: Truth of God is the truth of man's salvation. Actually some claim to truth is connected with every religion provided that it promises salvation to its followers resp. sees itself as means of salvation. To leave beside the respective understanding of salvation and truth in the interreligious dialogue is not refraining from a supposedly arrogant know-all manner, but is ultimately an expression of intolerance and disdain of the other one, from whom the information on the core of one's own faith and with it one's own identity is withheld: "The confession ... belongs to the true interreligious dialogue." {33}

To profess one's faith in the uniqueness and incomparability of the Christ event does not endanger the Christian's capability of dialogue, as long as he knows of the eschatological reservation



and is serious about the fact that truth is not attached to the Christian religious system but to the Christ event, that the riches of this revelation event "simply surpass the powers of comprehension of the human mind" (DV 5), and this truth consequently is not static but dynamic, no possession but a person, and therefore can only be achieved by doing (Jn 3, 21). In this doing of truth the Christian faith knows itself obliged to an unreserved charitable commitment to the other one, who is God's image (Gen 1, 27).

The holding on to the Christian claim to truth provokes in view of a "widespread pluralism euphoria" {34}, but nevertheless it is strictly speaking the indispensable pre-condition for the dialogue of the religions and not less for tolerance towards other religions. For only "in the struggle for truth the interreligious dialogue finds its objective" {35}, and only the claim to absolute authority raised by the religions enables respectively compels to a tolerant relationship between the religions. For when no justified, religious convictions compete with each other the virtue of tolerance, which has nothing to do with relativism or indifference, is no longer necessary.



{1} See Renaissance der Religion. Mode oder Megathema, HerKorr Spezial (2006).

{2} H.-J. Höhn, Renaissance der Religion? Klärendes zu einer umstrittenen These, in HerKorr 60 (2006) 605-608.

{3} J. Habermas, Glauben u. Wissen. Friedenspreis des Börsenvereins des Deutschen Buchhandels 2001. Laudation: Jan Philipp Reemtsma (Frankfurt 2001) 13.

{4} For good reasons for instance the Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in autumn 2006 invited Islamic representatives to the "German Islam-Conference" into Charlottenburg Castle.

{5} S. P. Huntington. The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order (New York 1998).

{6} H. Küng and others, Christentum u. Weltreligionen. Hinführung zum Dialog mit Islam, Hinduismus, Buddhismus (München 1984) 621.

{7} L. Scheffczyk, G. W. Fr. Hegels Konzeption der "Absolutheit des Christentums" unter gegenwärtigem Problemaspekt, Bayrische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Sitzungsberichte (2000) H. 5.

{8} F. W. Graf, Absolutheit des Christentums, in WbChr (Gütersloh 1988) 22f.,22.

{9} Already Saint Augustine fought against a too guileless identification of true religion und Christianity (Retractationum I, 13); after: Aurelius Augustinus, Die Retractationen in zwei Büchern - Retractationum libri duo (Paderborn 1976) 63.

{10} J. Ratzinger, Die Vielfalt der Religionen u. der Eine Bund (Hagen 1998) 119.

{11} M. Seckler, Theologie der Religionen mit Fragezeichen, in: the same, Die schiefen Wände des Lehrhauses (Freiburg 1988) 50-70, 66.

{12} K. Schwarzwäller, Wahrheit u. Religion, in: Religion u. Wahrheit. Religionsgeschichtliche Studien (FS Gernot Wiessner, Wiesbaden 1998) 297-313. 307.

{13} C. H. Ratschow, Die Religionen, in: HSTh, volume 16 (Gütersloh 1979) 120; G. Mensching, Toleranz u. Wahrheit in der Religion (Hamburg 1966) 139-144.



{14} Ch. Böttigheimer, Interreligiöses Gespräch auf Augenhöhe?, in: Cath (M) 56 (2002) 159-172; the same, Christlicher Heilsweg im Religionspluralismus, in this periodical 222 (2004) 51-62; the same, Die Relevanz der Wahrheitsfrage für den interreligiösen Dialog. Eine religionstheologische Fragestellung, in: Jesus hominis salvator. Christlicher Glaube in moderner Gesellschaft (FS Walter Mixa, Regensburg 2006) 121-134.

{15} H. Halbfas, Fundamentalkatechetik. Sprache u. Erfahrung im Religionsunterricht (Düsseldorf 1968) 241.

{16} Seckler (note 11) 65.

{17} J. Ratzinger, Kein Heil außerhalb der Kirche?, in: the same, Das neue Volk Gottes. Entwürfe zur Ekklesiologie (Düsseldorf 1969) 339-361, 356.

{18} P. F. Knitter, Nochmals die Absolutheitsfrage. Gründe für eine pluralistische Theologie der Religionen, in: EvTh 48 (1989) 505-516, 513.

{19} F. Nietzsche, Aus dem Nachlaß der Achtzigerjahre, in: works in 3 volumes, edited by K. Schlechta, volume 3 (München 1956) 516.

{20} G. Mensching, Toleranz, in: RGG³, volume 6, 932f.

{21} Th. Sundermeier, Toleranz u. Dialog in der Vielfalt der Kulturen u. Religionen. Die Stellung des christlichen Glaubens gegenüber ihrem traditionellen universalen Verkündigungsauftrag, in: Einheitsglaube oder Einheit im Glauben, hg. v. J.G. Piepke (Nettetal 2001) 69-91, 82.

{22} at the same place 81.

{23} M. Walzer, Über Toleranz. Von der Zivilisierung der Differenz (Hamburg 1998).

{24} W. Huber, Das Ende der multireligiösen Schummelei. Das Gebot der Toleranz entbindet nicht von der Wahrheitsfrage, in: ZEE 46 (2002) 3-5, 4.

{25} H.-G. Stobbe, Ehrfurcht u. Achtsamkeit. Religiöse Grundlagen der Toleranz, in: Christentum u. Toleranz, edited by I. Broer u. R. Schlüter (Darmstadt 1996) 122-134, 131 ff.

{26} H. Waldenfels, Christus u. die Religionen (Regensburg 2002) 116.

{27} Papst Johannes Paul II., Enzyklika Fides et ratio (VApSt 135, Bonn 1998) Nr. 2; 7; 10.

{28} in the same place No. 11.

{29} in the same place No. 95.

{30} H. Küng, Theologie im Aufbruch (München 1987) 306.

{31} H. Kessler, Trialog zwischen Juden, Christen u. Muslimen. Überlegungen aus einer christlichen Perspektive, in this periodical 223 (2005) 171-182, 172.

{32} Päpstliches Sekretariat für die Nichtchristen, Dialog u. Mission. Gedanken u. Weisungen über die Haltung der Kirche gegenüber den Anhängern anderer Religionen, in: OR (D) 14 (1984) No. 34/35, 10f.

{33} Waldenfels (note 26) 97.

{34} G. Neuhaus, Christlicher Absolutheitsanspruch u. interreligiöse Dialogfähigkeit, in: ThG 43 (2000) 92.

{35} P. Steinacker, Absolutheitsanspruch u. Toleranz. Systematisch-Theologische Beiträge zur Begegnung der Religionen (Frankfurt 2006) 13.


    {*} Are the claim to truth and tolerance in the interreligious dialogue mutually exclusive? CHRISTOPH BÖTTIGHEIMER, Professor of Fundamental Theology at the Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt expounds the Christian claim to truth and describes against the background of the belief in Jesus Christ tolerance as necessary condition for a fruitful dialogue.


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