The 60s Counter-Culture movement that questioned absolute truth and morality and the objectivity for measuring such standards did so because they saw that people were being killed over differences that weren’t directly affecting them in their personal freedoms. Different forms of government cause war, cultural clashes lead to hatred, racial differences bring oppression, the physically stronger sex suppresses the weaker sex, and religions… well, I think we know the problems that arise from the interaction of diverse faiths vying for the ultimate authority on the most important questions of life, death, and the after-life.
Crying amidst these clashes over politics, race, sex, and religion, the Youngbloods sang, “Come on people now smile on your brother. Everybody get together. Try to love one another right now.” The Beatles sang over and over, “All you need is love. Love is all you need.” And after the Beatles broke up, John Lennon sang against fussing over all the different “isms” in the world, when all we really need to do is “give peace a chance.” The slogan that sums up the Counter-Culture movement was “Make love not war,” and this is the heart behind modern day pluralism, love.
Those who imply pluralism when they use the words tolerance and co-existence are doing so from a right heart position. From their standpoint, the often times hateful reaction that intolerance offers in response to diversity is the root of our self inflicted pain and suffering upon each other. If we could only love one another, we could heal the world. If we could just get to that point that we recognize that we are all brothers and sisters; we could make the world a better place for you, and for me.
Love covers a multitude of sins. Love trumps all ideologies, philosophies, and religions, and if some refuse to hop aboard the love (pluralism) train because they are still elevating their beliefs over and above love, then all we have to do is convince them that the world’s competing truth claims are actually at their core, the same. If differences are only aesthetic, then all religions can all be boiled down to one common denominator. That one common denominator is love thy neighbor as yourself; love is all we need, and that is the heart behind pluralism.
But is it true? Can religions really be reduced to a common denominator?