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Religious pluralism

Religious pluralism

Overview
Religious pluralism is a loosely defined expression concerning acceptance of various religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s, and is used in a number of related ways:
  • As the name of the worldview according to which one's religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions.
  • As acceptance of the concept that two or more religions with mutually exclusive truth claims are equally valid.
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Encyclopedia
Religious pluralism is a loosely defined expression concerning acceptance of various religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s, and is used in a number of related ways:
  • As the name of the worldview according to which one's religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions.
  • As acceptance of the concept that two or more religions with mutually exclusive truth claims are equally valid. This posture often emphasizes religion's common aspects.
  • Sometimes as a synonym for ecumenism
    Ecumenism
    Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

    , i.e., the promotion of some level of unity, co-operation, and improved understanding between different religions or different denomination
    Religious denomination
    A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

    s within a single religion.
  • As term for the condition of harmonious co-existence between adherents of different religion
    Religion
    Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

    s or religious denomination
    Religious denomination
    A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

    s.
  • As a social norm and not merely a synonym for religious diversity.

Definition and scope


Religious pluralism, to paraphrase the title of a recent academic work, goes beyond mere toleration. Chris Beneke, in Beyond Toleration: The Religious Origins of American Pluralism, explains the difference between religious tolerance and religious pluralism by pointing to the situation in the late 18th century United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. By the 1730s, in most colonies religious minorities had obtained what contemporaries called religious toleration: "The policy of toleration relieved religious minorities of some physical punishments and some financial burdens, but it did not make them free from the indignities of prejudice and exclusion. Nor did it make them equal. Those 'tolerated' could still be barred from civil offices, military positions, and university posts." In short, religious toleration is only the absence of religious persecution
Religious persecution
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

, and does not necessarily preclude religious discrimination
Religious discrimination
Religious discrimination is valuing or treating a person or group differently because of what they do or do not believe.A concept like that of 'religious discrimination' is necessary to take into account ambiguities of the term religious persecution. The infamous cases in which people have been...

. However, in the following decades something extraordinary happened in the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

, at least if one views the events from "a late eighteenth-century perspective." Gradually the colonial governments expanded the policy of religious toleration, but then, between the 1760s and the 1780s, they replaced it with "something that is usually called religious liberty
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

." Mark Silka, in "Defining Religious Pluralism in America: A Regional Analysis", states that Religious pluralism "enables a country made up of people of different faiths to exist without sectarian warfare or the persecution of religious minorities. Understood differently in different times and places, it is a cultural construct that embodies some shared conception of how a country's various religious communities relate to each other and to the larger nation whole."

Religious pluralism can be defined as "respecting the otherness of others" and accepting the given uniqueness endowed to each one of us.

Interfaith dialogue



Religious pluralism is sometimes used as a synonym for interfaith
Interfaith
The term interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels...

 dialogue. Interfaith dialogue refers to dialogue between members of different religions for the goal of reducing conflicts between their religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s and to achieve agreed upon mutually desirable goals. Inter-religious dialogue is difficult if the partners adopt a position of particularism, i.e. if they only care about the concerns of their own group, but is favored by the opposite attitude of universalism
Universalism
Universalism in its primary meaning refers to religious, theological, and philosophical concepts with universal application or applicability...

, where care is taken for the concerns of others. Interfaith dialogue is easier if a religion's adherents have some form of inclusivism
Inclusivism
Inclusivism, one of several approaches to understanding the relationship between religions, asserts that while one set of beliefs is absolutely true, other sets of beliefs are at least partially true. It stands in contrast to exclusivism, which asserts that only one way is true and all others are...

, the belief that people in other religions may also have a way to salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

, even though the fullness of salvation can be achieved only in one’s own religion. Conversely, believers with an exclusivist
Exclusivism
Excluvisism is the practice of being exclusive; mentality characterized by the disregard for opinions and ideas other than one's own, or the practice of organizing entities into groups by excluding those entities which possess certain traits like Christopher Columbus..-Religious...

 mindset will rather tend to proselytize
Proselytism
Proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion. The word proselytize is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος...

 followers of other religions, than seek an open-ended dialogue with them.

Conditions for the existence of religious pluralism



Freedom of religion encompasses all religions acting within the law in a particular region, whether or not an individual religion accepts that other religions are legitimate or that freedom of religious choice and religious plurality in general are good things. Exclusivist religions teach that theirs is the only way to salvation and to religious truth, and some of them would even argue that it is necessary to suppress the falsehoods taught by other religions. Some Protestant sect
Sect
A sect is a group with distinctive religious, political or philosophical beliefs. Although in past it was mostly used to refer to religious groups, it has since expanded and in modern culture can refer to any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and...

s argue fiercely against Roman Catholicism, and fundamentalist Christians
Fundamentalist Christianity
Christian fundamentalism, also known as Fundamentalist Christianity, or Fundamentalism, arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians...

 of all kinds teach that religious practices like those of paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 and witchcraft
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

 are pernicious. This was a common historical attitude prior to the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, and has appeared as governmental policy into the present day under systems like Afghanistan's
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 Taliban regime, which destroyed the ancient Buddhas of Bamyan
Buddhas of Bamyan
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddhas carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, situated northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters...

