Becoming Religious Multiplicities
This chapter first identifies a certain tendency toward colonization and appropriation in even the most well-meaning and ethically driven discourses on religious plurality, especially in the West. It suggests that the ethical desire to affirm and celebrate plurality is often difficult to distinguish from forms of exoticism and “piracy,” whereby an ever-widening diversity is continually gathered into a single “collection”—for example, a discourse—for the aesthetic pleasure of its “owner,” the Western subject. To resist and counter this tendency, a form of polyphilia is proposed as an emerging form of discourse. This love of multiplicity envisions plurality and difference as generative, exceeding any effort to “collect” diversity into a totality or unifying whole. Drawing primarily on the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead in conversation with postmodern and postcolonial theory as well as various religious traditions of both East and West, the chapter launches a polydox “experiment” grounded independent of any distinct religious confession for the sake of providing resources for an emerging future of religious difference beyond competition or appropriation.
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