79. Stop the Hateful Contradict Movement Now!

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Andy has a website called Contradict Movement, where he sells stickers that spell Contradict using various religious symbols.  He also sells Contradict Gospel tracts to accompany these stickers and his book, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True.  Links are also given to his blog, Youtube channel, and Reconnect Podcast.  All of these resources are purposed to equip Christians to defend the good news of Jesus Christ in a pluralistic age.

Periodically, Andy receives messages that call for him to stop Contradict Movement, because it is a distortion of what Coexist actually is and that Contradict is a hateful movement!

In this episode, he shares the following email and the several back and forth replies that followed:

“I’m not sure I understand your message or your goal for this “movement”.  The Coexist Movement is simply a call for peace among religions.  Pointing out that different religions are different seems to be a mute point. Why go against a peaceful movement to point out our differences? No one is claiming that all religions are the same. We know that all religions are diverse and different from one another, we are just trying to coexist peacefully and respectfully. Will you please stop this movement? You are making a bad name for Christians everywhere, making Christianity the “hateful religion”. Please stop.”

Contradict Black Final

Show Links:

Bush, Hillsong Pastor, and Pope Saying Muslims, Jews, and Christians Worship the Same God (Video)

Swami Vivekananda at Parliament of World Religions Saying All Religions Are True (Video)

Unitarian Universalist Church In Their Own Words (Video)

Bono of U2 Rocking Coexist Making It Popular (Video)

The Not So Peaceful History of Coexist (Video)

Peacemonger and Their Religious Pluralism Stickers (Video)

Excerpt of Contradict – They Can’t All Be True (Book by Andy Wrasman)

24. The State of Pluralism

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Andy is in the process of turning his book, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True, into an audio edition.  This episode is a sampling of the work in progress as he reads the first chapter.  The influence of Hinduism in the West with its connections to religious pluralism is addressed, which leads perfectly into next week’s episode asking the question, “Is it OK for Christians to do yoga?”

Reconnect Episode 13: God Is Too Big To Fit Into One Religion!

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Reconnect Episode 13
Do you want to have this conversation with your friends, small group Bible study, or class?  Here is the discussion guide that was used in this episode, free for your use: “No Religion Can Contain God!”. Please consider giving a shout out to Reconnect, andywrasman.com, and contradictmovement.org if you choose to use this discussion guide.  Thanks.

The Blind Men and the Elephant – The Response!

The following is an excerpt from my book, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True (FYI – the spacing doesn’t always transfer correctly from my PDF file to the blog):

Drawing by my friend Danny Martinez.
Drawing by my friend Danny Martinez.

A popular analogy that depicts an “all religions lead to God” form of pluralism is the story of several blind men touching various parts of an elephant and being unable to agree on a single description of the creature they’re touching. This story has connections to Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even Sufi Islam, a mystical branch of Islam. The story is found in the teachings of the Buddha within the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism. One of the most popular versions comes from a nineteenth-century poet, John Godfrey Saxe, who rewrote the story in rhyme.

Though there are minor discrepancies among the versions, they all present the same basic scenario: since each blind man is touching a different part of the elephant, they disagree on what the elephant actually is. The one touching the tail might think the elephant is a broom; the one touching the side of the elephant might think the elephant is a wall; the one touching
the elephant’s trunk might think the elephant is a snake. Individually, they each know a part of the elephant accurately, but not the sum total of the animal. They fail to grasp what the elephant actually is because of their blindness. Their dispute is futile since they are all mistaken.

It is pretty clear how this story can be used within the framework of pluralistic relativism. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and the like are all touching the same sacred elephant, God. But because all of humanity is spiritually blind, we are incapable of knowing God as he actually is. Any fighting among religious faiths is thus futile.

On the flip side, the good news within pluralism is that every religion is true based on what its adherents have experienced of the sacred reality. Since all religions have touched the sacred elephant, all religions lead to the same divine truth. Religious pluralists argue that if humanity could only come to “see” this predicament, all religious fighting could stop. We could recognize what each religion has learned about God and, by compiling the parts of the whole, come to a better understanding of who or what the nature and personhood of the sacred reality is.

The view of the divine expressed by the sacred elephant analogy is plausible and worth considering. Before considering the accuracy of its assertions, I want to stress the pluralistic uses of the story. Far from saying all religions are true, the story of the blind men and the elephant takes all religions and throws them under the bus, where they are left broken in their false perceptions of ultimate truth. As hopeful as this story can appear, in reality it just drops the bomb on absolute truth, at least absolute truth concerning God. The blind men show us that truth concerning God is unobtainable due to our limited faculties.

Skepticism toward God doesn’t invalidate this brand of pluralism. The problem lies within itself. Nestled within the story of the blind men and the elephant is a self-contradiction that makes the entire claim crumble in on itself. The pluralists claim that God is unknowable; every religion is wrong about its perceived understanding of the divine. However, in making this claim, the pluralists also implicitly declare they have an inside track on who God is. If no one is capable of knowing God due to our lack of sight in the realm of the divine, then what prescription glasses have enabled the pluralists to know the nature of God with such certainty? Pluralists are rejecting all exclusive truths concerning God, but making one themselves.

End of excerpt from Contradict – They Can’t All Be True.