.

Many religious believers believe that religious pluralism should entail not competition but cooperation, and argue that societal and theological change is necessary to overcome religious differences between different religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s, and denominational conflicts within the same religion. For most religious traditions, this attitude is essentially based on a non-literal view of one's religious traditions, hence allowing for respect to be engendered between different traditions on fundamental principles rather than more marginal issues. It is perhaps summarized as an attitude which rejects focus on immaterial differences, and instead gives respect to those beliefs held in common.

Giving one religion or denomination special rights that are denied to others can weaken religious pluralism. This situation obtains in certain European countries, where Roman Catholicism or regional forms of Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 have special status. For example see the entries on the Lateran Treaty and Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...



Relativism
Relativism
Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration....

, the belief that all religions are equal in their value and that none of the religions gives access to absolute truth, is an extreme form of inclusivism
Inclusivism
Inclusivism, one of several approaches to understanding the relationship between religions, asserts that while one set of beliefs is absolutely true, other sets of beliefs are at least partially true. It stands in contrast to exclusivism, which asserts that only one way is true and all others are...

. Likewise, syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

, the attempt to take over creeds of practices from other religions or even to blend practices or creeds from different religions into one new faith is an extreme form of inter-religious dialogue. Syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 must not be confused with ecumenism
Ecumenism
Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

, the attempt to bring closer and eventually reunite different denominations of one religion that have a common origin but were separated by a schism
Schism (religion)
A schism , from Greek σχίσμα, skhísma , is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within...

.

Religious freedom did not exist at all in many Communist countries such as Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 and the Stalinist Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, where the state prevented the public expression of religious belief and even persecuted some or all religions. This situation persists still today in North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, and to some extent in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

.

History of religious pluralism



Cultural
Cultural pluralism
Cultural pluralism is a term used when smaller groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities, and their values and practices are accepted by the wider culture. Cultural pluralism is often confused with Multiculturalism...

 and religious pluralism has a long history and development that reaches from antiquity to contemporary trends in post-modernity.

Inter-religious pluralism


For purposes of exposition, views about religious pluralism may be loosely classified into views about 1) inter-religious pluralism and 2) intra-religious pluralism. By inter-religious pluralism, we mean the views held within one major faith tradition (e.g., Christianity) about the validity or truth of other major faith traditions (e.g., Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.). In contrast, intra-religious pluralism refers to views held by specific schools or denominations within a major faith tradition (e.g., by Eastern Orthodox Christians) about the validity or truth of other schools or denominations within the same major faith tradition (e.g., about Protestant Christianity or Roman Catholic Christianity).

The following subsections examine inter-religious pluralism within several major faith traditions.

Bahá'í views



Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

, founder of Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, urged the elimination of religious intolerance. He taught that God is one, and has manifested himself to humanity through several historic messengers. Bahá'u'lláh taught that Bahá'ís must associate with peoples of all religions, showing the love of God in relations with them, whether this is reciprocated or not.

Bahá'í's refer to the concept of Progressive revelation, which means that God's will is revealed to mankind progressively as mankind matures and is better able to comprehend the purpose of God in creating humanity. In this view, God's word is revealed through a series of messengers: Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

, Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

, Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

, Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, Mohammed, and Bahá'u'lláh (the founder of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

) among them. In the Kitáb-i-Íqán
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

(Book of Certitude), Bahá'u'lláh explains that messengers of God have a twofold station, one of divinity and one of an individual. According to Bahá'í writings, there will not be another messenger for many hundreds of years. There is also a respect for the religious traditions of the native peoples of the planet who may have little other than oral traditions as a record of their religious figures.

Buddhist views


In the Brahmajala Sutta
Brahmajala Sutta
The Brahmajala Sutta is the first of 34 suttas in the Digha Nikaya . The name comes from 'brahma' and 'jala'...

, the Buddha is recorded as stating that the teachings of other sects of his day were based on one or more of 62 erroneous theories, and that falling into those errors would prevent attaining permanent liberation
Nirvana
Nirvāṇa ; ) is a central concept in Indian religions. In sramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the Supreme being through moksha...

 from suffering:


Bhikkus, there are countless philosophies, doctrines, and theories in this world. People criticize each other and argue endlessly over their theories. According to my investigation, there are sixty-two main theories which underlie the thousands of philosophies and religions current in our world. Looked at from the Way of Enlightenment and Emancipation, all sixty-two of these theories contain errors and create obstacles… A good fisherman places his net in the water and catches all the shrimp and fish he can. As he watches the creatures try to leap out of the net, he tells them, ‘No matter how high you jump, you will only land in the net again.’ He is correct. The thousands of beliefs flourishing at present can all be found in the net of these sixty-two theories. Bhikkus, don’t fall into that bewitching net. You will only waste time and lose your chance to practice the Way of Enlightenment.


