In the prior two posts, I responded to the naturalistic and literalistic objections to Bible interpretation.
The “pluralist” objection is third, and goes something like this:
The Bible is just one revelation among many of the Divine. Any interpretation of the Bible that excludes other religious traditions or somehow invalidates them cannot be accepted.
1. Excluding exclusivism: the pluralist is actually claiming that the traditional interpretation of the Bible — that, for example, Jesus Christ is the only true pathway to God — going back 2,000 years to the early church, is false.
Think about that. Billions of Christians throughout history have held to the traditional view, and the pluralist is “excluding” them by saying their view is wrong.
2. How do you know? I like to ask the pluralist how she knows the divine has been revealed in a plurality of traditions — such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.
The pluralist might respond, “It only makes sense that God wouldn’t reveal himself in just one tradition” — to which I say, Why not? How do you know God so well?
I also might ask how all these religious views can be valid if they contradict each other (which they do).
* * * * *
I find it useful to press the pluralist for a basis of his accusations against traditional Christianity. Often, the pluralist responds with something about “justice.” It’s only just, so says the pluralist, that God would not “exclude” any religions, but would include everyone.
I’ll respond to this notion of justice in my next post.
For a more in-depth analysis of the pluralist objection, see chapter 9 of my Faith is Like Skydiving: And Other Memorable Images for Dialogue with Seekers and Skeptics
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