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Heaven and Its Inhabitants

Title:Heaven and Its Inhabitants
Author:Walls, Jerry L.
Publication:Heaven / OSO Monographs
Enumeration:vol. 1, no. 9, pp. 63-92/August 2002
Abstract:The basic question addressed here is that of who will be in heaven; this is discussed mainly with respect to the issue of whether the adherents of other (world) religions will be saved. The three main positions that Christian theologians have formulated on the salvation of adherents of other religions are described and assessed from the standpoint of some basic theological claims that an adequate Christian account of other religions must meet; these positions are particularism (also called restrictivism and exclusivism), pluralism, and inclusivism. Before this is done, the author briefly discusses the views of J. A. DiNoia, who has proposed an ingenious way to maintain the unique claims of Christianity while eliminating the element of offence to other religions by stressing their distinct conceptions of salvation. The position is then considered of the salvation of Mohandas (called Mahatma) Gandhi, one of the best-known saints outside the Christian tradition, who rejected Christianity and remained committed to Hinduism. The chapter ends with a discussion of the salvation of infants and others who die at an age before they have had a chance to exercise faith in Christ or develop good character, and of the salvation of subhuman creatures (animals).

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