Board index Tolerance

Our culture says it values tolerance, but does it? Let's talk.

Pluralists are intolerant

Postby Gerald McDermott » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:52 am

These are some excerpts from "How the Trinity Should Govern Our Approach to World Religions," by Gerald McDermott, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 60 No. 1 (March 2017), pp. 50-51.

Pluralists insist on the need for tolerance of other religions. But is it tolerant to declare dogmatically that it is not possible for one religion to have a unique way to God, and that therefore every religion that makes this claim is wrong? Since every religion in fact does make this claim, pluralists maintain that every world religion is wrong.

Even the Dalai Lama makes such a claim. Gavin D'Costa has shown that while he tells the world there is no need for conversion to another religion because every religion gets you to the divine, th Dalai Lama tells insiders that the best way to spiritual ultimacy is by Tibetan Buddhism, and that the best of the best ways is his Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Pluralists would say this must be wrong because no human conception of ultimacy can possibly be final.

Pluralism is therefore intolerant. It is also narrow-minded, for it fundamentally opposes any claim to absolute truth. Instead, it insists that every religious claim is relativized by, and recused to, the historical conditions that produced it. It cannot affirm the validity of those who take a non-pluralist and non-relativistic view. By contrast, Christian orthodoxy affirms the existence of partial truth—both moral and religious—in other world religious. So we can and should be open to partial truths among those who disagree with us. But had-core pluralists cannot affirm partial truth in an ultimate sense among those who disagree with them. They cannot accept any particular claims to ultimacy by Christian faith or any other faith.

For pluralists, when it comes to religion, there are no absolutes. But of course when they say that, they have just stated a religious absolute. Perhaps they should say, "There are no absolutes except the one I just stated."

Pluralism must lead to agnosticism and skepticism, for it's impossible for anyone to know God. All the religions, taken together, fail to bring us to the knowledge of God and actually keep us from the knowledge of reality.

Last bumped by Anonymous on Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:52 am.
Gerald McDermott

Return to Tolerance

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest