Is Religious Pluralism Just Mental Laziness? ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, August 24, 2007

Is Religious Pluralism Just Mental Laziness?

It struck me recently that what typically passes for religious pluralism is merely an imaginative form of cultural imperialism. "We are so enlightened that we know all faiths are the same, even though most of their practitioners haven't figured this out. We enjoy the shiny, trivial nuances, though."

Isn't this the essence of at least one kind of arrogance? Colorful, disparate beliefs are trampled into grey mush for the sake of mental convenience. Radically separate elements of faith are beaten into a lump in the name of progress, ala early explorers, who crushed native cultures, or Dick Clark, who standardized rock 'n' roll.

On a grandiose, general level, we want to be able to say we understand "faith," in order to dismiss it, so we decided all faiths are the same.

The beliefs of a culture carry the unique hallmarks of that culture--and vise versa. The person who says, "They all mean the same thing," is neither as informed or as culturally sensitive as he makes himself out to be.

If someone really cared about world cultures, he would examine each faith system in its own right. Face up to the radically differing claims about reality, feeling their weight. Allow the warring "truths" to battle, but without axing any humans. And let the chips fall where they may.
That's religious pluralism.

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Will Robison said...

Interesting idea... I shall have to think this over.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife