Globally we seem torn between local, exclusive forms of religion, which can cause immense spiritual and physical damage to people, and a bland secularism that confines the religions to safe havens, each offering its own private options for «spirituality» within a secularized global politic. In this context the religions tolerate one another but cannot engage in mutually challenging and transforming dialogue.
Thompson argues that it is only through dialogue that the distinctive truths of the faiths emerge. Moving beyond the threefold paradigm that has limited dialogue, and challenging modern secularism and postmodern relativism alike, he argues for a dialogue-based realism that is rooted in the Christian doctrines of creation and Trinity.
Turning to recent theological approaches, Thompson both affirms and criticizes narrative and postliberal theologies, liberation theology, and the revival of negative theology. The transfiguration of Jesus provides a model for the way theology proceeds in dialogue, from an initial naivety, through metaphysical construction and deconstruction, to a new metaphorical «interillumination.» Thompson sets forth a utopian hope for «the interreligious city of God, shining with the divine, interilluminative rainbow light reflected from the many faiths, including the secular faith.»