Oct 23, 2013

What Is Religious Pluralism, and Why Is It Wrong?

Ed Hindson

Dr. Ed Hindson
World Prophetic Ministry

Q. What is religious pluralism, and why is it wrong?

A. Pluralism teaches that there are many roads to God, and that no road can be said to be the exclusive one. In a modern culture that promotes acceptance and tolerance, pluralism is gaining in popularity. Pluralists give five basic arguments for their position:

  1. Pluralism is a way to promote tolerance throughout the world.
  2. Since the adherents of every religion have a viable world view, each one provides subjective satisfaction to its members.
  3. Historically, all world religions have cultural/geographical roots. One is more likely to be a Christian in a Western culture; a Muslim in the Middle East; a Hindu on the Indian subcontinent; etc. Thus, pluralists view religion as cultural more than spiritual.
  4. Those advocating exclusivism, like Christianity, fail to produce adherents that are universally ethically superior.
  5. All religions, according to pluralists, teach the same basic truths.

What's Wrong with Religious Pluralism?

The problem with pluralism is, in spite of its claim to be tolerant, it is actually intolerant, particularly of Christianity, which promotes an exclusive view of its path to God through faith in Jesus Christ. However, it seemingly turns a blind eye towards Muslims, who force conversions through use of the sword, and Hindus, who persecute those who leave its ranks. Staunch adherents of such bodies are exclusivists as well.

Further, pluralism ignores truth as nonessential. All religions, in fact, do not teach the same basic truths. How can we reconcile monotheism (Christianity), polytheism (Hinduism), and atheism? If everything is relative and there is no absolute truth, then even that statement is not absolutely true. Common sense demands the existence of truth, and, beyond that, the fact that everything differing with that truth constitutes falsehood.

Third, the claim of subjective satisfaction is debatable. Many world religions practice self-denial to a sometimes painful and cruel extreme, often in an attempt to please their false god or gods.

Finally, a belief system must be evaluated by itself rather than by the failures of some of its members.

Christianity acknowledges mankind's failure (Romans 3:23) and God's intervention on man's behalf (John 3:16), and utilizes that base as a claim to truth (John 14:6). Every other world religion is man's attempt to reach God, an attempt that always ends in failure (Isaiah 64:6). Only Christianity can successfully bridge the gap between God and man, as God reaches out to man through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.