Religious pluralism is defined as “an attitude or policy regarding the diversity of religious belief systems co-existing in society.” It assumes the default position that one’s own religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth.
While it is true that Christians can have a great deal of tolerance for opposing ideas and beliefs, even recognizing that truth and moral values exist in other religions, it is simply impossible to use religious pluralism as a guiding ethic for civil polity. The very nature of law and government proposes an up or down position on every piece of legislation – one side wins and the other loses. Civil representatives decide which laws we will enact and enforce. Laws define what is criminal and what is legal.
So while pluralism can hold true for the specific beliefs and values of individuals, it cannot be the foundation for a culture. For example, a Christian might believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, while a secularist might believe that homosexuals have the right to be married. Both sides certainly have the right to hold their private beliefs, but the civil polity cannot be both at the same time. Marriage is either going to be defined as one man and one woman or it will be expanded to include same sex unions.
The same is true of the abortion issue. A pro-life advocate believes abortion is the murder of an unborn child, while an abortion rights advocate believes that it is a matter of choice for a woman to terminate her pregnancy. Again, no one is suggesting that people should be forced to believe a certain way, but we can’t have a law that says that a human being is a person with the right to life from biological beginnings, while also saying that it is a women’s right to choose abortion for any reason.
The pro-abortion taunt of “If you are against abortion, then don’t have one!” works only if abortion is legal in all cases. There is no pluralism when the “right to abortion” is legal under any circumstance. There is no pluralism when abortion is illegal in all or most cases.
As Harvey Cox said, “Not to decide is to decide.” Pluralism, just like its twin sister, neutrality, is a myth. But why can’t we all just get along? It sounds wonderful, but it is impossible in the real world.
God’s Law is Supreme
You will either have God’s Law or man’s law – theonomy or autonomy. Take your pick. God’s Law leads to blessings and prosperity. Man’s law leads to spiritual bondage and poverty. Obviously, this assumes a converted population – an individual cannot be blessed of God only by following the law. We are saved as individuals by grace through faith. But when we are dealing with the whole society, the Law will bring the blessings of God to any culture that embraces the moral mandates of scripture.
God rules. His Law is supreme. He requires all people in all nations at all times to obey. When His law and man’s law conflict, His law is the unquestionable authority. Man’s law at that point is unrighteous tyranny.
For Christians who doubt this conclusion, please consider these questions:
- Whose law is eternal – God’s or man’s?
- Can God’s Law be rescinded, revised or improved?
- Does God hold His Law or man’s law to be higher when the two are in conflict?
- Does God want His people to obey His Law or man’s when the two are in conflict?
- Does God hold all rulers in all nations – including non-Christians – accountable to His Law, or are the lost free to do what they want?
- If the lost are free to do as they please, to what standard will God hold them accountable?
- By what standard will He judge them?
- How can the Holy Spirit convict them of sin if the measure of sin (the Law) has been removed?
We need to forever settle in our minds and hearts the supremacy of God’s Law. While we may debate over exactly how to interpret the laws of the Bible that apply to culture, as Christians we must decide up front that the Word of God is our standard.