The earliest reference to Buddhist views on religious pluralism in a political sense is found in the Edicts of Emperor Ashoka
Edicts of Ashoka
The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 269 BCE to 231 BCE. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India,...

:
"All religions should reside everywhere, for all of them desire self-control and purity of heart." Rock Edict Nb7 (S. Dhammika)

"Contact (between religions) is good. One should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, desires that all should be well-learned in the good doctrines of other religions." Rock Edict Nb12 (S. Dhammika)


When asked, “Don’t all religions teach the same thing? Is it possible to unify them?” the Dalai Lama said:


People from different traditions should keep their own, rather than change. However, some Tibetan may prefer Islam, so he can follow it. Some Spanish prefer Buddhism; so follow it. But think about it carefully. Don’t do it for fashion. Some people start Christian, follow Islam, then Buddhism, then nothing.

In the United States I have seen people who embrace Buddhism and change their clothes! Like the New Age. They take something Hindu, something Buddhist, something, something… That is not healthy.

For individual practitioners, having one truth, one religion, is very important. Several truths, several religions, is contradictory.

I am Buddhist. Therefore, Buddhism is the only truth for me, the only religion. To my Christian friend, Christianity is the only truth, the only religion. To my Muslim friend, [Islam] is the only truth, the only religion. In the meantime, I respect and admire my Christian friend and my Muslim friend. If by unifying you mean mixing, that is impossible, useless.

Classical Greek and Roman pagan views


The ancient Greeks were polytheists; pluralism in that historical era meant accepting the existence of and validity of other peoples religions. Ancient Greeks employed Interpretatio Graeca
Interpretatio graeca
Interpretatio graeca is a Latin term for the common tendency of ancient Greek writers to equate foreign divinities to members of their own pantheon. Herodotus, for example, refers to the ancient Egyptian gods Amon, Osiris and Ptah as "Zeus", "Dionysus" and "Hephaestus", respectively.-Roman...

 whereby the gods of other religions were equated with those of their own pantheon. The Romans easily accomplished this task by subsuming the entire set of gods from other faiths into their own religion; this was done on rare occasion by adding a new god to their own pantheon; on most occasions they identified another religion's gods with their own, see syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 which can be a form of Inclusivism
Inclusivism
Inclusivism, one of several approaches to understanding the relationship between religions, asserts that while one set of beliefs is absolutely true, other sets of beliefs are at least partially true. It stands in contrast to exclusivism, which asserts that only one way is true and all others are...

.

Christian views


Some Christians have argued that religious pluralism is an invalid or self-contradictory concept. Maximal forms of religious pluralism claim that all religions are equally true, or that one religion can be true for some and another for others. Some Christians hold this idea to be logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

ally impossible from the Principle of contradiction.

Other Christians have held that there can be truth value and salvific value in other faith traditions. John Macquarrie
John Macquarrie
John Macquarrie FBA TD was a Scottish theologian and philosopher, the author of Principles of Christian Theology and Jesus Christ in Modern Thought...

, described in the Handbook of Anglican Theologians (1998) as "unquestionably Anglicanism
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

's most distinguished systematic theologian in the second half of the twentieth century," wrote that "there should be an end to proselytizing but that equally there should be no syncretism of the kind typified by the Baha'i movement" (p. 2). In discussing 9 founders of major faith traditions (Moses, Zoroaster, Lao-zu, Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Krishna, Jesus, and Muhammad), which he called "mediators between the human and the divine," Macquarrie wrote that:

I do not deny for a moment that the truth of God has reached others through other channels - indeed, I hope and pray that it has. So while I have a special attachment to one mediator, I have respect for them all. (p. 12)


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also teaches a form of religious pluralism, that there is at least some truth in almost all religions and philosophies.

Hindu views


The Hindu religion
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 is naturally pluralistic. A well-known Rig Vedic hymn says that "Truth is One, though the sages know it variously." (Ékam sat vipra bahudā vadanti). Similarly, in the Bhagavad Gītā
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

(4:11), God, manifesting as an incarnation, states that "As people approach me, so I receive them. All paths lead to me" (ye yathā māṃ prapadyante tāṃs tathāiva bhajāmyaham mama vartmānuvartante manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ). The Hindu religion has no theological difficulties in accepting degrees of truth in other religions. Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 emphasizes that everyone actually worships the same God, whether one knows it or not. Just as Hindus worshiping Ganesh is seen as valid by those worshiping Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

, so someone worshiping Jesus or Allah is accepted. Many foreign deities become assimilated into Hinduism, and some Hindus may sometimes offer prayers to Jesus along with their traditional forms of God.

