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  • Writer's pictureDon Walker

Christianity vs Pluralism

The United States has been a nation of religious tolerance. We have accepted people of various religious within our borders and given them the freedom to practice their religious faith. We are "pluralistic" in our society regarding one's belief system to the extent that it does not jeopardize another's freedom. Historically, Christianity has been the predominate religion in this nation, and statistically remains so today. This does not of course mean that all that "flies under the flag of Christianity" adheres to the orthodox tenets of the faith. There are those who have rejected "the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3), and replaced it with a "watered down version" that is in reality no longer Christianity at all. Nevertheless, it is this "religion" that is acceptable in our pluralistic culture.

It is this form of "Christianity" that does not upset a society that says "all religions are of equal value." Worship whatever "god" you choose. Allah, Jesus, Baal, Lucifer, or the many gods of Hinduism, it's okay because they all lead to the same place and we can all be happy with whatever path we took to get there. (True, they may get you to the same place, but you won't be happy when you get there.) This is the idea that there are "many paths to God."

While it may be the mindset of many that “all religions bring us to God,” that is not what the Bible teaches. The inescapable truth is that the God of the Bible is an “exclusionist.” Sorry, you can’t pick any road you want and end up at God’s throne. All roads do not lead to God. Please understand, I am not questioning the sincerity of the followers of other religions. They are often very sincere in their belief. But if I were to get on a plane headed for New York, that I sincerely believed was headed for Chicago, I would still end up in New York. Yes, I was sincere, but I was sincerely wrong.

Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Apart from Christ, there is no pathway to God. (See John 3:36, 5:23, 10:9.) Acts 4:12 states that, “there is no other name (Jesus), by which men may be saved.” If there were other ways to salvation, then Christ died in vain. Christ is not the Way because He’s my way, but because God says He’s His Way. Faithfulness to the Word of God dictates that I declare that Christ alone is “the mediator between God and man” (I Tim. 2:5).

Let me clearly state that I believe in the principle of “tolerance.” I believe in protecting the right to assemble and worship as one chooses, providing that does not involve the violation of other laws. (For instance the offering of human sacrifice.) I oppose the destruction of mosques, Hindu temples, synagogues, etc.; and I am against those who act in any kind of a violent manner toward those practicing other religious beliefs. Tolerance of religious expression has been, and should remain, part of the American landscape. But the concept of “tolerance” seems to have acquired a different connotation in recent years, rather than simply the “right to practice.” It has come to mean that “one must accept as legitimate” the practices of others, and to express an opinion concerning the “wrongness” of such a practice is viewed as “intolerant.” To say for instance, that Islam is a “false religion that does not worship the true God” is considered by many as “hate speech” in the current environment. Yet, is this not what the Bible teaches because of their denial of the divinity of Christ? How can I be faithful to the Scriptures and say otherwise?

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Aug 27, 2020

Another good article Don. Sharing the Gospel is more difficult in a Pluralistic community - wording needs to be defined and refined. Society (individuals) seem more tolerant unless you embrace an absolute. I don't think most Christians know how to communicate or may not even believe that Jesus is the way truth and life - many would say Jesus is a way, truth, and life. I think that is what you were saying by and the watered-down theology that populates many pulpits and seminaries.

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