after pluralism (part 1)

Religious pluralism says that all paths to truth are valid — your truth is fine for you, and my truth works well for me. This is the prevalent philosophy of American society today and decades of Southern Baptist sermons can’t turn back the clock. In the United States and much of the western world, we are no longer becoming pluralistic. The reality is that we now live in a pluralistic society, an “all-beliefs-are-valid” interfaithism.

This is how I can talk about prayer with my Buddhist friend, she interprets that with her thought processes about chanting, and she nods along to what I’m saying. We are obviously talking about two totally different things, but in our culture it’s no longer appropriate to acknowledge the differences, only the similarities.

For those of you who watched the series finale of LOST, you know what I mean. For six years LOST has been one of my favorite shows. So much of the writing in LOST appeals to my faith-nature, so I warily and curiously approached the final season wondering how it would end up.

The LOST finale made a vivid point (via the religious symbols in the church) that all religions — even those that oppose each other in theology — lead to one place, that place being a happy afterlife where what matters most is our relationships with each other, regardless of which higher power we worship or belief we hold.

And while I could easily refute the logical errors in this (two mutually exclusive ideas cannot both be correct, for example), I don’t think it would make much difference. Why? Because I think we’re about to move to the next step.

So what comes after pluralism?

(to be continued)

8 thoughts on “after pluralism (part 1)

  1. Hi Anna, so interested was I after reading this post to know “what comes after pluralism” I googled it and was brought back to your blog. LOL. Looking forward to next post.

    Things are moving quite quickly in Australia now. In the state of NSW we’ve had the right to teach our children scripture in the public schools for many years. Over the last couple of decades many have opted their children out of religious education as a result of making the classes non compulsory.
    Now by way of new age enlightenment we have introduced “ethics classes” as an alternative. I can understand why, because many students in the school system are out of control. They are seeking to address these behavior and disciplinary issues through various programs like “stop bullying” programs etc, now ethics classes, but things are only getting worse.

    Of course scripture could have been offered as an alternative but we preferred not to offend with our religious dogma that supposedly vilified those who choose unrighteous behavior. Further to this, heck we may even offend those who believe that all roads lead to heaven, as you say, pluralism. My wife was teaching scripture one year and had a call from the Anglican co-ordinator advising her that she could not tell the children about hell.

    Having taught scripture myself for many years there was a keen desire in most of the kids to have this issue addressed.

    Well you can’t have your cake and eat it too. And that does not take into consideration that fact that God blesses the peoples where He is exalted, but now oh Israel your house is left to you desolate!
    It really can only go downhill from here and man’s very best and most well thought out schemes that suppose to offer peace and security will end in sorrow and mourning.

    But you don’t need to worry about this rebellion too much people, cause the cost of this rebellion won’t fall upon you, but your children.

    Lord have mercy!

    Cheers,
    Tim.

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    1. “Having taught scripture myself for many years there was a keen desire in most of the kids to have this issue addressed.”
      It’s true that kids have an innate curiousity about spiritual matters. And naturally kids get stuck on the idea of hell, because most children do a lot of things they shouldn’t (not moral issues, usually, but things for which their parents get on to them about). Kids don’t want to get in trouble, and hell is the ultimate trouble! Oh wouldn’t it be wonderful if parents could love their children enough in action, that grace would be as easy to understand as hell.

      Thanks for your comment, Tim. I too get discouraged sometimes thinking about the state of things but I’m often reminded that the Kingdom is beautiful and still growing, even in the midst of our darkness.

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  2. I think this is one point you and I can agree on: pluralism is stupid.

    I got into this with a college professor once. She said truth is relative. To which I said “Truth is that which conforms to reality. Perceptions of reality are subjective, reality itself is not. The more an idea conforms to reality, the truer it is.”

    It’s not your faith in the chair that holds you up, it’s the chair itself. The problem with pluralism is that by denying any importance to the element of faith and venerating faith, in and of itself, it encourages faith in anything…even stupid ideas. As such it discourages rational thought and encourages belief in a subjective reality that you make up as you go. It’s divisive. Ultimately, I’d say that division will be the downfall the American Empire…though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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