I was searching for the quote at the bottom about Islam and came across this post. I decided that since I’d been analyzing the many problems with false teachers in the church that this would be good to re-post with a brief update. This is more subtle than usual for me (heh) but I think it is still meaningful.
Be sure to read the comment thread if you have time. It is a classic. Though you may want to take your Dramamine first as you watch the theological Liberals spin around.
There is good pluralism (“Numerous distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural groups are present and tolerated within a society”) and bad pluralism (“All religions are true and equally valid paths to God”). I have already written on the bad kind in Religious pluralism is intellectually bankrupt.
Erudite Redneck did a piece on the bad kind of pluralism that led to an interesting comment thread (by “interesting” I mean pointless and bizarre). I think he was quoting some group but it wasn’t clear. Here are selected portions:
While we have accepted the Path of Jesus as our Path, we do not deny the legitimacy of other paths God may provide humanity.
We affirm that the Path of Jesus is found wherever love of God, neighbor, and self are practiced together. Whether or not the path bears the name of Jesus, such paths bear the identity of Christ.
We confess that we have stepped away from Christ’s Path whenever we . . . have claimed Christianity is the only way, even as we claim it to be our way.
I knew these views self-refuting and oxymoronic, but the more I thought about it I realized they were arrogant as well. Here’s why:
Self-refuting: They claim that other paths to God are valid, but they specifically exclude Christians who think Jesus is the only way. But if all these paths are valid, why isn’t orthodox Christianity? And if orthodox Christianity is valid, then these other paths are not. Also, the definitions of “God” in these religions are mutually exclusive.
Pluralists simply don’t understand or apply the logical law of non-contradiction: You can’t have a personal God (Christianity) and an impersonal God (Islam) at the same time, or be saved by faith in Christ alone (Christianity) and by good deeds (everybody else), die once and face judgment (Christianity and Islam) and be reincarnated (Hinduism), Jesus dies on a cross (Christianity) and Jesus does not die on a cross (Islam), etc.
Oxymoronic: The Bible claims at least 100 times that Jesus is the only way to salvation. It only needs to say it once for it to be true, of course, but the theme is so strong that you have to work mighty hard to miss it. Pluralistic Christianity is an oxymoron. Christians originally called themselves The Way (see the Book of Acts), not A Way.
Have these people even read the Bible, and especially the Old Testament? With their reasoning you could cut out a couple Commandments (“You shall have no other gods before me” and “You shall not make for yourself an idol”).
Arrogant: While couched in inclusive language, it is actually a rather prideful position. They say that regardless of whom other religions say they are worshiping (say, Allah) that they are really worshiping Jesus. But do pluralistic Muslims pat us on the head and say, “Go ahead and worship Jesus. That’s OK, because we know you are really following Allah.” Of course not.
Ergun Mehmet Caner, a Christian scholar (and former Muslim) claims it is blasphemy to say Jehovah and Allah are the same God, and also said:
I have never met one intelligent Muslim who ever said that Allah of the Koran and Jehovah of the Bible are the same God.
One commenter thought it was haughty to claim that Jesus was the only way and that it denied others their humanity and religious beliefs. Those claims have it backwards, of course. It isn’t haughty to properly quote the Bible. And I respect people’s religious beliefs even if I disagree with them. And I appreciate their humanity enough to say that we can’t both be right. But the theological Liberals patronize people of other faiths and pretend that they are really worshiping the same God. How completely arrogant.
In addition to being self-refuting, oxymoronic and arrogant, Christian pluralism is also hypocritical. If they really believed what they taught they would send out Reverse Missionaries on the Great De-Commission. If all these religions are equally valid paths to Jesus then missionary efforts should encourage people to avoid persecution and just worship according to local customs (Islam, Hinduism, Baal, etc.).
The pluralists’ inconsistency betrays the fact they probably don’t believe what they are saying. It is just an easy way for them to stay popular with the world and avoid the hard and risky work of evangelism.