Islamic views


Reference to Islamic views on religious pluralism is found in the Quran. The following verses are generally interpreted as an evidence of religious pluralism:

Surah
Sura
A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

 Al-Ma'idah verse 48 states:
Surah
Sura
A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

 Al-Ankabut verse 46 states:
"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands outs clear from Error" . Verse 2:256 of Surat Al-Baqarah

"If they charge you with falsehood, say: 'For me are my deeds and for you are your deeds! You are free from responsibility for what I do, and I for what you do' " . Verse 10:41 of Surat Yunus

"Say, 'The Truth is from your Lord' Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it)' " Verse 18:29 of Surat Al-Kahf

"To you (non-believers) be your Way (Religion), and to me mine" . Verse 109:6 of Surat Al-Kafirun

The Quran criticizes Christians and Jews who believed that their own religions the only source of Truth.
Surah Al-Baqara verse 113 states:
Many Muslims agree that cooperation with the Christian and Jewish community is important but some Muslims believe that theological debate is often unnecessary:
Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 sent a message to the monks of Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
Saint Catherine's Monastery lies on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai in the city of Saint Catherine in Egypt's South Sinai Governorate. The monastery is Orthodox and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

:
Islam's fundamental theological concept is belief in one God. Muslims are not expected to visualize God but to worship and adore him as a protector. Any kind of idolatry is condemned in Islam. As a result, Muslims hold that for someone to worship any other gods or deities other than Allah (Shirk
Shirk (polytheism)
In Islam, shirk is the sin of idolatry or polytheism. i.e. the deification or worship of anyone or anything other than the singular God, or more literally the establishment of "partners" placed beside God...

(polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

)) is a sin that will lead to separation from Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

.

Muslims believe that Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 sent the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 to bring peace and harmony to humanity through Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 (submission to Allah). Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

's worldwide mission was to establish universal peace under the Khilafat.

The Khilafat ensured security of the lives and property of non-Muslims under the dhimmi
Dhimmi
A , is a non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia law. Linguistically, the word means "one whose responsibility has been taken". This has to be understood in the context of the definition of state in Islam...

system.

This status was originally only made available to non-Muslims who were "People of the Book
People of the Book
People of the Book is a term used to designate non-Muslim adherents to faiths which have a revealed scripture called, in Arabic, Al-Kitab . The three types of adherents to faiths that the Qur'an mentions as people of the book are the Jews, Sabians and Christians.In Islam, the Muslim scripture, the...

" (Christians, Jews, and Sabians), but was later extended to include Zoroastrians, Sikhs,Hindus, Mandeans(Sabians), and Buddhists.

Dhimmi had more rights than other non-Muslim religious subjects, but often fewer legal and social rights than Muslims. Some Muslims, however, disagree, and hold that adherents of these faiths cannot be dhimmi.

Dhimmi enjoyed some freedoms under the state founded by Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 and could practice their religious rituals according to their faith and beliefs.

It should be noted that non-Muslims who were not classified as "people of the book", for example practitioners of the pre-Muslim indigenous Arabian religions, had few or no rights in Muslim society.

Muslim rule spread through conquest and this indirectly coerced many to convert to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. In other words, war was waged to put lands under Muslim rule, but the subjects were theoretically free to continue practice whatever religion they chose. However, the non-Muslim dhimmis were subject to taxation jizyah at a different rate of the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 zakat
Zakat
Zakāt , one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is the giving of a fixed portion of one's wealth to charity, generally to the poor and needy.-History:Zakat, a practice initiated by Muhammed himself, has played an important role throughout Islamic history...

. Dhimmi
Dhimmi
A , is a non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia law. Linguistically, the word means "one whose responsibility has been taken". This has to be understood in the context of the definition of state in Islam...

s also faced economic impediments, restrictions on political participation and/or social advancement based on their non-Muslim status.

Religious persecution
Religious persecution
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

 is also prohibited, although religious persecution in Muslim majority states have occurred, especially during periods of cruel rulers and general economic hardships. Pre-Islamic religious minorities continue to exist in some of their native countries, although only as marginal percentages of the overall population.

Sufism views


The Sufi's were practitioners of the esoteric mystic traditions within an Islam at certain point sufism defined by the sufi master or Pir (Sufism)
Pir (Sufism)
Pir or Peer is a title for a Sufi master equally used in the nath tradition. They are also referred to as a Hazrat or Shaikh, which is Arabic for Old Man. The title is often translated into English as "saint" and could be interpreted as "Elder". In Sufism a Pir's role is to guide and instruct his...

 or fakeer or Wali
Wali
Walī , is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh...

 in the language of the people by dancing and singing and incorporating various philosophies, theologies, ideologies and religions together. E.g. Christiainity, Judaism, paganism, platonism, Zorostrainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and so forth with time. The most famous of the sufis is Rumi. Other famous sufi masters are Sheikh Farid, Bulleh Shah
Bulleh Shah
Bulleh Shah was a Punjabi Sufi poet, a humanist and philosopher.-Early life:Bulleh Shah is believed to have been born in 1680, in the small village of Uch, Bahawalpur, Punjab, in present day Pakistan. His father, Shah Muhammad Darwaish, was a teacher and preacher in a village mosque...

