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Evangelicals on religious pluralism


A frog marriage in West Bengal state, India. (AP Photo)

A recent News of the Weird column shares the following news:

The New Age movement might be growing too inclusive, according to a July report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press (published in a city where the concept of "New Age" is already highly nuanced). "(P)agans feel jilted," wrote the reporter. "Chiropractors want out (of consideration)," "channelers wonder if they belong," and "organic farmers don't want to be near pet psychics." Said one St. Paul merchant, "I have customers who completely believe in fairies and will laugh at you if you believe in Bigfoot." But, said one New Age magazine editor, the movement should "encompass anything on a spiritual path -- Bigfoot, Jesus, Buddha. Even worshipping a frog is sort of OK." [St. Paul Pioneer Press, 7-13-09]

The New Age Movement should encompass anything on a spiritual path? Worshipping a frog is sort of OK?  Evangelicals are left asking, what happens when people make truth claims that are completely contradictory?  For example, Christians believe the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion. They believe it is a perfectly reliable historical event. On the other hand, Muslims believe that the records of Jesus’ crucifixion are not accurate. In fact, the Qur'an says:

"That they said (in boast), 'We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah'; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not." 4:157

Here are two contradictory views regarding Jesus. It’s not sound thinking to say, “all religious views lead to one God, so all are equally valid,” as many people claim. Even the extremely pluralistic New Age followers seem to have their limits. In the case of Jesus, only one view can be true.  Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross, died, was buried, then rose from his grave on the third day – or he was not.  Christians have solid evidence to believe the Biblical account.  Muslims have Mohammed’s words hundreds of years after the event that it was all a hoax.

Evangelicals know that the evidence is on their side and that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are true historical events. Therefore His claims about Himself – that He is the Savior of the world and God in human flesh – are true. While it’s upsetting to some people, there’s no room for inclusion of other worldviews such as Islam, New Age, Buddhist, etc., because these worldviews promote a contradictory view of Jesus. Evangelical Christians don’t have a hatred for other religious thoughts. It’s simply that they aren’t true and therefore don’t lead to eternal life. Evangelicals are for the truths that through evidence, clear thinking, and faith make an eternal difference in the lives of people. That inevitably involves making a judgment for or against certain religious claims or practices—such as worshipping frogs.

For more info: 

Greg Koukl on religious pluralism

A debate with a Muslim scholar: Did Jesus die on the cross?

Comments

  • Jonathan 5 years ago

    I know of others who died, (and I mean modern day doctor examined no brain wave death) and then returned to life. So What's the big deal about Christian claims of Jesus death? At that time, death simply meant that they could not observe any breath..

  • Jeema 5 years ago

    In response to the quote above "Evangelical Christians don’t have a hatred for other religious thoughts. It’s simply that they aren’t true and therefore don’t lead to eternal life. "..I'd like to quote an ex-evangelical preacher:

    "You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?" [Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith]

  • Doug 5 years ago

    Thanks for the comments, Jeema and Jonathan.

    The big deal about Jesus' death is:
    1. He predicted it
    2. Prophets before him told about it hundreds of years before the event
    3. Jesus doesn't claim to be just some guy. He claimed to be God in human flesh. Therefore, He's either a liar, a lunatic, or He's the Lord He claims to be. His death was brutal torture. He didn't have a heart attack or stroke. His Roman executioners were professional killers. His death was final--until the resurrection.

    Regarding the anti-supernatural elements of your comments, Jeema, I would recommend to you CS Lewis' book "Miracles." In it he shares how there are three negative ways to respond to miracles: that they are (1) impossible, (2) improbable, or (3) inappropriate. Lewis addresses all three of these critiques in a manner that satisfied even some atheist scholars from his famed Socratic Club at Oxford.

    Thanks again for the comments,

    Doug, Columbia Evangelical Examiner

  • Brad 5 years ago

    Doug, you should check out another view of religious pluralism before writing it off entirely:

    www,focusonthefamily,com/faith/christian_worldview/why_is_a_christian_worldview_important/when_no_one_is_wrong,aspx

    Won't let me post URL's, so replace the 3 commas with periods.

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