In my book, I intentionally wrote with a non-Christian voice for the first six  chapters.  I first present what religious pluralism is and why its so dominant in our culture and society right now.  I then demonstrate how religious pluralism doesn’t actually work logically.  Responding to the elephant analogy was near the end of that section of the discussion before moving into presenting an evaluation of religious truth-claims and ultimately landing on the trustworthy nature of the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth to save us from sin and death and reconcile us into a right relationship with God!  Since I wasn’t ready to let it out of the bag that I was a Christian yet in that stage of the book writing process, I didn’t  respond to the elephant analogy the way I typically would.  The following is a more complete Christian response to this popular analogy:

A critique of this parable would contain the following points:

  1. This parable is actually claiming that all religions are false.
  2. This parable makes all aspects of life subjective.  There is no absolute, objective reality that we can be certain we are experiencing correctly.  If absolutes don’t exist in a way that we can comprehend them, morals and ethics also become subjective.  There would no longer be such a thing as right and wrong.
  3. Any exclusive religion, such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are forced to give up their claims to exclusivity to fit into the inclusive, pluralism which this parable projects.
  4. With Christianity’s exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way to salvation, all other religions would have to be false if Christianity is true, or Christianity could be false and other religions true.  This does not fit with the elephant analogy at all.
  5. The original telling of this legend has a king who sees the blind men groping at the elephant arguing about what they are touching.  The king reveals to them in laughter that they are all foolish men that they are all touching the same reality, the elephant!  This is very interesting that the original legend has a word from above revealing the truth to the blind men.  This indicates that the truth is actually discernible – we might just need some help from someone up above.
  6. The original ending of this parable lends itself very well to Christianity.  Christianity teaches that help did come from above.  That God has revealed himself to mankind through what he has created as well as through special revelation from the Scriptures and in particular through the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, taking on flesh and walking amongst us, revealing the truth to us, healing the blind and helping them see.  This revelatory claim of Christianity isn’t even considered or introduced in pluralistic uses of this parable.

Conclusion: Declare truth where truth is found!

It seems clear that all religions cannot be fully and equally true.  There are direct contradictions within the teachings of the world’s religions, such as Jesus is God (Christianity) and Jesus is not God (Islam), which eliminate the possibility that all religions are true.

This however doesn’t mean that aspects of the truth cannot be found within various religions.  Christians would do good to point these truths out from time to time.  If Christ’s claim is true that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), then all truth would be God’s truth, no matter where it is found.  Where truth is found, declare it, use it, put it in its full context of which it is fully and directly revealed from God in the Bible.  The Apostle Paul did when he quoted the philosophers of the Athenians (Acts 17).  We can do it too!

Charles Colson – Against the Night #1 – The Ideas that Brought the New Dark Ages

I started reading the late Charles Colson‘s book Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages.  This book was written in 1989, and I’m sure Colson would have far more to say if it were written today.  He writes about the setting sunset and our entrance into the “new dark ages.”  What makes our times dark?  It’s moral decay!  We’ve lost the fundamental truths upon which absolute morality is established.  The age of relativism is bringing down Western society as we know it.

In the first chapter of my soon to be published book, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True, I address this same problem, but my focus is on religious pluralism more so than moral relativism, but the two go hand in hand.  I trace the origin of this “new dark age” in the West from its religious origins of Hinduism’s influence on Western culture from the transcendentalist movement that began in 19th century through authors such as Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau. Colson begins earlier in 1610 with the French philosopher Rene Descartes.  Descartes came to the conclusion that the one thing he knew was certain was the fact that he doubted.  He could not doubt that he doubted, which led to his classic statement, “I think, therefore I am.”

Colson sees this teaching as the root of our current age of moral decline and loss of truth:

Descartes’s now-famous postulate led to a whole new premise for philosophic thought: man, rather than God, became the fixed point around which everything else revolved; human reason became the foundation upon which a structure of knowledge could be built; and doubt became the highest intellectual virtue. … Men and women could not order their lives according to what they could see for themselves through reason, and the fetters of faith and tradition fell away.  … For centuries people had established their moral standards according to the discerned will of God or by appealing to Aristotelian concepts of virtue.  Now Enlightened thinkers sought to root morality not within a transcendent authority or classical conceptions of virtue, but within the mind and heart of man.  Moral judgments would be measured by what men and women could know or feel for themselves.

René Descartes
René Descartes – Is this the man we can blame for our current state of moral decay and loss of the belief absolute truth within our culture?

I find it interesting that Colson traces the problem back to a philosophy that ultimately strips God from the picture and makes Man the end all, be all of determining reality, and I traced the problem back to a religion that says everything is divine and thus each of us is God!  The two go hand in hand.  One reached the mind through philosophy and the other spoke to the heart through an Eastern religion that is experiential.  The one, two punch combo that has knocked us down.  Are we going to get up?  Are you we going to fight back?  We must reclaim absolute truth, not for ourselves, but for all of mankind who needs a saving relationship with God.

2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises.  He is patient!  He desires that no one perishes, but that everyone comes to eternal life through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.”

Contradict #12 – Long and Short Versions

I found a bumper sticker that says, “Practice what he preached,” with an image of a person who I assume to be Jesus of Nazareth.  Below the imperative statement, many religious symbols are displayed.  Just what does this mean, and is it correct?

Here’s the long version of my reply to this sticker’s message:

Here’s the short reply to this sticker’s message:

Which video do think is better?

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