Crucial to the apologist's task is an awareness of the pluralism that marks North American culture. Three different types of pluralism may helpfully be distinguished: pluralism as mere plurality; pluralism as preference; and pluralism as relativism, which may take the various forms of naïve relativism, pseudorelativism, skepticism, or nihilism. Especially relevant to apologetical conversation is an awareness of the plurality of ideologies and cognitive styles that characterizes the intellectual landscape, since this is the domain in which religious decisions are made. A more detailed exploration of three cognitive styles prevalent in the modern mindset follows, namely, Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Process. This chapter notes that while these may be traced consecutively through an intellectual history of the modern West, they do not supplant one another but rather accumulate.
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