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The term "religious pluralism" can refer to
  1. The diversity of religious movements within a particular geographical area, and/or
  2. The theory that there are more than one or more than two kinds of ultimate reality and/or truth; and that therefore more than one religion can be said to have the truth (way to God, salvation, etcetera) - even if their essential doctrines are mutually exclusive.
    Compare Open Metaphysics. See also Relativism

Those who promote pluralism in the second sense often claim that a) criticizing a religion, and/or b) insisting that one's own religion is exclusivistic (e.g Christianity's claim that salvation can be obtained only by accepting Jesus Christ) is intolerant or even hateful. (On this, see Religious freedom, tolerance, and intolerance).

This kind of religious pluralism...
... is an affirmation of the validity of every religion, and the refusal to choose between them, and the rejection of world evangelism.

Many pro-cult apologists are pluralists in the second sense.


Christian The Challenge of Religious Pluralism Does the principle of religious toleration mean that all religions are equally valid? Kenneth R. Samples addresses a major challenge to contemporary apologetics. An article from the Christian Research Journal.
Christian Christian Witness in A Pluralistic Age Jim Leffel's article helps understand postmodern pluralism, the pluralist objections to Christian exclusivism, and shows Christians how to witness to people who hold a pluralist worldview.
Christian ''If You Grew Up in India, You'd Be a Hindu'' A chapter from Paul Copan's book, ''True For You, But Not For Me''
Christian Religious Pluralism The new definition of pluralism is not only indefensible, but it also discourages critical thinking about the real issues. By Greg Koukl


In his most recent book, Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religion and the Unity of Truth, America's foremost philosopher tackles the troublesome issue of religious pluralism. As the subtitle of the book indicates, Adler is concerned with applying the principle of the unity of truth (i.e., all the diverse parts of truth fit into a compatible whole) to the numerous and contradictory truth claims made by the worlds great religions. While the book covers a lot of ground, the central question of the book is, Where does the truth lie among the plurality of the world's organized and institutionalized religions? [...] The question of religious pluralism may be the Christian church's greatest apologetic challenge yet. Truth In Religion is the most sophisticated and thoughtful book on this subject that this reviewer has come across. I recommend it to all who are thinking through the problems of religious pluralism.

- News Articles Database -

See Also


AcademicPluralistic The Pluralism ProjectThe Pluralism Project was developed by Diana L. Eck at Harvard University to study and document the growing religious diversity of the United States, with a special view to its new immigrant religious communities.

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First posted: May 14, 1998
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