Church & Society Vol 6 No. 1
month, we witnessed a devastating bomb blast at the hithertopeaceful resort-island, Bali.On the home front, further arrests of other members of theJemaah Islamiah (JI) group sparked worries that perhaps what wehave seen so far is but the tip of the iceberg. Aware of how delicatethe situation has become, the Government has set up the Inter-Religious Confidence Circle, whose purpose is to foster greatersocial cohesion among adherents of different religions, and amongthe different faith communities. In response to the Jemaah Islamiahthreat, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong has issued a draft-code forthe practice of religious harmony. A multi-religious team, under theleadership of Mr Chan Soo Sen, has been tasked to dialogue with thevarious religious communities in Singapore and present the finalversion of the code by the first quarter of next year.In this brief lecture, I will discuss three topics related to ourtheme. Firstly, I will briefly delineate a Christian theology of religionbased on Scripture and Tradition. Secondly, I will discuss theattitude of the Christian towards adherents of non-Christianreligions. And thirdly, I will propose some ways in which thedifferent religious communities can work together in a religiouslypluralistic society like Singapore.
A CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY OF RELIGIONS
We begin by reflecting on a Christian theology of religion. This isvery important because our attitude and approach to the non-Christian religions and their adherents depends on the way in whichwe understand the religions in the light of Scripture and Tradition.We begin to sketch a Christian perspective of non-Christian religionsby examining what the Bible teaches about human beings. The Biblebegins by declaring that God has created human beings in his ownimage and likeness. This truth can be found in the first chapter of Genesis. ‘And God said: “Let us make man in our image, in ourlikeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of theair, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creaturesthat move on the ground”. So God created man in his own image, inthe image of God he created him; male and female he created them’