, Shah Hussain
Shah Hussain
Shah Hussain was a Punjabi Sufi poet who is regarded as a Sufi saint. He was the son of Sheikh Usman, a weaver, and belonged to the Dhudha clan of Rajputs. He was born in Lahore...

, Shams Tabrizi
Shams Tabrizi
Shams-i-Tabrīzī or Shams al-Din Mohammad was a Persian Muslim, who is credited as the spiritual instructor of Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi and is referenced with great reverence in Rumi’s poetic collection, in particular Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrīzī...

, Waris Shah
Waris Shah
Waris Shah was a Punjabi Sufi poet, renowned for his contribution to Punjabi literature. He is best-known for his seminal work Heer Ranjha, based on the traditional folk tale of Heer and her lover Ranjha. Heer is considered one of the quintessential works of classical Punjabi literature...

, Ghazali, Mian Mir
Mian Mir
Baba Sain Mir Mohammed Sahib , popularly known as Mian Mir, was a famous Sufi saint who resided in Lahore, specifically in the town of Dharampura . He belonged to the Qadiri order of Sufism. He is famous for being a spiritual instructor of Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan...

, Attar of Nishapur, Amir Khusrow, Salim Chishti. see many more famous sufis here List of Sufis. The sufis were considered by many to have divine revelations with messages of peace, tolerance, equality, pluarism, love for all and hate for no one, humanitarians, philosophers, psychologists and much more. Many had the teaching if you want to change the world, change yourself and you will change the whole world. The views of the sufi poets, philosophers and theologians have inspired multiple forms of modern day academia as well as philosophers of other religions.

Persian poet Rumi says,


"I looked for God. I went to a temple, and I didn't find him there. Then I went to a church, and I didn't find him there. And then I went to a mosque, and I didn't find him there. And then finally I looked in my heart, and there he was."


Rumi also says


"How many paths are there to God? There are as many paths to God as there are souls on the Earth".



Rumi also says:


"A true Lover doesn't follow any one religion,
be sure of that.
Since in the religion of Love,
there is no irreverence or faith.
When in Love,
body, mind, heart and soul don't even exist.
Become this,
fall in Love,
and you will not be separated again."


The sufi platform was considered by exoteric dogmatic Muslims as a trojan horse ideology executing doctrine of deception (see Taqiyya
Taqiyya
Taqiyya , meaning religious dissimulation, is a practice emphasized in Shi'a Islam whereby adherents may conceal their religion when they are under threat, persecution, or compulsion...

) to convert others while others considered it outright heresy, blasphemy, innovation(biddah), kuffar, apostasy, haram and as such many sufis have gone under persuctions and executions for apostasy and trison charges at which point many tend to have supernatural events take place alike to Jesus crucification. Many sufis throughout there life display religious healing, miracles and supernatural events which seems like God has connected with the sufi alike to vedic and buddhist enlightenment. For more see Fana (Sufism), Baqaa
Baqaa
Baqaa, with literal meaning of permanency, is a term in Sufi philosophy which describes a particular state of life with God, through God, in God, and for God. It is the summit of the mystical manazil, that is, the destination or the abode...

, Yaqeen
Yaqeen
Yaqeen is generally translated as "certainty", and is considered the summit of the many stations by which the path of walaya is fully completed. This is the repository of liberating experience in Islam...

, Kashf
Kashf
Kashf in order to allow divine truths to pour into it. Kashf is etymologically related to mukashafa “disclosure”/ “divine irradiation of the essence”, which connotes “gain[ing] familiarity with things unseen behind the veils”...

, Manzil
Manzil
Manzil is the word for one of seven parts of roughly equal length into which the Qur'an is divided for the purpose of reciting the entire text in one week.They are:# Al-Fatihah through An-Nisa' # Al-Maida through At-Tawba...

, Haqiqa
Haqiqa
Haqiqa is a stage in Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam. Sufis strive to perfect themselves and come into the presence of God while still living. They recognize four stages in their pursuit of this: shari’a, tariqa, haqiqa and marifa....

, Sufi metaphysics, Sufi philosophy
Sufi philosophy
Sufi philosophy includes the schools of thought unique to Sufism, a mystical branch within Islam. Sufism and its philosophical traditions may be associated with Sunni Islam or Shia Islam. It has been suggested that Sufi thought emerged from the Middle East in the eighth century, but adherents are...

.

Ahmadiyya views



Ahmadis recognize many founders of world religions to be from God, who all brought teaching and guidance from God to all peoples. According to the Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

 understanding of the Quran, every nation in the history of mankind has been sent a prophet, as the Quran states: And there is a guide for every people. Though the Quran mentions only 24 prophets, the Holy founder of Islam, Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 states that the world has seen 124,000 prophets. Thus other than the prophets mentioned in the Quran, Ahmadis, with support from theological study also recognize Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

, Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

, founders of Chinese religions to be divinely appointed individuals.

