Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Road to Islamification is Paved by Religious Pluralism

Key Words: Tolerance, Religious Diversity, Liberal, Progressive Christians, Left, Religious Pluralism

As I wrote earlier in December

One of the first lessons I learned in seminary is that you cannot divorce religion from culture. Every religion carries with it the mark of the culture that gave it birth. Either religions will adapt to cultural change, or the culture will adapt to religious change. Change one and you change the other. It’s as simple and as complex as that. . .

The second lesson I learned in seminary (a liberal mainline Protestant seminary) was that there is a major investment by liberal (mainline) denominations in promoting Religious Pluralism in the name of Social Justice and cultural diversity.

The third lesson I learned in seminary is that any conservative thought openly espoused by either student or professor was tantamount to heresy!!! You cannot progress in a “progressive” institution if you are even the slightest bit conservative. While the liberal seminaries give lip-service to tradition, Christian tradition is merely a tool for deconstructive argumentation.

Before I entered the seminary, I was somewhat politically naive. That changed rapidly as I learned that theology and politics are intimately linked. For years mainline seminaries have functioned as the religious arm of the far left progressives. Admission of any conservative political bent is literally the kiss of death. No doubt there are many closet conservative professors who would not long survive if their personal politics were known. Students hoping for plumb assignments following ordination are well-aware of which sides their daily bread is buttered.

Social Justice (as commonly understood today): Social justice mostly refers to an ideal of society, where "justice" refers to economic status rather than to the administration of laws. It is based on the idea of a society which gives individuals and groups fair treatment and a just share of the benefits of society, although what is "fair treatment" and a "just share" must remain unclear or subject to interpretation. . .

Think: Redistribution of wealth from wealthy (imperialistic) nations of the West to poor 3rd and 4th world nations.

What is Religious Pluralism? In its strongest sense, religious pluralism holds that no single religion can claim absolute authority to teach absolute truth. The word of God is not literal religion. On the contrary, religion attempts to describe God's utterances. Given the finite and fallible nature of human beings, no religious text written by Man can absolutely describe God, God's will, or God's counsel, since it is God apart from Man who reveals the divine thoughts, intentions and volition perfectly. . . Giving one religion or denomination special rights that are denied to others can weaken religious pluralism. . Relativism, the belief that all religions are equal in their value and that none of the religions gives access to absolute truth, is an extreme form of inclusivism. Likewise, syncretism, the attempt to take over creeds of practices from other religions or even to blend practices or creeds from different religions into one new faith is an extreme form of inter-religious dialogue, which just tries to seek common ground between what already exists in the different religions. Syncretism must not be confused with ecumenism, the attempt to bring closer and eventually reunite different denominations of one religion that have a common origin but were separated by a schism.

Here’s an excerpt from a good article by Jim Leffel “Christian Witness in a Pluralistic Age

. . .I suggest that the primary barrier to getting a hearing for the gospel on the vast majority of campuses today is ideologically driven pluralism. Pluralism takes the fact of the world's rich cultural diversity and makes an "ism" out of it. It doesn't merely extol the virtue of understanding and appreciating cultural differences; virtually everyone is for that. Pluralism holds that distinct cultural beliefs are true for that culture--but not for cultures that operate out of a different "paradigm." Pluralists say that truth is a "social construction." It is created through social consensus and tradition, not discovered in reality that exists independently of our beliefs. Truth is subjective interpretation, not correspondence between our beliefs and reality.
Since pluralists consider truth to be a cultural construct, it is the height of arrogance to try to convert someone from their paradigm (especially if it's non-western) to Christianity. That's what most people mean when they say that Christianity is intolerant. But should we accept the pluralistic definition of "tolerance"? . . .


. . .The notion that truth is a social construct is both unbiblical and dangerous. Truth matters. It's no mere philosophical abstraction. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." Our commission is to spread the good news to all the peoples of the earth. To make effective inroads in today's multi-ethnic, culturally diverse university, we must do the hard work of engaging the thinking behind pluralism and the demands of this new meaning of tolerance.

For a further understanding of how pervasive Religious Pluralism (see Progressive Chrisitanity) has become in the West visit these sites: Oh and be sure to check out their links to the Progressive Christian denominations and organizations.

