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Pluralism

Are all cultures the same? This is a currently accepted belief among most of the world. Yet, every culture has its own worldview and description of reality. The cultures are a byproduct of the religious foundations of the culture. The religion of a culture determines its moral values and descriptions of what reality is. Ideas have consequences. Every religion has its own description of what a culture's moral values and goals should be. Values such as justice and laws come from the basic religious values of the dominant cultural religion.

Yet, if there are differences in the values and descriptions of reality common sense tells us that these views will not be the same. Following along the same logical argument, some values must hold to a higher standard of justice with regard to what is right or wrong.

Pluralism is the belief that reality consists of many parts. There are different types of pluralism in different areas of study. Religious pluralism would teach that different religions are true, even though they might contradict each other. Ethical pluralism would teach that different moral systems are equally valid, though some may be better than others. Scientific pluralism would maintain that there can be different explanations for similar events. Political pluralism would acknowledge different governmental systems as being valid. Cultural pluralism would maintain that different cultures are equally valid even though some may be more utilitarian and beneficial to society than others.

Basically, pluralism can be used in different contexts to designate a philosophy with more than option. Pluralism then would stand in opposition to the idea of an absolutely correct system or belief. Such pluralism would contradict biblical teaching that there is one absolute and supreme being (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6; 45:5), that Jesus is the only way to be saved from the righteous judgment of God (Acts 4:12), and that the Bible alone is the revealed word of God.

The following articles and audio lectures describe how pluralism has works its way through cultures and the ramifications that they produce. They reveal that not all ideas are equal or just. We need a way to judge the values and ideas of different cultures in order to determine the validity of their worldviews. Christianity teaches that since God is the Creator, he has the authority to define what is ultimately good and just in the world. Much of this is described in the laws he has given to all people through his written word - the Bible.

January 2, 2003

Agreeing with Vaclev Havel that human rights must have a basis in some authority that lies outside of human beings, Ramachandra evaluates Christianity with other religious and philosophical systems in their ability to provide such a basis. After defining human rights, Ramachandra mounts a case that without the Christian concept of imago dei, it is difficult to maintain a basis for human rights. He concludes his talk by giving historical examples of the parallel between the spread of Christianity and the proliferation of human rights and counters those who claim that Christianity is a form of cultural imperialism.

In the link below one can listen to a lecture given by Vinoth Ramachandra at University of California at Berkeley.


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Sharia and Democracy Cannot Co-exist



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