The Second Khalifatul Maish
Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad
Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad , was Khalifatul Masih II, head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the eldest son of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad from his second wife, Nusrat Jehan Begum...

 of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

 writes:
“According to this teaching there has not been a single people at any time in history or anywhere in the world who have not had a warner from God, a teacher, a prophet. According to the Holy Quran there have been prophets at all times and in all countries. India, China, Russia, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, Europe, America - all had prophets according to the theory of divine guidance taught by the Holy Quran. When, therefore, Muslims hear about prophets of other peoples or other countries, they do not deny them. They do not brand them as liars. Muslims believe that other peoples have had their teachers. If other peoples have had prophets, books, and laws, these constitute no difficulty for Islam.”

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Mīrzā Ghulām Aḥmad was a religious figure from India and the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community. He claimed to be the Mujaddid of the 14th Islamic century, the promised Messiah , and the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims in the end days...

, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

 wrote in his book A Message of Peace
A Message of Peace
A Message of Peace is the last book written by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement in Islam. The book was completed on 25 May 1908, a day earlier before his demise...

:
“Our God has never discriminated between one people and another. This is illustrated by the fact that all the potentials and capabilities (Prophets) which have been granted to the Aryans (Hindus) have also been granted to the races inhabiting Arabia, Persia, Syria, China, Japan, Europe and America.”

Jain views



Anekāntavāda, the principle of relative pluralism, is one of the basic principles of Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

. In this view, the truth or the reality is perceived differently from different points of view, and no single point of view is the complete truth. Jain doctrine states that an object has infinite modes of existence and qualities and they cannot be completely perceived in all its aspects and manifestations, due to inherent limitations of the humans. Only the Kevalins
Kevala Jnana
In Jainism, ' or ' , "Perfect or Absolute Knowledge", is the highest form of knowledge that a soul can attain. A person who has attained is called a Kevalin, which is synonymous with Jina "victor" and Arihant "the worthy one"...

 - the omniscient beings - can comprehend the object in all its aspects and manifestations, and all others are capable of knowing only a part of it. Consequently, no one view can claim to represent the absolute truth. Jains compare all attempts to proclaim absolute truth with andhgajnyaya or the "maxim of the blind men and elephant
Blind Men and an Elephant
The story of the blind men and an elephant originated in India from where it is widely diffused. It has been used to illustrate a range of truths and fallacies...

", wherein all the blind men claimed to explain the true appearance of the elephant, but could only partly succeed due to their narrow perspective.

Sikh views


The Sikh Gurus
Sikh Gurus
The Sikh Gurus established Sikhism from over the centuries beginning in the year 1469. Sikhism was founded by the first guru, Guru Nanak, and subsequently, all in order were referred to as "Nanak", and as "Lights", making their teachings in the holy scriptures, equivalent...

 (religious leaders) have propagated the message of "many paths" leading to the one God
Ek Onkar
Ik Onkar is a central tenet of Sikh religious philosophy. It is a symbol of the unity of God in Sikhism, and is found on all religious scriptures and places such as Gurdwaras. Derived from Punjabi, Ik Onkār is the first phrase in the Mul Mantar referring to the existence of "one constant" taken to...

 and ultimate salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 for all souls who treading on the path of righteousness
Righteousness
Righteousness is an important theological concept in Zoroastrianism, Hinduism , Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

. They have supported the view that proponents of all faiths can, by doing good and virtuous deeds and by remembering the Lord
Lord
Lord is a title with various meanings. It can denote a prince or a feudal superior . The title today is mostly used in connection with the peerage of the United Kingdom or its predecessor countries, although some users of the title do not themselves hold peerages, and use it 'by courtesy'...

 can certainly achieve salvation. Students of the Sikh faith are told to accept all leading faiths as possible vehicles for attaining spiritual enlightenment, provided the faithful study, ponder and practice the teachings of their prophets and leaders. Sikhism had many interactions and of influences on and from Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 as well as Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 see Islam and Sikhism and Hinduism and Sikhism.

The holy book of the Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

s (the Sri Guru Granth Sahib) says,



"Do not say that the Vedas and the Koran (semetic books i.e. Bible, torah and quran) are false. Those who do not contemplate them are false." Guru Granth Sahib page 1350.


As well as;


Some call the Lord 'Ram, Ram', and some 'Khuda'. Some serve Him as 'Gusain', others as 'Allah'. He is the Cause of causes, and Generous. He showers His Grace and Mercy upon us. Some pilgrims bathe at sacred shrines, others go on Hajj to Mecca. Some do devotional worship, whilst others bow their heads in prayer. Some read the Vedas, and some the Koran. Some wear blue robes, and some wear white. Some call themselves Muslim, and some call themselves Hindu. Some yearn for paradise, and others long for heaven. Says Nanak, one who realizes the Hukam of God's Will, knows the secrets of his Lord Master."
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Page:885)



"One who recognizes that all spiritual paths lead to the One shall be emancipated. One who speaks lies shall fall into hell and burn. In all the world, the most blessed and sanctified are those who remain absorbed in Truth." (SGGS Ang 142)



"The seconds,minutes,and hours,days,weeks and months and various seasons originate from One Sun; O nanak,in just the same way, the many forms originate from the Creator." Guru Granth Sahib page 12,13


The Guru Granth Sahib also says that Bhagat Namdev and Bhagat Kabir
Kabir
Kabīr was a mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement...

