Religious Pluralism - Relativism & Compromise Within the Christian Church
Religious pluralism is obvious throughout the world. There are approximately 2 billion people that call themselves Christians, more than 1 billion people that call themselves Muslims, more than 850 million people that call themselves Hindus, more than 600 million people that call themselves Buddhists, approximately 150 million people that label themselves Atheists, and approximately 14 million people born as Jews. If we missed your faith, philosophy or movement, we apologize.
The focus of this article is not on the pluralism among the world's major religions and philosophies. Rather, we will examine the growing movement towards pluralism, relativism and compromise within Christianity itself. Many people claim to be Christians because they profess belief in Jesus Christ. However, notions of "belief" have taken on a wide range of definitions in the postmodern Christian church. Specifically, more and more Christian leaders want to escape the label of intolerance and narrow mindedness. They want to be accepted in a postmodern world where everyone is saying, "My truth is different than your truth" and "my way to God is different than your way to God" - so don't judge others based on outdated books, rules and morals.
Religious Pluralism - Panel of Christians Speaks On CNN's Larry King Live
Religious pluralism within the Christian church was very evident on a recent CNN telecast of Larry King Live (aired March 11, 2003). The following are actual excerpts from the transcript:
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, what would Jesus do about war with Iraq? Here to debate that issue, Conservative Christian leader Bob Jones II, president Bob Jones University. Max Lucado, minister of the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio. Father Michael Manning, Roman Catholic priest, host of the international TV show "The Word in the World." Pastor John MacArthur of the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, also a syndicated radio host. And Bishop Melvin Talbert, ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church.
KING: Saddam says he prays.
MACARTHUR: Saddam Hussein? I'm sure he does.
KING: He prays five times a day. He believes he's right. He must be praying to something.
MACARTHUR: Well, it's the wrong God unfortunately. There is only one true and living God, and that's the God of the scripture. The God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And if you aren't praying to that God, you are praying to no one.
KING: He doesn't believe that. How do you deal with that? His belief may be as strong as your belief.
MACARTHUR: You could believe that you could fly and jump off a five-story building. It doesn't make it real. Unfortunately, false religion is the ultimate deception...
KING: Is the Muslim world all false?
MACARTHUR: Well, the theology of Islam is false. It's the wrong God. It's the wrong view of Christ.
KING: When they hear that, don't they get anti-american thoughts...
MACARTHUR: It has nothing to do with America. I would say it if I were French.
KING: They think yours is the wrong God.
MACARTHUR: Well, they do. But there has to be truth and untruth. Once you've established the truth, and I think the word of God has been established as true -- I think it can hold up under the most intense scrutiny -- and other books do not.