Exclusivism Part 3: The Pluralist Fights Back

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Religious Pluralism Leave a Comment

In my prior post I accused the pluralist of being just as exclusive as anyone else.

The committed pluralist is claiming that pluralism is true, and that therefore non-pluralists such as myself and other high-identity adherents to their respective worldviews such as Muslims, Atheists, and Catholics, hold views that are false.*

The pluralist, however, insists she’s being misunderstood. The whole point of pluralism, we’re reminded, is to tolerate and respect the views of all persons of good will, even traditional exclusivists as mentioned above.

But I reply that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say your view is true and its contradiction also true. It’s contradictory to say, for example, that in some pluralistic way Islam and Atheism are compatible.

How could that be? Allah is the one true God (Islam) but doesn’t actually exist (Atheism)? It’s hard to see how the pluralist can accept both these ideas at once.

I think many pluralists are actually saying something about social order rather than ultimate truth claims. They’re envisioning a community where we all listen to each other and engage in respectful dialogue.

Great. I agree.

But as soon as they start saying to everyone else something like this:

“I understand your views better than you do. I know that all religions and worldviews can be harmonized in ways you haven’t thought of.”

. . . they’re making a highly exclusive truth claim. And quite an arrogant one as well.

* * * 

What’s the way forward? 

In my next post I’d like to suggest a solution: Principled Pluralism. I think you’ll like it.

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