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Reminds me of a conversation with Gabe in Hopkins Hall (just a little nostalgia...). Gabe was my leader in a Christian group, and we were talking about trying to evangelize. I asked him if someone could "get saved" (we were very stage 2) if they didn't believe Jesus was the only way to God. I remember the confused look on his face, because he knew the rules meant he should say "no" but yet his heart seemed to want to say "of course".
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"But it doesn't seem to me to be a loss for the cause of Jesus that Americans currently profile as syncretists rather than conformist civil religionists." Dave, I think you've put your finger on one of the central distinctions of your point of view from mainstream evangelicalism. I think you are absolutely right. Classic evangelistic approaches have been beating their heads against the brick wall of syncretism for decades. Even the best apologists (Chesterton, Lewis, Keller) have offered brilliant formulations, which are helpful on their own terms. But in reality, this move towards syncretism was a sociological shift, not philosophical. Interestingly, Lewis tried to rebel against this trend in his apologetics (think "liar, lunatic, or lord", which, tangentially was very thoughtful stuff that Josh Mcdowell stole and ruined), but he didn't so much in his fiction. I think your 'deeper magic' reference is right one, and the space trilogy could move along these lines. I don't remember where, but Lewis said that after sexuality and pride, his greatest temptation was the occult. Let's follow this line of thought some more, both about syncretism, and (can you tell my bias) maybe about Lewis? Maybe after the Rohr thing. Maybe I'll try to come up with a guest post.
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