Religious Pluralism

There is a prevailing view in the world today, that no religion is objectively more true than any other. This idea raises its head in many different ways, but the most common form that we hear in our work is in objection to our position that Christianity is the only way acceptable to God and universally beneficial to man. The usual adjectives that are thrown around in this discussion--words like bigoted, intolerant, narrow minded, fundamentalistic, etc. A kinder way that you will hear this same point in today's world is in the benediction "May God, Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, Jehovah, Cosmic Consciousness, and 'All That Is' bless you." There is no question that such a greeting is genuine, gracious, and an example of tolerance. The problem with such statements is that they are a demonstration of unexamined faith filled with inaccuracies and contradictions. The religions mentioned are like oil and water--they cannot mix because they represent opposing and competing concepts.

As a simple and obvious case in another realm, let us suppose we were to provide a political position that would embrace the teachings of Adolph Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, Mao Tse Tung, Mohammed, Ghandi, Sadam Hussein and Jimmy Carter. Would it be possible to write a political platform that all of these people would be able to support and promote? The problem would be that there are too many opposing beliefs in what these leaders taught and practiced. You could argue that they lived at different times in different cultures and thus such a platform should not be attempted, but the fact is that political leaders have usually believed their system was best for the whole world. Some of them would have forced their belief system on the whole world if they had been able to do so.

It is our contention that the political example we just used is very relevant to the question of religious pluralism. As one looks at the various religions which men embrace on this planet, one finds concepts that are as different and as much in opposition as the political leaders we mentioned. Some of these religions promote a personal God while some promote a pantheistic system or simply a force. Some claim their leader to be a prophet, others claim theirs to be a man who achieved a supreme level of understanding or enlightenment, while others claim a direct contact with God himself. Some teach the use of nature while others teach the worship of nature. Some teach political involvement while others teach the separation of religion and civil government. Some teach the use of force--war if necessary, while others teach peace and nonagression. Some teach the equality of all humans while others teach a type of caste system based upon one's birth status. Our contention is that the Christian system is the one true path to God. The contention is based upon physical evidence for the credibility of the Bible, but it is also based upon the fact that comparisons between the teachings of the Christian system and all other religious choices shows the Christian system to be superior in all areas. We offer a chart of these comparisons for your consideration as we close this discussion.

Issue Christian View * Alternatives Consequences
Marriage System Monogamy Polyandry, polygamy No relationships; STDS
Use of environment Full use of Resources Limits on food, etc. Low standard of life
Church/state issues Separate, respectful Intertwinded with state Religious laws; persecution of non-members
Position of women Of equal value to men 2nd class citizens Persecuted, denied rights, restricted
View of children Pure, perfect, sinless Caste of birth status determines fate Wasted talent senseless killing
Approach to conflict Based on love, nonviolent Eye for eye; use of force War, conflict
View of death Beginning of beautiful existence with God Reincarnation or physical reward Destroys life's purposes; enduring is all there is
Purpose in Life Good vs. evil Achieve enlightenment Frustration, disillusionment
Use of money by religion To relieve pain and suffering Pilgrimages, buildings, statues, icons Waste
Meeting place Anywhere Edifices built by man Waste
Structure of religion Christ the only head; all people equal Priests, councils, chain of command Wasteful and denigrating hierarchy
Worship Living service which all do Rituals, entertainment Irrelevance to personnal lives
*(not human distortions of the biblical view)

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