A recent panel discussion at Fordham University asked what religious traditions could learn from those who label themselves “spiritual but not religious.”
Father Peter Phan, whose book Being Religious Interreligiously: Asian Perspectives on Interfaith Dialogue caused the bishops to issue a statement in 2007 saying the book contained “certain pervading ambiguities and equivocations that could easily confuse or mislead the faithful,” was on the panel of three academics.
At the conference, Fr. Phan, the Ignacio Ellacuria Professor of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University, called spiritual seekers “trailblazers,” according to Fordham’s website.
He reportedly argued that that Christians should learn from the doctrinal beliefs, ethical norms and spiritual practices of other beliefs.
Fordham also states that he said religion is entering a phase which is less about individual consciousness and more about global consciousness.
“In the global consciousness of the Second Axial period, the religions [must] . . . share their treasures and wisdom—not to form a global and undifferentiated super religion, but to enable a richer, more dynamic and complex form of religious consciousness,” he reportedly said. “In many ways, the SBNR’s [spiritual but not religious] are paving the way forward with this global consciousness.”
Fr. Phan’s book diminished the special role of Jesus in salvation and indicated that salvation could be achieved without Him in non-Christian churches. The work is at variance with Dominus Iesus, issued by the Vatican in 2000.
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