Religious Pluralism

Yesterday was the first of what I am sure will be many debates between the countless (eight) candidates vying for the democratic presidential nomination.

I haven’t paid attention to the views on the most of the candidates, but I did have a chance to view this speech by Barack Obama: Reconciling Faith and Politics

His comments about us living in a pluralist society got me thinking. If you believe in Jesus Christ as your savior, can you also believe we live in a pluralist society? Let me try and unpack this for you.

On one hand you have Jesus Christ saying the following in the book of John

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

On the other hand the theory behind religious pluralism:

In its strongest sense, religious pluralism holds that no single religion can claim absolute authority to teach absolute truth.

Obama’s response to his opponent’s claims in the 2004 Illinois Senate election that “Jesus wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama” was the following:

I answered with what has become the typical liberal response in such debates, namely I said that we live in a pluralist society and I cant enforce my own religious views on another and I was running to be the Senator of Illinois and not the minister of Illinois.

So what are my views on Obama’s stance on Faith and Politics?

Obviously his statement was a very well crafted political stance on a tough issue. He said it with conviction and I was really pumped up after hearing it. I was saying to myself… this guy is a strong Christian. But the more I studied the issue and really thought about it, all I see is another politician who is very gifted in public speaking. He was right down the fence, but he made it sound like he was on everyone’s side.

No thanks Barack. I like my leaders to stick there neck out… take a risk. Someone like Jesus Christ.

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  1. hey neighbor,

    if jesus ran for office, how do you think he’d do? and would we want jesus running the political machine anyway? 🙂

    barack’s not perfect, but i like that he’s trying to work within a context that he understands to be pluralistic- acknowledging religious pluralism is not necessarily supporting its truth claims (or lack of), but in my mind it’s merely a recognition of where society has been for quite some time- that a plurality of religions, philosophies, and corresponding epistemologies are already coexisting.

    perhaps my favorite book on the topic is the gospel in a pluralist society by lesslie newbigin, a british missionary and prominent christian theologian. it’s on my bookshelf if you want to borrow it… 🙂



    Obama or not (and this is no endorsement of Obama per se), don’t you think it’s time we got rid of the fake “Family Values” crew? Shit, the fact that he says “I cant enforce my own religious views on another” makes me want to vote for him – this is the US and A(see above)

    I don’t identify with “Republican” or “Democrat”, but FFS, ANYBODY but the current band of liars, thieves and murderers is prefereable

    i DO NOT want to butt heads with you on this Shane, but this is wayyyy more imporatant


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