The Pluralism Project (Harvard University)
Religious Tolerance
Religious Diversity News (check out their article links on Islamophobia. Talk about naivety!!!)
UCSB Religious Studies Department
Ford Foundation
Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC
The Religion and Immigration Project (TRIP) at USF
Hispanic Churches in American Public Life Project
Muslims in American Public Square

Religious Pluralism in Southern California (blod highlights added by me)

A brief overview of the Religious Pluralism in Southern California Project

The Religious Pluralism in Southern California project examines the impact that religious pluralism is having on civic life in Southern California. The project is funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

Our inherited paradigms about religious pluralism offer two possible scenarios: assimilation to a mainline culture or social and cultural fragmentation-bubble or Babel. Neither seems to capture the dynamics of contemporary pluralism. Rather than assimilating the "American way of life" many new immigrant communities appear to be actively negotiating the terms of social life. This negotiation process takes place in the context of public institutions and in response to public events.

Furthermore,the process takes place in the context of a cultural system that attributes meaning to such constructions as race, gender, class, and religion and urges a normative response to the experience of diversity. Pluralism is more than just diversity, we argue; pluralism is meaningful diversity. . .

It’s important to remember that religious dialogue doesn’t work (nor does Religious Pluralism) when one of the parties is intent on the total destruction of your religion and your culture!!! So as the growing number of cloud-walking Religious Pluralists devise more ways to engage Islam (as if Islam was some kind of monolithic religion), they ignore the very real threats Islamification poses to all religious freedoms. See “Our Vulnerable Religious Freedoms

To get a good idea of how all mainline Christian denominations (including Roman Catholicism) are rapidly moving toward Religious Pluralism, and as a result, handing radical Islam the rope with which to hang Christianity, please read “Praying to the Buddha”.
[COMMONWEAL Magazine, January 26, 2007 / Volume CXXXIV, Number 2]

This article was written by Peter C. Phan, a Vietnamese American, who holds the Ignacio EllacurĂ­a Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University. He has written or edited more than twenty books and three hundred essays. His latest work includes a trilogy: Christianity with an Asian Face, In Our Own Tongues, and Being Religious Interreligiously (Orbis Books). This essay has been funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

The article begins with a story about Phan’s Christian mother who prayed to the Buddah. Religious Pluralism makes that all possible! Here’s an excerpt:

. . .How, then, could an old woman like my mother, God-loving and church-fearing, a twice-a-day churchgoer raised to believe that no one except Catholics can be saved, do what she did that day in that pagoda? And what, exactly, happened between the 1960s and 2000 that enabled her to honor the Buddhist nun, pray to the Buddha, and contribute money to the maintenance of the pagoda? The answer lies in the dramatic expansion during our era of interreligious dialogue, particularly as it has been espoused by the church since Vatican II. Being religious interreligiously. . . .

Contemporary religious pluralism, in Asia and increasingly in the United States, requires interreligious dialogue not only at the theological level, but at the personal level too. It challenges one to be religious interreligiously. . . .

. . .as Paul Knitter has helpfully explained in Introducing Theologies of Religions: replacement (there is only one true religion), fulfillment (one true religion fulfills other religions), mutuality (there are many true religions which are called to dialogue), and acceptance (there are many religions which have different ends). More simply, theologies of religions are often categorized in three models: exclusivism, pluralism, and inclusivism. Exclusivism holds that there is only one savior and one true religion or church and that no salvation is possible outside of them. At the other end of the spectrum, pluralism holds that there are many saviors and different paths leading to salvation, none necessarily superior to the others. Inclusivism maintains that although there is only one savior and one true church, salvation remains possible outside them-though it is always ultimately dependent on them. . .

The official teaching of the Catholic Church, at least as articulated in Dominus Iesus, favors inclusivism while warning against the dangers of pluralism. . .

Christ is the sacrament, the definitive symbol of God’s salvation for all humanity. This is what the salvific uniqueness and universality means in the Indian context. That, however, does not mean there cannot be other symbols, valid in their own ways, which the Christian sees as related to the definitive symbol, Jesus Christ. The implication of all this is that for hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings, salvation is seen as being channeled to them not in spite of but through and in their various sociocultural and religious traditions. We cannot, then, deny a priori a salvific role for these non-Christian religions.

