What to do with other religions? Posted byMatt Stone23 May 2009Posted inthoughts In a world ruled by grace Other religions have their place Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPinterestRedditTumblrPocket Related
6 thoughts on “What to do with other religions?”
Nice saying. I think working out the Christian response to other religions (apart from “They’re all of the devil!”), is one of the main tasks for the next century.
Lindsay, thanks. The saying just sorta popped out the other eveing.
And I agree that it is a very important task for the Christian movement to work on as we enter more pluralistic times. I also believe we have ample resources in the believers church tradition if we look closer. In fact I would say that the believers church tradition, rightly understood, requires a pluralism of religions.
Interesting! Could you say a bit more about this?
Simply this: A believers church can only exist when opting out of church is a real option.
The early anabaptists and baptists understood this very well; its why they ended up championing freedom of religion. In our day the religious options are more extensive, we need to talk of multireligious society and not just multidenominational society, but can you see the similarities? The whole believers baptism thing is premised on the understanding that people have a choise to make; and that choise must be real for the baptism to be real.
So, in our day this means making space for other religions in society. When alternatives to Christianity are allowed, it allows Christianity to be more authentic. Hence the saying.
It kind of mirrors why God gave us free will. We can only freely choose God’s way if we also have the possibility to chose other paths. Of course much suffering results from that freedom. I heard a rabbi give a talk once when he said the early rabbis (about 2000 years ago) debated whether God had made a mistake giving us free will, and they concluded that He had. But, they concluded, since God had given us free will we have to make the best of it.
I love the story of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” which powerfully explores these issues.
Yes exactly, this is all about freedom. What does it mean to have freedom in Christ if we are not free to choose Christ freely? An inevitable consequence of Christian freedom is religious pluralism. You can’t take away one without taking away the other. Thus, even as we disagree with other religions, we should respect and affirm their right to exist if we value our own freedom.
Liberalism and Fundamentalism both, in their own way, are based on a totalitarian universalism. Fundamentalism would force everyone to hold to a narrow orthodoxy. Liberalism would water down the faith till it is acceptable to everyone. They both seek total conversion. But what if we said, faith is not for everyone, its ok to disagree?