What is Religious Pluralism and Why is it False?

Posted By on June 7, 2019



what about this idea that there are many ways well why isn't there is why can't there be many ways to to God now I think this suffers the same problem I just went through but let me say some other things about this idea of religious pluralism this is the idea that all religions are each in their own terms legitimate roads to God okay and so all roads lead to Rome all roads lead to God God has somehow ordained various paths for various people in various cultures therefore no one is within their rights to say that one religion is better than another religion okay you can't say that Christianity is true over and against Islam or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism no no all these ways are equally valid if religious pluralism is true Jesus may be the path for Christians but he's not the path for other world religions okay everyone kind of understand religious pluralism the idea we're all in a path going to the top of a mountain now how this is normally described I was actually in a Hindu temple we took a class a high school class to a Hindu temple Buddhist temple all different world religions we went to all their different worship centers and and this was the analogy that the Hindu leader gave to us he said this he said there there's a story of the blind the blind man and the blind man and the elephant it's an ancient fable that there's six blind men who visit the palace of a ruler the Raja is what he's called and they encounter this elephant for the first time they've never seen an elephant before they're blind they haven't seen anything before and so they're going to touch the elephant and announce their discovery okay announced her discovery so the first blind man he comes up to the elephant he touches its side he says wow this is smooth an elephant is like a wall okay and elephants just like a wall the second blind man he comes up touches the elephant on the trunk and he says this is round it's like a snake an elephant is just like a snake the third blind man he reached out his hand touches the Tusk he says how sharp an elephant is like a spear the fourth blind man he puts out his hand and he touches the leg and he says how tall an elephant is like a tree the fifth blind man he reaches out his hand and touches the ear of the elephant and he says how wide an elephant is like a fan and then finally the sixth blind man he reached out his hand touches the tail of the elephant and he says how thin an elephant is like a rope okay so you can see they they all got their ideas of what an elephant is like now notice each blind man thinks his own perception of the elephant is the correct one each man thinks he's got the right view but next in the story the Raja the ruler he awakens from the commotion and he calls out from the balcony and he says an elephant is a big animal each of you is touching only one part of the elephant you must all you must put all the parts together to find out what an elephant is really like okay you got to put all the parts together you only have a part of the truth an elephant is much bigger than that this fable is often used to illustrate that every faith every religion represents one part of a larger truth about God okay each religious tradition has only one piece of the truth ultimately leading to God by different roots and so the the Jew has their piece and the Muslim has their piece and the Muslim has their piece and so on the Christian likewise has their piece and so how do we respond to something like this how do we respond to something like this well first the religious pluralist their claim is also a religious claim is a point of view about religion and their claim is to have more than just a piece of the truth it's very interesting everyone in the story has just a piece right there just blind men feeling around and they have a piece of the truth but who in the story is represented by the religious pluralist well that's the rajah the Christian the Muslim the Buddhist a Hindu they're the blind people in the story the Raja who looks at everything and can see the big picture there that's where their religious pluralist is so so they don't actually apply the claim to themselves they aren't ones who just have a piece of the truth they've excluded themselves to this they're the ones looking out and saying no I actually see what God's like you go what I'm saying so they aren't just like they don't have a piece of God no they're the ones saying I can actually see the whole thing you guys are all wrong or you're all right in one sense and you're and you're getting there so that's the first thing I would say all religions are just have just part of the truth except for the religious Flores they think they got the whole truth second their religious pluralists they presume that Christians reject pluralism because they lack exposure or knowledge about other beliefs just as the blind men have erred because they've only explored part of the elephant well each religion airs because it's only explored part of God and if they would if the Christian would just come over and and hang out with their Muslim friend and go to go to the Muslim temple well they would see hey they have the truth – if they hung out with the Hindu well they'd see they got the truth – and so it's you Christians you're exclusive because you're ignorant you don't really see the big picture so we are Chris are Christians just uninformed I would say no this is this is not the case Christians reject pluralism in part because significant elements of different religions contradict each other and to show this I want to ask you a question now you can't answer the question if you actually have seen my car okay so I drove here today in a car it's parked in the parking lot I want to ask you what does my car look like I want I get two volunteers you can't ask you if you're related to me who wants to volunteer tell me what my car looks like looking at me this handsome young man what kind of car do I Drive what do you think Oh Troxy he knew he could see my rugged side look what kind of truck a Ford well color blue a blue Ford truck not bad that's a good gas that's actually a great guess I need one more though nobody wants to do you know what I actually Drive okay hit me with it and don't say a Prius don't say a hybrid a minivan that's an it is an insult I will never drive a minivan I don't care if I have ten kids and we just may write a minivan twill color oh I thought you Wallace better than beige I think you're gonna say beige minivan okay so what are we talking about what I Drive because it is clear it should be clear to everyone in the room that I can't assuming I only own one car I can't be a blue Ford truck and a white minivan what kind of minivan at least give me a Toyota or something caravan okay so the worst possible van it can no offense this is a gosta chol here um so it can't be both every every rational thinking person in the room should agree it can't be both it's either white or it's not white it's either white or it's blue or it's neither right could be neither in fact you were right about the white that is an SUV not a van just so we're clear and can hold 7 passengers so we got room for two more babies right yeah so but here's the point when we apply it to everyday things like the car that we drive we can see that this is just illogical it's irrational okay to say because these are contradictory claims and yet when we survey the different religions out there we see that they to make contradictory claims okay for example islam teaches that Jesus is not the Son of God okay Jesus is not the Son of God Christian teaches that he is the son of that Jesus is the Son of God okay he can't be the Son of God and not be the Son of God in the same sense in the same way this violates this would violate the law of non-contradiction okay both cannot be true the notion that Christian Islam are somehow equally true when someone says that they are blatantly false because it is contradictory it's like affirming a square circle okay in sum we reject religious pluralism not because of what we don't know about other religions but because of what we do know about other religions in fact when you start to study the different world religions you see that they are more contradictory than they are compatible the law of the the laws of logic demand that pluralism is false and you could do this with any any of their claims like what happens when we die some religions say you go to heaven some say you go to heaven or hell others teach reincarnation some say there's no afterlife some say you're annihilated but listen you can't do all of those things at the same time in the same in the same way right either you go to heaven or you are annihilated or you cease to exist or you are reincarnated okay they can't all be true and for someone to make such a claim I mean they are just mistaken now when you talk to someone who subscribes to believes in pluralism religious pluralism they'll often give you something like this they'll often say well look at the Golden Rule look at the Golden Rule do unto others all the world religions have some kind of teaching that relates to this now some of these are a stretch if you could read them but let's just grant it let's say yeah they all have the Golden Rule in their religious system still this wouldn't help because profound contradictions between foundational beliefs they don't simply disappear by pointing out some shared moral proverb okay you still have to deal with the contradictions and so religious pluralism I think is patently false

Posted by Lewis Heart

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