Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shedding Light on Pluralism

Chris Wright, in his book, The Uniqueness of Jesus, writes:

“We can challenge the relativistic illogic of pluralism. The argument that ‘there is no absolute truth’ is logically self-contradictory and self-destructive, because it is itself being presented as an absolute truth. You cannot be absolutely relative!

We can challenge the hidden arrogance of pluralism. Pluralists say ‘Nobody can really know the truth. No religion perceives or contains the truth about the divine reality as it really is.’ But how do they know that themselves? They are claiming to know a lot about what they say nobody can know. They adopt a stance, as it were, above or behind all other religions and presume to know what those religions may or may not have truthful knowledge about. To put it in more technical terms, what privileged epistemological stance gives the pluralist the right to deny truth and knowledge to any other position than his own? There is, in other words, a hidden arrogance behind the apparent humility of pluralist pronouncements, which shows itself in very explicit intolerance of those who disagree.

We can challenge the cultural short-sightedness of pluralism. Modern western pluralism, as an ideology, is a particular cultural development of the post-Enlightenment era in Europe and North America. Yet it claims to have the key to all human knowledge and religion. But by what right? We need to remember...that what pluralism does to Christianity it does to all other religions as well, and all in the name of a peculiarly reductionist view of truth which is not shared by the vast majority of the human race. So Christians, along with other great religious traditions which make exclusive truth claims...have every right to challenge such thinking and expose its cultural arrogance.

Pluralism itself is becoming a new dogma, and in some contexts it can be experienced as just as intolerant and repressive as the alleged religious bigotries it claims to replace. Those who insist on declaring, however humbly and non-aggressively, their allegiance to Jesus Christ as only Lord, God, and Savior, find themselves facing opposition, exclusion and legal threat. This happens in the educational world and may spread to other areas of public life. ‘Political correctness’ can be horrendously dogmatic and intolerant.
                    Chris Wright, The Uniqueness of Jesus

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:37

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