Defense Date

Spring 3-28-2017

Availability

Worldwide Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

Theology

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Marinus Iwuchukwu

Committee Member

Elizabeth Cochran

Committee Member

Sebastian Madathummuriyil

Committee Member

Theodore Corcovilos

Keywords

Creation Theology, Interdisciplinary, Interreligious Dialogue, Philosophy of Religion, Quantum Entanglement, Relational Ontology

Abstract

Globalization, technological advances, and worldviews that perceive religious others with suspicion, all intensify society’s awareness of religious plurality and the subsequent necessity for effective interreligious dialogue. Engaging in interreligious dialogue through daily encounters, conversations, common concerns, and shared religious experiences advances religious pluralism. Nevertheless, the current state of interreligious dialogue is at an impasse; its existing substantive ontological approaches introduce, perpetuate, or worsen challenges of hegemony, elitism, and marginalization, as well as tensions between the diametric goals of religious unity versus unique religious identity. Substantive ontological models emphasize religious autonomy instead of any relational connections between religious traditions. These prevalent methods hinder effective interreligious dialogue.

In response, this project proposes relational ontology as a constructive method to address existing issues within interreligious dialogue. Relational ontology asserts that reality is being as being–in–relation. By employing relational ontology, interreligious dialogue participants recognize their fundamental interconnected unity while respecting each religious tradition’s particularity. Moreover, relationality assists in neutralizing power inequalities and marginalization. To illustrate relational ontology and explain its advantages for interreligious dialogue, this project evaluates the models of quantum entanglement and Christianity’s Creator/creation relationship. Placing interdisciplinary perspectives from science and religion in dialogue essentially instantiates the project’s methodology, it validates relational ontology as an effective method for improving the effectiveness of interreligious dialogue.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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