How Should I Respond to Religious Pluralism?

religious pluralismReligious Pluralism has become common in our daily lives. Not only do we live in a religiously diverse nation, one that claims to uphold each individual’s right of choose their faith, we also live in a culture that has adopted the belief that all religions are fundamentally the same.  I’m daily confronted with the reality that many people believe all religions are true, teach the same thing, and lead to the same place.

Yet any serious student of religions will quickly be able to see that religious pluralism as a belief system is contradictory and cannot sustain itself. Religions that make contrary truth claims on everything from the nature of God, the material world, morality, humanity, and eternity cannot be fundamentally the same; it’s impossible. Also, to claim that all religions are equal in their beliefs is to misunderstand and misrepresent the rich variety of religious observance.

Still, the belief that “all roads lead to Rome” is prevalent and for the Christian poses a unique challenge. How do we communicate what we believe, and why we believe it, in a way that remains true to the message of the Bible and at the same time respects the diverse worldviews that surround us? As I have thought through this question, I believe there are four principles that can help Christians explain their faith graciously in a culture that promotes the worldview of Religious Pluralism. These principles form the acronym DARE Continue reading

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Misinformed History: Galileo, the Church, and Science

Thanks to the History Channel I discovered that on this day, April 12, 1633:

Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei [went] on trial in Rome for challenging Church orthodoxy, postulating that the Earth revolves around the sun. Chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuol found Galileo guilty of heresy. The astronomer spent the remainder of his days under house arrest.

If you’ve spent any time around the debate between science and religion, you’ve heard this story at least once. We’re told Galileo was a man whose scientific discovery went against the backward understanding of the Church, which led to his persecution. The problem is that this is not the full story and twists what really happened in unnecessary ways. It is unfortunate that the History Channel has decided to go along with the partial story, and not the full story. Continue reading

Religious Pluralism’s Creed

Religious Pluralism is a very common belief in our world today. It holds that all religions are fundamentally the same and valid, teaching the same message and achieving the same religious goals. In other words, all religions are correct. All paths lead to Rome. All journeys lead to the top of the same mountain.

This belief system has led me to ask, if Religious Pluralism in our culture had a creed what would it look like? What would it affirm? I think it might look something like this. Continue reading

January Book of the Month: Jesus and Muhammad

It is my goal in 2013 to review one book at the end of each month that I am currently, or have just finished, reading.  The book I have chosen to highlight for January is Jesus and Muhammad: Profound Differences and Surprising Similarities by Mark A. Gabriel, PhD.

When I initially stumbled across Jesus and Muhammad I was both curious and skeptical. I was curious to see how Gabriel would handle discussing these two men who represent the world’s largest religions; and I was skeptical, wondering if he would portray them accurately and with fairness. As I read, my curiosity was more than satisfied and my skepticism was laid to rest. Gabriel has written in a fair, balanced, and honest way, paying specific attention to the lives and teaching of Jesus and Muhammad. Continue reading

“Churches for Apologetics” Petition

Recently I wrote a blog post on the rise of the Nones, those who claim no religious affiliation, in American society. The number of youth and young adults who question the truth of Christianity is growing. Interestingly, as more young adults under the age of 30 claim no religious affiliation, their hunger for a life of meaning and significance has not diminished. What do they stand for? Many don’t know, and some are apathetic, not caring to find the answer. But for every person who is apathetic about what they believe and why, there are just as many who are searching for the answers to life’s hardest questions.

As a Christian, this leads me to ask fundamental questions. What do I do with this information? How should I respond personally, and how should local churches respond? How do we provide a questioning generation with the answers they need? How do we demonstrate that the good news of Jesus Christ answers our deepest emotional, intellectual, and practical needs,  giving our soul something to stand for? Continue reading

Religious Pluralism, Christian Particularity, and the Meaning of Acts 4:12

In Acts 4:12 it is said of Jesus that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”[1] How is one to interpret this in light of the religious diversity and plurality we see in our world today?

Understanding the salvation claims of Christianity in regard to other religions has always been a challenge. There are two main approaches to this issue I want to discuss in this post. The first approach is religious pluralism, which states that all religions bring a different yet equally valid way of salvation. Humans are transformed from self-centeredness to being centered in the ultimate Real.[2] The second approach sees Christianity as exclusive, or particular. Salvation is conferred only through faith in Jesus Christ.[3] These two views have been in strong opposition to each other, particularly in our current diverse and pluralistic culture. Continue reading

Kids without God: Atheist Website for Children

The American Humanist Association has launched a new website for children and teens called “Kids without God,” which is getting a large amount of attention in both theistic and atheistic circles. Being a Theist myself, I was curious to see what this website was like. The children’s section is full of bright primary colors, an upbeat message that kids can be good without God, videos of the great “scientist” Bill Nye (the Science Guy), and fun science experiments kids can do at home.

For a Christian apologist, the website is like a candy store. There are so many fallacies, inconsistencies, and holes that could be poked through it that it’s hard to know where to start or stop. Others have taken time to point out some of these fallacies, which I will link to at the end of this post. For now, there are three general observations I’d like to make. Continue reading