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Pow! There Goes A Pluralist Down

interfaith-harmony“Religious Pluralism (popular form, not academic) rejects the premise that God has revealed himself in any unique or definitive sense in Jesus Christ. On the contrary, God is said to be actively revealing himself in all religious traditions… Christian faith is merely one of many equally legitimate human responses to the same divine reality. John Hick is the most well-known figure from this position.
Followers of this pluralism (pluralists) believe in two or more religious worldviews as being equally valid or acceptable. More than mere tolerance, religious pluralism accepts multiple paths to God or gods as a possibility and is usually contrasted with an “exclusivism,” the idea that there is only one true religion or way to know God.

Pluralist: Yesterday I was reading the Bible and I must say, I think it makes some arrogant and intolerant claims.

Christian: I am glad you did. What claims do you have in mind?

Pluralist: Well, for example, this guy, John, writes that Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” and then a bit later in a book called Acts I’ve read, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Do you take this seriously?

Christian: Yes, what is the problem?

Pluralist: Don’t you see? It’s so exclusive. You are saying that only the Christian faith is right and all those people who believe otherwise are wrong.

Christian: Oh, I see.

Pluralist: We should tolerate our differences and be more humble in presenting our absolute truths. After all, all religions lead to the same God. It is not right to try to convert people to your own beliefs and disrupt their tradition.

Christian: This is a little bit confusing.

Pluralist: What is? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Ethics, Reasonable Faith

 

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Arrogance, Intolerance and Violence AKA Evangelism

evangelismIs it ever ethical to attempt to persuade others to change their religion, worldview or other fundamental belief? This endeavor has received in the recent years increasing line of criticism. In January 2001 in South Asia, Dalai Lama has condemned Christian and Muslim practice of seeking converts, “Whether Hindu or Muslim or Christian, whoever tries to convert, it’s wrong, not good.” (Thiessen, 2011, p. 6).Richards, Svendsen and Bless aptly describe the sorts of pressures restricting the ability to engage in religious persuasion as “an increasing apathy of secular states towards the importance of religious freedom and the exclusion of religion from the public square; the preclusive dominance of established ideologies in other states; consolidations of power by authoritarian regimes; worries about the destabilizing influence of new or unfamiliar religious movements, religious extremism, or terrorism; a downgrading of religious freedom rights vis-á-vis these other human rights; the marginalization of minority religions; reactions against globalization or perceived neo-colonialism; burgeoning state and transnational regimes; expanding notions of privacy; and transforming modes of communication” (2011, p. 154). Martin E. Marty suggests that “[t]he proselytizer violates boundaries and disrupts traditions” (Ibid.). Novak explaining why Jews are resenting those who proselytize says that they come across as people who “feel no moral compunction in denigrating other faiths and their cultures for the sake of cajoling their adherents to cease being what they have been and change their identity to becoming what the missionaries are” (1999, p. 43). At last, many people perceive a connection between religious proselytizing and violence. Sociologists Grim and Finke found that “violent religious persecution is pervasive. Of 143 countries…, 86 percent (123 countries) have documented cases of people being physically abused or displaced from their homes because of …religious persecution” (Richards, Svendsen, Bless, 2011, p. 156). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Ethics, Mission, Reasonable Faith

 

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