Interreligious dialogue can be practiced by people of faith, irrespective of educational level, social standing, and religious status, and is urgently needed in the conflict-ridden political and religious climate of the post-9/11 United States. Such dialogue is not merely a preparatory step toward peacemaking and reconciliation; it constitutes the very process of peacemaking and reconciliation itself, a process that occurs precisely in the acts of living together, working together, and praying together. These dialogues are powerful means to correct biases, erase deep-seated hatreds, and heal ancient wounds. By promoting communication, grassroots activism toward peace and justice, and above all, shared experiences of the Divine or the Absolute in spite of religious differences, such dialogue helps forge a new way of life.

Trackposted to Big Dog's Weblog, Adam's Blog, basil's blog, Common Folk Using Common Sense, The Bullwinkle Blog, Conservative Cat, Jo's Cafe, Conservative Thoughts, third world county, Right Celebrity, stikNstein... has no mercy, Pirate's Cove, Planck's Constant, Dumb Ox Daily News, and Right Voices, Wake Up America, Blue Star Chronicles, Outside the Beltway, Renaissance Blogger, The Random Yak, and Maggie's Notebook,thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

7 comments:

  1. Excellent article!!!!! I rarely do much on religion because I am not overtly religious,but considering terrorism these days IS based on one specific distorted religion, perhaps I should bone up on it.

    Thanks for this! Voted on RCP also....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Spree. Our nation is founded upon traditional Judeo-Christian principles. Our religious institutions here in America are changing drastically and usually the local parishioner is the last to see those subtle changes. But those changes do affect all of our nation’s institutions. That’s why religious or not, it’s important to see how the left has infiltrated just about every religion.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brilliant overview FL!...this is so so accurate:It’s important to remember that religious dialogue doesn’t work (nor does Religious Pluralism) when one of the parties is intent on the total destruction of your religion and your culture!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The following article is essential reading for anyone worried about the Islamic threat. It demonstrates very clearly why we must either destroy Islam or be destroyed by it:

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=26769

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, what a comprehensive article. I found the same thing in seminary classes. I was actually shocked at finding professors who seemed to be completely against Christianity, actually teaching in these places of 'religious' education.

    Good job.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "The third lesson I learned in seminary is that any conservative thought openly espoused by either student or professor was tantamount to heresy!!"

    When I read this, I wondered what conservative thought was considered heresy, and so I read further. But you never brought up any conservative idea and then showed that it was heresy.

    "Social justice mostly refers to an ideal of society, where "justice" refers to economic status rather than to the administration of laws."

    Social justice is of course related to both of these issues, apart from being based upon the scriptures. With or without scriptures, social justice refers to BOTH the administration of laws and economic status, and the two are often related to one another as well as being related to social justice.

    "Think: Redistribution of wealth from wealthy (imperialistic) nations of the West to poor 3rd and 4th world nations."

    I'm thinking of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles! Sharing property communally and giving aid to the poor seem to be Christian ideas that evoke some rather strong feelings from those who oppose such ideas!

    "What is Religious Pluralism? In its strongest sense, religious pluralism holds that no single religion can claim absolute authority to teach absolute truth."

    I'm a Universalist, and while I appreciate your ability to categorize all the different ways that you can construct an opposition to religious pluralism, you never discuss it's possibilities for finding common ground and peace among people of different faiths. Quite simply, you could focus your attention on those values and ideals which are common to people of faith everywhere.
    You could start with Christianity, if that is the faith about which you know the most, and attempt to find the teachings of Jesus within the scriptures of other faiths. I've done this exercise, and it is a wonderful and inspiring practice.

    "It’s important to remember that religious dialogue doesn’t work (nor does Religious Pluralism) when one of the parties is intent on the total destruction of your religion and your culture!!!"

    What an interesting point of view. I assume you feel strongly about it, since you wrote it in red and used exclamation points. But I don't see why you don't think religious dialogue won't work under the circumstances you describe. Surely, Jesus preached under such circumstances!

    Is there something to be gained by refusing to have a dialogue with those who disagree with you?

    Is it better to turn away from people that YOU THINK have nothing in common with you, rather than talking to them and finding out if you have anything in common?

    Are people of other faiths monsters, or are they human beings? If they hate you and want to kill you, then what do they love and want to nurture? Do they want to kill you because they fear that you will harm what they love? Most likely.

    "So as the growing number of cloud-walking Religious Pluralists devise more ways to engage Islam (as if Islam was some kind of monolithic religion), they ignore the very real threats Islamification poses to all religious freedoms."

    What an interesting phrase is this! In the same sentence, you argue against "engaging Islam" because it isn't monolithic and warn against the "threat" of Islam, because it's monolithic!

