Compassionate Exclusivism: Relational Atonement and Post-Mortem Salvation
Faithful persons tend to relate to their religious beliefs as truth claims, particularly inasmuch as their beliefs have soteriological implications for those of different religions. For Christians the particular claims which matter most in this regard are those made by Jesus of Nazareth and his claims are primarily relational in nature. I propose a model in which we understand divine grace from Jesus as being mediated through relational knowledge of him on a compassionately exclusivist basis, including post-mortem. Supporting this model, I draw from Eleonore Stump’s hypothesis in her 2018 Atonement that the crucifixion of Jesus opens the divine psyche to all human psyches sufficiently for salvific mutual indwelling to occur, and from Gavin D’Costa’s conception of the descensus Christi ad inferos as the mechanism for grace’s accessibility post-mortem presented in his 2009 Christianity and World Religions. This model seeks to address ongoing, justified pastoral concern for the soteriological status of non-Christians while still treating Christianity as objectively true.