Defining Pluralism

I want to thank Jim for his response to last week's blog. Just so you know how it works, you've got to write me so I can include your thoughts in the interaction. So...jump in, send me an e-mail and we'll take it from there.

Pluralism can be defined a number of ways. I've found it helpful to make a distinction between pluralism as an observation of fact, and pluralism as a prescriptive conviction. As an observable fact, pluralism is an undeniably valid description of the religious and philosophical landscape of our times. There are hundreds and hundreds of interesting ways people have attempted to make sense of the world and relate to God. A quick scan of the top twenty religious groupings in the United States will convince just about anyone that pluralism is a fact. One study estimates that in addition to 160 million Christians in the US, there are 2.8 million followers of Judaism, 1.1 million practicing Muslims, about a million Buddhists, 900-thousand Agnostics and about the same size group of Athiests, and nearly 800-thousand Hindus. Add to that half a million Universalists, 100-thousand Spiritualists, 100-thousand practicioners of Native American religions, 84,000 Baha'i, 68,000 New Agers, and 57,000 Sikhs! (see

As Jim has pointed out, however, pluralism is more than a mere fact about American society. Pluralism in America is becoming a cherished value by many. Pluralism as a conviction dictates that every world view and every religion is equally valid. In order for pluralism to "work like a magnet" on Christianity, it has to alter its substance at the very core. Biblical Christianity is like most coins - completely irresponsive to the magnet. The claims of Jesus identity as the only son of God and the only way to salvation absolutely disqualify Christianity from pluralism's pull. Christianity has nothing to fear - bring on every magnet you've got! In fact, because Christianity is not susceptible to the corrosion of philosophical pluralism we can joyfully venture into the fray of world views and engage them with the powerful person of Jesus!

UncategorizedTim Perry