Thursday, June 18, 2009

Putting Religious Pluralism to the Test

Here's a fun little exercise to test the idea of religious pluralism, which is the notion that all religious world views are equally valid. This notion is extremely popular today and the notion that a single religious world view might actually turn out to be correct is extremely unpopular, to say the least.

But it turns out that religious pluralism refutes itself quite effectively. The diagram below demonstrates this by helping us visualize an assortment of religious world views. Yes, there are many other world religions, but how many there are doesn't matter for the purposes of this exercise. Just take a quick inventory of these different religious world views…

Now for the sake of the exercise, let's assume that all of these religious world views are equally valid or equally true. This is, after all, the idea of religious pluralism.

But now, let's suppose we "open up" one of these world views and see what it teaches…

Houston, we have a problem. If you look into what the Christian world view teaches, it teaches explicitly that all other religious world views are false. Now the Christian world view is one world view among many others… it is one of the many world views which are, according to religious pluralists, "equally valid" or "true." Okay, so let's agree with pluralism on that point: Christianity is a true religious world view. But wait… pluralism says all world religions are equally true, which means that Christianity would be true, but Christianity teaches that all other religious world views are false! So if Christianity is true, as pluralists will claim to allow, then all other world religions are false and if it's true that all other world religions are false, then pluralism is false!!

This illustration clearly shows the foolishness of religious pluralism. And not only that, but it can also show the basic dishonesty embedded in that view… because eventually you will find out that the religious pluralist isn't pluralistic at all… they reject Christianity. They have to in order to be pluralists!!

I think it's really kinda funny how these other world views end up being so fragile that, if you just take them seriously, they just collapse under their own weight. For some reason, I don't see Christianity collapsing under its own weight. Interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Pete, I've been reading Evidence That Demands a Verdict. I've had a little trouble understanding The Law of Noncontradiction. I actually figured it out but wanted to do some research on my own just to nail it down. I found this little bit below, which I think is pretty funny:

    A: Are you still a follower of Hegel?

    B: Of course! I believe everything he wrote. Since he denied the law of noncontradiction, I deny this too. On my view, P is entirely compatible with not-P.

    A: I'm a fan of Hegel myself. But he didn't deny the law of noncontradiction! You read the wrong commentators!

    B: You're wrong, he did deny this! Let me get my copy of The Science of Logic.

    A: Don't get so upset! You said that he did deny the law, and I said that he didn't. Aren't these compatible on your view? After all, you think that P is compatible with not-P.

    B: Yes, I guess they're compatible.

    A: No they aren't!

    B: Yes they are!

    A: Don't get so upset! You said that they are compatible, and I said that they aren't. Aren't these two compatible on your view? Recall that you think that P is compatible with not-P.

    B: Yes, I guess they're compatible. I'm getting confused.

    A: And you're also not getting confused, right?