Matt Anderson, Ph.D.


Education: Bachelor of Arts in history and philosophy (May 2007)

Master of Science in counseling from Mid-America Nazarene University

Doctor of Philosophy in counseling psychology from University of Missouri-Kansas City

McNair Project: How Do We Understand Religious Diversity?: The Religious Pluralist Response to Religious Diversity (2005)

Mentor: James Hamilton, Ph.D.

As human society has become more global, the religions of the world have come into greater contact with one another. These contacts have brought about greater understanding of the diversity of the world religions. This diversity has caused a question to arise in academia, especially in philosophy of religion: how can we understand and deal with the conflicting truth claims among the diversity of world religions? Within my research I have dealt with the religious pluralist and religious exclusivist responses, because they both rely on the assumption of some 'transcendent reality'. Religious Pluralism claims that all the world religions are responses to the same transcendent reality, while religious exclusivism claims that only one religion truly responds to the transcendent reality.

The most famous modern proponent of religious pluralism is John Hick, and so his work was the focus of this research. The goal of my research was to understand John Hick's religious pluralism and to find out the current state of the discussion. His book, An Interpretation of Religion: Human Responses to the Transcendent, provided the framework to his argument, and then I read many essays arguing for and against Hick's religious pluralism, and his responses to some of them. Out of these many essays, one argument in particular, given by Keith E. Yandell, was the most compelling, prima facie. Therefore, in this report, I explain John Hick's religious pluralism and Yandell's argument against religious pluralism.