Pluralism is a multiperspectival worldview. It suggests that there are many ways to explain the world, universe, purpose, and existence. Pluralism is the most enticing treatment for a worldview because it embodies tolerance. Pluralism, it seems, acts as a cradle for all of the other “isms.” In doing so it makes for a far greater threat to Christianity’s biblical beliefs than all of the other worldviews.
Pluralism places a safety net underneath a person’s ability to wholeheartedly embrace the full truth. This so-called “safety” net allows the person to fall just in case the belief is found to be a false truth, or even dare we say a half-truth lacking full potential of the ultimate truth. Leverage on belief is the equation, however a formula masked by tolerance and naïve openness doesn’t equate biblically. Rick Warren stated during a conference some time ago, “Some people are so open-minded that their brains fall out.” As comical as his statement was, there is a lot of truth within it. Pluralism also acts as a blockade for thinking deeper on what really matters, in doing so this deems pluralism a surface belief, shallow in-depth. It invites a co-mingling of other beliefs to become part of its ingredients. Unbeknownst to the non-contemplative person, the main ingredient is deflective tolerance.
Pluralism breaks down an individual’s willingness to approach and rebel against other ideas and beliefs, as this type of behavior would be viewed as intolerant. Simply put, pluralism slowly disintegrates an individual, as well as his/her culture or country’s ability to debate and discern what is right. From a biblical worldview: If the Word of God is represented by a sword, then the enemy, through the use of pluralism, is in the process of disarming us. The greater question then would be: Why the majority is unaware?
A Ghost in the Darkness
Dr. Hans Weerstra in his journal on Christian Worldview Development describes pluralism as perhaps the most subtle wind that pervades culture and times. What allows pluralism to act out in such a way is its ability to inherit attributes of unity. We are beings in such that we were made for community. This is good and right, but pluralism confuses this through doctrine. It does this in such a clever way that it does not dismiss doctrine, but rather embraces all doctrine, biblical as well as secular, in the form of unity whether it be true or false. It need not matter as long as there is belief in something. In embracing all doctrines through unity, a person could actually be considered open-minded, patient, understanding, a good listener, even loving. However, all through ignorance and naivety is the root in which pluralism draws upon for its fruit. Pluralism’s fruit has tempted many. Of course, the source is a tree raised up by the evil one devised for the destruction of belief. Its fruit is attractive poison for the soul’s intellect and we are not to eat of it. Pluralism is a ghost in the darkness mimicking attributes of light. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. (2 Cor. 11:14-15)
Benefits of a Pluralistic Society
When passed through the Holy Spirit, one can clearly see the benefits of pluralism. However, it is external and exists almost exclusively at a social, cultural level, rather than spiritual. Thabiti Anyabwile, a former Muslim, points out that pluralism at its best honors basic human rights such as individual freedom and freedom to worship God according to the dictates of one’s own conscience. He then moves on to say “Pluralism, in its good forms, helps push back against xenophobia, bigotry, and cultural hegemony. Depending on the culture in which God has placed an individual, pluralism can be experienced in a most positive way. Although one may enjoy the benefits of good pluralism, a follower of Christ has already been given a set of instructions regarding worldview that excludes pluralism. We may enjoy it extrinsically but are to lean on God, His Word, Christ, and the Holy Spirit for the truth. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. (1 Pet. 2:16)
The opposite of tolerance is intolerance, and because Christianity believes salvation is found and obtained only through Jesus Christ, Christians are ill perceived as dogmatic through the perception of a pluralistic society. This is where tolerance on pluralism’s part actually is to the benefit of the Christian, for they must at the very least hear out our worldview, otherwise it would not be true pluralism. This is to be taken as an opportunity to sow seeds in hopes that the Gospel of Christ will take root. Some may fall on rocky ground, some on thorns, but rich soil can be found through the power of the Gospel (Matt. 13:20-21). Criticism on behalf of God is to our benefit as well as theirs. Dogmatism in regards to loving our unbelieving brothers and sisters is a push towards their salvation in Christ. As Christians, we must have confidence in the Gospel and confidence can be matured through solid foundations.
A solid Christian foundation is necessary in order to stand against the current floodwaters, which are eroding biblical beliefs. A foundation is erected through obedience of faith, prayer, and scripture.  A steady diet and practice of these essentials will lead to stronger foundations, thus enabling us as individuals and as a whole to approach the front line as Christian soldiers rather than stumbling blocks of faith.
Confronting pluralism or any other worldview outside of a biblical foundation is requiring more often the theological task of apologetics. Apologetics offers defense of the faith when it is challenged, as it has been since birth. If Christians are going to be viewed in the world as being deep-seated in dogmatic thinking and belief, then we must be able to provide good reasons for being so.
We must approach pluralism through a foundation built upon works of faith, prayer and scripture. With a biblical foundation we can equip ourselves to live in a pluralistic society without falling prey to it. In doing so, we may begin the approach from their level with better understanding, holding a message that transforms rather than terminates. The Apostle Paul writes, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Cor. 9:22-23)
In falling for the persuasive invisible touch of pluralism, society once again has their golden calf. Setting themselves up as gods, unsuspecting of the treason they commit against God our Father. 2 Tim. 4:3 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” That time was then, as it is now. – Amen.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
. Piper and Mathis, Thinking, Loving, Doing (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2011), 30.
. Hans M. Weerstra, Christian Worldview Development (Pasadena, CA.: IJFM.org, 1997), 6, Electronic Format.
 ESV, The Holy Bible, 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
. Piper and Mathis, Thinking, Loving, Doing, 84.
. ESV, The Holy Bible, 1 Peter 2:16
. ESV, The Holy Bible, Mathew 13:4-8
. Weerstra, Christian Worldview Development, 4
. Ellen T. Charry, ed., Inquiring After God: Classic and Contemporary Readings, Blackwell Readings in Modern Theology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), xxv.
. ESV, The Holy Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:22-23
. ESV, The Holy Bible, 2 Timothy 4:3
Pluralism has really grown in our culture…exponentially it seems since the 1960’s. The Truth has become deeply obscured as a result and as you say, a Christian needs to put on the full armor of God to keep from being infected by it.
So true Michael, – Ephesians 6:10-18