OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.
“An obstacle, however, is Jacob’s apparent reliance on cultural consensus. If a community of Christians intersubjectively agree that a nonbeliever like me is “out,” then “out” I am, since the conversation creates the reality. If different communities create different realities, and one regards me as in while another deems me out, then… are there multiple gods? And do these gods change as their communities change?”
As an empirical matter that you or I can observe and others have observed and argued about, it seems that communities of believers define outsiders and insiders everyday. We can see Jerry Falwell say that homosexuals are sinners that will burn in hell, which is basically a way of indicating that homosexuals are outsiders; and we can see Falwell say that “we” are the saved community that must save the unsaved sinners, which is basically a way of indicating outsiders. There are concrete consequences for such boundary drawing—homosexual cannot be members of the church, for instance. They are excluded from that community. In other words, we can observe the processes of social and religious boundary drawing in everyday contexts. While I can agree that you might lament the exclusionary effort that goes into defining some community of believers in relation to outsiders, to me it is clear that it is a regularly occurring feature of life that can be systematically studied.
Are there multiple gods and do they change with the worshiping communities? Yes on both accounts, I argue. Here are some links to past posts that addressed the issue you raised here.
Two Faces of Pluralism; or, What does faith look like under conditions of irreducible pluralism?
Pluralism: Reducible or Irreducible?
The Bible as a Resource for Faithful Action in the World Today
Reflexive Religious Faith
“Alternatively, a realist view might say that the community can agree on whatever it likes, but they could be completely wrong about whether I’m “really” in or out from God’s perspective. That works for me too.”