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Multiple Religious Belonging and the ‘Deconstruction’ of Religion

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In this article I briefly survey the meaning of ‘religion’ in the context of multiple religious belonging and the consequences of the so-called deconstruction of religion to it. I argue that we can distinguish three hermeneutics on religion and religious diversity in theology and religious studies: a hermeneutics of multiple religions, a hermeneutics of hybrid religiosity and a hermeneutics of deconstruction. Both a hermeneutics of hybrid religiosity and a hermeneutics of deconstruction challenge the common understanding of multiple religious belonging as belonging to multiple religious traditions. Following Wouter Hanegraaff and Paul Hedges, I will argue that the deconstruction of religion could make us aware that the idea of religious traditions are ultimately reified imaginative formations, which give rise to the so-called ‘World Religions’ paradigm. Following from this, we can learn how the imagination of multiple religions to which an individual can belong is always in interaction with the imagination of a hybrid or dynamic religious belonging.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


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