, who were both believed to be Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s, both attained salvation though they were born before Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 took root and were clearly not Sikhs.This highlights and reinforces the Guru's saying that "peoples of other faiths" can join with God as true and also at the same time signify that Sikhism is not the exclusive path for liberation.

Additionally the Guru Granth Sahib says;


First, Allah (God) created the Light; then, by His Creative Power, He made all mortal beings. From the One Light, the entire universe welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1||



Again, the Guru Granth Sahib provides this verse:


"Naam Dayv the printer, and Kabeer
Kabir
Kabīr was a mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement...

 the weaver, obtained salvation through the Perfect Guru. Those who know God and recognize His Shabad ("word") lose their ego and class consciousness." Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Granth Sahib
Sri Guru Granth Sahib , or Adi Granth, is the religious text of Sikhism. It is the final and eternal guru of the Sikhs. It is a voluminous text of 1430 angs, compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus, from 1469 to 1708...

 page 67


Most of the 15 Sikh Bhagats who are mentioned in their holy book were non-Sikhs and belonged to Hindu and Muslim faiths, which were the most prevalent religions of this region.

The pluaristic dialogue of Sikhism began with the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak after becoming enlightened saying the words "Na koi hindu na koi musalman" - There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim. He recognised that religious labels held no value and it is the deeds of human that will be judged in the hereafter what we call ourselves religiously holds no value.

Sikhs have always being eager exponents of interfaith dialogue and will not only accept the right of other to practise their faith but have in the past fought and laid down their lives to protect this right for others. See the sacrifice of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadar who on the final desperate and heart-rending pleas of the Kashmiri Pandit, agreed to put up a fight for their right to practise their religion in which he was executed so another religion besides his own could have the freedom to practice there religion against the tyrant moghul empire who were forcing people to accept Islam.

Intra-religious pluralism


As noted earlier, intra-religious pluralism refers to views held by specific schools or denominations within a major faith tradition (e.g., by Eastern Orthodox Christians) about the validity or truth of other schools or denominations within the same major faith tradition (e.g., about Protestant Christianity or Roman Catholic Christianity). The following subsections describe views about intra-religious pluralism by various denominations and religious thinkers within several major faith traditions.

Classical Christian views


Before the Great Schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

, mainstream Christianity confessed "one holy catholic and apostolic church", in the words of the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

. Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Episcopalian
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

s and most Protestant Christian denominations still maintain this belief.

Church unity was something very visible and tangible, and schism was just as serious an offense as heresy. Following the Great Schism, Roman Catholicism sees and recognizes the Orthodox Sacraments as valid. Eastern Orthodoxy does not have the concept of "validity" when applied to Sacraments, but it considers the form of Roman Catholic Sacraments to be acceptable, if still devoid of actual spiritual content. Both generally regard each other as "heterodox" and "schismatic", while continuing to recognize each other as Christian. Attitudes of both towards different Protestant groups vary, primarily based upon how strongly Trinitarian the Protestant group in question might be.

Many Christians hold that the Christian church is not just an institution, which can be broken into many denominations. They hold that each instituted church is able to worship God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 in a way that conforms to Scripture, which allows for many different styles and customs. They hold that all true Christians are united in belief in Jesus Christ, which can be judged against such documents as the Apostles' Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

.

Modern Christian views


Many Protestant Christian groups hold that only believers which believe in certain fundamental doctrines know the true pathway to salvation. The core of this doctrine is that Jesus Christ was a perfect man, is the Son of God and that he died and rose again for the wrongdoing of those who will accept the gift of salvation. They continue to believe in "one" church, believing in fundamental issues there is unity and non-fundamental issues there is liberty. Some evangelicals are doubtful if the Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy are still valid manifestations of the Church and usually reject religious (typically restorationist) movements rooted in 19th century American Christianity, such as Mormonism, Christian Science
Christian Science
Christian Science is a system of thought and practice derived from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and the Bible. It is practiced by members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist as well as some others who are nonmembers. Its central texts are the Bible and the Christian Science textbook,...

, or Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 as not distinctly Christian.

Modern Christian ideas on intra-religious pluralism (between different denominations of Christianity) are discussed in the article on Ecumenism
Ecumenism
Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

.

Religious pluralism and human service professions


The concept of religious pluralism is also relevant to human service professions, such as psychology and social work, as well as medicine and nursing, in which trained professionals may interact with clients from diverse faith traditions. For example, psychologist
Psychologist
Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...

