Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Bush = Osama?

LT Jeyachandran of RZIM (Singapore) visits for two evening talks at our church mid-December. In the last two years, we have had to abort a couple of previous engagements due to this and that, so I’m looking forward to his visit this time now that it’s on. He’s scheduled to speak on the relevance of Jesus in a pluralistic society, and Evil & Suffering. Two tough subjects.

Regarding pluralism, the issue we are dealing with is not that pluralism as a value is wrong - only when it is offered as an ideology that’s to be desired, and therefore by necessity levels every thought and truth-claim as if they possess no distinctives. Alister McGrath in his paper (Jesus:The Only Way?) is right when he wrote that it’s a “small step from essentially political judgment concerning toleration to the theological declarations that all religions are the same.” (The Truth About Jesus edited by Donald Armstrong)

That of course is what’s happening today, and that is why exclusive claims to truth are usually shouted down as unacceptable and divisive. Them are fighting words. Tolerance is usually what’s pulled out of the bag to defend pluralism. But are all ideas equal? Should all religions be treated on the same footing?

Aisehman quotes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof who takes offense at the Left Behind series ugly send-off of Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Agnostics, etc into everlasting fire:
“If Saudi Arabians wrote an Islamic version of this series we would furiously demand that sensible Muslims repudiate such hate-mongering. We should hold ourselves to the same standard.”
I am no fan of La Haye and Jenkins but you can see what the fuss is all about. Aisehman’s response to a comment I made asked:
“And just as George Bush is acting out of conviction borne and underpinned by his faith, so is Osama bin Laden. Care to show me any fundamental difference between these two fundamentalists?”

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