    Besides that contradiction, you apparently think that "religious pluralists" are devising ways of engaging Islam as if it were monolithic! Now, why would they do that? Doesn't that contradict the very premise of a "pluralistic" approach?

    You end your article with quotes that you apparently believe make the above case about the "threat" of Islamification. I really don't see any connection at all.

    "Interreligious dialogue can be practiced by people of faith, irrespective of educational level, social standing, and religious status, and is urgently needed in the conflict-ridden political and religious climate of the post-9/11 United States. Such dialogue is not merely a preparatory step toward peacemaking and reconciliation; it constitutes the very process of peacemaking and reconciliation itself, a process that occurs precisely in the acts of living together, working together, and praying together. These dialogues are powerful means to correct biases, erase deep-seated hatreds, and heal ancient wounds. By promoting communication, grassroots activism toward peace and justice, and above all, shared experiences of the Divine or the Absolute in spite of religious differences, such dialogue helps forge a new way of life."

    Is this what you fear?

    ReplyDelete
  7. If you are interested in some new ideas on religious pluralism and the Trinity, please check out my website at www.religiouspluralism.ca, and give me your thoughts on improving content and presentation.

    My thesis is that an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity’s answer to the world need for a framework of pluralistic theology.

    In a constructive worldview: east, west, and far-east religions present a threefold understanding of One God manifest primarily in Muslim and Hebrew intuition of the Deity Absolute, Christian and Krishnan Hindu conception of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being; and Shaivite Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist apprehension of the Destroyer (meaning also Consummator), Unconditioned Absolute, or Spirit of All That Is and is not. Together with their variations and combinations in other major religions, these religious ideas reflect and express our collective understanding of God, in an expanded concept of the Holy Trinity.

    The Trinity Absolute is portrayed in the logic of world religions, as follows:

    1. Muslims and Jews may be said to worship only the first person of the Trinity, i.e. the existential Deity Absolute Creator, known as Allah or Yhwh, Abba or Father (as Jesus called him), Brahma, and other names; represented by Gabriel (Executive Archangel), Muhammad and Moses (mighty messenger prophets), and others.

    2. Christians and Krishnan Hindus may be said to worship the first person through a second person, i.e. the experiential Universe or "Universal” Absolute Supreme Being (Allsoul or Supersoul), called Son/Christ or Vishnu/Krishna; represented by Michael (Supreme Archangel), Jesus (teacher and savior of souls), and others. The Allsoul is that gestalt of personal human consciousness, which we expect will be the "body of Christ" (Mahdi, Messiah, Kalki or Maitreya) in the second coming – personified in history by Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha (9th incarnation of Vishnu), and others.

    3. Shaivite Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucian-Taoists seem to venerate the synthesis of the first and second persons in a third person or appearance, ie. the Destiny Consummator of ultimate reality – unqualified Nirvana consciousness – associative Tao of All That Is – the absonite* Unconditioned Absolute Spirit “Synthesis of Source and Synthesis,”** who/which is logically expected to be Allah/Abba/Brahma glorified in and by union with the Supreme Being – represented in religions by Gabriel, Michael, and other Archangels, Mahadevas, Spiritpersons, etc., who may be included within the mysterious Holy Ghost.

    Other strains of religion seem to be psychological variations on the third person, or possibly combinations and permutations of the members of the Trinity – all just different personality perspectives on the Same God. Taken together, the world’s major religions give us at least two insights into the first person of this thrice-personal One God, two perceptions of the second person, and at least three glimpses of the third.

    * The ever-mysterious Holy Ghost or Unconditioned Spirit is neither absolutely infinite, nor absolutely finite, but absonite; meaning neither existential nor experiential, but their ultimate consummation; neither fully ideal nor totally real, but a middle path and grand synthesis of the superconscious and the conscious, in consciousness of the unconscious.

    ** This conception is so strong because somewhat as the Absonite Spirit is a synthesis of the spirit of the Absolute and the spirit of the Supreme, so it would seem that the evolving Supreme Being may himself also be a synthesis or “gestalt” of humanity with itself, in an Almighty Universe Allperson or Supersoul. Thus ultimately, the Absonite is their Unconditioned Absolute Coordinate Identity – the Spirit Synthesis of Source and Synthesis – the metaphysical Destiny Consummator of All That Is.

    For more details, please see: www.religiouspluralism.ca

    Samuel Stuart Maynes

    ReplyDelete