Pluralism essay

The most influential recent proponent of a version of core pluralism has been Huston Smith. (b. 1919) In his view, the common core of religions is a tiered worldview.  This encompasses the idea that physical reality, the terrestrial plane, is contained within and controlled by a more real intermediate plane (that is, the subtle, animic, or psychic plane) which is in turn contained and controlled by the celestial plane. This celestial plane is a personal God. Beyond this is infinite, unlimited Being (also called “Absolute Truth, “the True Reality,” “the Absolute,” “God”). Given that it is ineffable, this Being is neither a god, nor the God of monotheism. It is more real than all that comes from it. The various “planes” are not distinct from it, and it is the ultimate object of all desire, and the deepest reality within each human self. Some experience this Being as if it were a god, but the most able gain a non-conceptual awareness of it in its ineffable glory. Smith holds that in former ages, and among primitive peoples now, such a worldview is near universal.  It is only modern people who are blinded by the misunderstanding that science reveals all, who have forgotten it. (Smith 1992, 2003 ch. 3) The highest level in some sense is the human “Spirit,” the deep self which underlies the self of ordinary experience. Appropriating Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian language, Smith says that this “spirit is the Atman that is Brahman, the Buddha-nature that appears when our finite selves get out of its way, my istigkeit (is-ness) which…we see is God’s is-ness.” (Smith 2003 ch. 3, 3-4)

For pluralism to be successful there is need for assimilation. Pluralism involves two or more groups with diverse beliefs and ideas who come together to work towards a certain goal. Pluralism entails, the ability to deal with diversity, having the ability to develop harmonious living between two different groups, commitment especially for the group being assimilated and finally the ability to engage in dialogue on various issues.  There is the presence of one group that considers itself strong while the other views itself as weak. The weaker group is the one that is assimilated so as to fit into the stronger group. The group to be assimilated needs to be willing to give up its values and take up the values of the strong side. Pluralism is seen as beneficial both to individuals and the society as a whole. In the political arena, leadership that results from one source is not only considered undesirable but it has been found to be unworkable. In church, pluralism has been fruitful. It has enabled people to live in peace despite the presence of different religions in the world. On the other part, leadership that develops as a result of opinions from various groups who are together has been found to be fruitful (Connolly, 2005).

Portions of this debate hinge on one's understanding of salvation in the Old Testament. Inclusivists generally claim that Jews in the OT were saved apart from Jesus and that this warrants a similar view today. Robert Reymond argues in his A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (1998) that salvation in the OT was in fact seen through Israel's faith in the promised Messiah.^ [6] ^ This is consistently seen as a trust in God and in his promises of which is both seen in the present and in the future. Thus, Israel was to trust God to deliver them from their present suffering (., the Exodus), and they were to trust God that he would deliver them from their future sufferings through the Messiah. In these regards, deliverance (., salvation) was always placed in a God who revealed himself to the nation Israel who hoped and look forward to His promise of the coming Messiah. Lastly, the Westminster Confession of Faith asserts the following:

Pluralism essay

pluralism essay


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