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RELIGIOUS PLURALISM AND
In its ecumenical use today, religious pluralism has nothing to do with the multiplicity or diversity of religions in any given country. It holds as a dogma that all religions and world views are equal as "worthy vehicles of the love of God, and that no 'culture' (including a given religion) is the exclusive norm for God's relationship with humans" (Conference on World Mission and Evangelism [CWME] by the WCC, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, December 3, 1966).
Modern religious pluralism originates in the philosophy of Enlightenment, particularly represented by the German philosopher G.E. Lessing (1729-81). It was discussed among others by E. Troeltsch (1865-1923), a German liberal theologian and philosopher. He denied the distinctive supernatural character of Christianity, stressed the comparative study of all religions, concluded that all world religions were unique and relative to a given historical situation and culture, and that one's conscience is valid for each individual who subscribes to any faith, while no religion can be shown to be absolute and final. He held to a Hegelian perspective of history in that all history and religion is a movement of the spirit back to the "God" from whence everything came.
Therefore, all religions can be seen as a reflection of the ultimate reality of God, and hence, every religion must be considered as an authentic manifestation of its own historical, geographical and cultural setting.
are the implications of religious pluralism?
Religious pluralism denies the deity and unique character of Jesus Christ. It may accept the truths of the Apostolic Creed as a subjective expression of the Christian faith, but it denies that He is the real and only Saviour of men, and the only way to the true and living God.
pluralism appeals to good feeling, individual and non-defined spirituality
and strives for unity without objective truth.
universalism paralyses missionary motivation and withholds the Gospel
to the unsaved world.