As I touched on in my last post, it has become popular in recent times to suggest that every religion is equally true and that we should just live and let live, let the Mormon and the Muslim and the Satanist believe what they want and get along, right?
I’m no sociologist, but my understanding is that, while this concept has roots in some eastern faiths, the idea has grown in popularity exponentially since the rise of global culture. When the world was largely divided into the distinct camps of the Christian West, the Muslim Middle East and the mystic East with very little interplay between them, the idea that people who do not believe as you do would be facing an eternity in judgment did not raise deep concerns. There was “us” and the far-off “them” and the “them” were always imagined to be wicked degenerates that deserved whatever fate God had in store for them. However, with increasing globalization and exposure to people unlike ourselves, many people were forced to face hard truths about their beliefs and neighbors they had come to know and love.
Can we stomach the idea that the old Buddhist couple next door is going to burn in hell for eternity? Or the old Jewish lady that comes over for drinks every week? What about the atheist family that watches your kids when you go out for the night who – it just so happens – is far more pleasant to be around than many fellow believers? Are they all doomed to an eternity of fire and judgment and torment because they don’t believe the right thing? I don’t mean to suggest that these are not hard questions, but I do believe that it is erroneous to pick and choose what we want to believe in order to avoid unpleasant conclusions.
Again, I am no sociologist or historian and I may be entirely mistaken about the origins of this idea. In the end, I don’t think it matters. The important question is not where it came from, but what we do with it now that it’s here.
I believe that the entire concept of religious pluralism fails for multiple reasons. The first of which, is that it ultimately rewards evil.
Writer, artist, lay theologian, student of comparative religion.