 Kenneth Pargament
Kenneth Pargament
Kenneth I. Pargament is a professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University .-Biography:Born in 1950 in Washington, D.C., Pargament received his Ph. D from the University of Maryland in 1977. He currently studies various relationships between religion, psychological well-being and stress,...

 has described four possible stances toward client religious and spiritual beliefs, which he called rejectionist, exclusivist, constructivist, and pluralist. Unlike the constructivist stance, the pluralist stance


recognizes the existence of a religious or spiritual absolute reality but allows for multiple interpretations and paths toward it. In contrast to the exclusivist who maintains that there is a single path "up the mountain of God," the pluralist recognizes many paths as valid. Although both the exclusivist and the pluralist may agree on the existence of religious or spiritual reality, the pluralist recognizes that this reality is expressed in different cultures and by different people in different ways. Because humans are mortal and limited, a single human religious system cannot encompass all of the religious or spiritual absolute reality. (p. 167)


Importantly, "the pluralistic therapist can hold personal religious beliefs while appreciating those of a client with different religious beliefs. The pluralist recognizes that religious value differences can and will exist between counselors and clients without adversely affecting therapy" (p. 168). The stances implied by these four helping orientations on several key issues, such as "should religious issues be discussed in counseling?", have also been presented in tabular form (p. 362, Table 12.1).

The profession of chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

cy, a religious profession, must also deal with issues of pluralism and the relevance of a pluralistic stance. For example, Friberg (2001) argues that "With growing populations of immigrants and adherents of religions not previously seen in significant numbers in North America, spiritual care must take religion and diversity seriously. Utmost respect for the residents' spiritual and religious histories and orientations is imperative" (p. 182).

See also


:Category:Catholic ecumenical and interfaith relations
  • Comparative Religion
    Comparative religion
    Comparative religion is a field of religious studies that analyzes the similarities and differences of themes, myths, rituals and concepts among the world's religions...

  • Freedom of religion
    Freedom of religion
    Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

  • Global Centre for Pluralism
    Global Centre for Pluralism
    The Global Centre for Pluralism is an international centre for research, education and exchange about the values, practices and policies that underpin pluralist societies...

  • Indifferentism
    Indifferentism
    Indifferentism, in Roman Catholic theology, describes the belief that there is no evidence that one religion or philosophy is superior to another. The Catholic Church ascribes indifferentism to all atheistic, materialistic, pantheistic, and agnostic philosophies...

  • Interreligious organization
  • Institute for Interreligious Dialogue
    Institute for Interreligious Dialogue
    Institute for Interreligious Dialogue is a non-governmental organization devoted to dialog among religions throughout the world.The institute was founded in 2000, following the efforts by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami for promoting dialogs among cultures and civilizations...

  • Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
    Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
    The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is a dicastery of the Roman Curia, erected by Pope Paul VI on 19 May 1964 as the Secretariat for Non-Christians, and renamed by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988....

  • Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
    Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
    The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity origins are associated with the Second Vatican Council which met intermittently from 1962–1965.Pope John XXIII wanted the Catholic Church to engage in the contemporary ecumenical movement...

  • Progressive Christianity
    Progressive Christianity
    Progressive Christianity is the name given to a movement within contemporary Christianity characterized by willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity with a strong emphasis on social justice or care for the poor and the oppressed and environmental stewardship of the Earth...

  • Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
    Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
    Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis have been operating for years in different fields.- Policy groups:Organizations or institutions which address and analyze policy issues in a wide range of areas...

  • Unitarian Universalism
    Unitarian Universalism
    Unitarian Universalism is a religion characterized by support for a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalists do not share a creed; rather, they are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth and by the understanding that an individual's theology is a...

  • United Religions Initiative
    United Religions Initiative
    The United Religions Initiative is an international, grassroots, interfaith bridge-building organization modeled after the United Nations...

  • Universalism
    Universalism
    Universalism in its primary meaning refers to religious, theological, and philosophical concepts with universal application or applicability...

  • World Council of Churches
    World Council of Churches
    The World Council of Churches is a worldwide fellowship of 349 global, regional and sub-regional, national and local churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service. It is a Christian ecumenical organization that is based in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland...


Works cited

  • Beneke, Chris (2006) Beyond Toleration: The Religious Origins of American Pluralism (New York: Oxford University Press).
  • Eck, Diane (2001) A New Religious America: How a "Christian Country" Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation (San Francisco: Harper).
  • Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism, Robert Gordis
    Robert Gordis
    Robert Gordis was a leading Conservative rabbi. He founded the first Conservative Jewish day school, served as President of the Rabbinical Assembly and the Synagogue Council of America, and was a professor at Jewish Theological Seminary of America from 1940 to 1992.He wrote one of the first...

     et al., Jewish Theological Seminary and the Rabbinical Assembly
    Rabbinical Assembly
    The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. The RA was founded in 1901 to shape the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement. It publishes prayerbooks and books of Jewish interest, and oversees the work of the Committee on Jewish Law and...

    , 1988.
  • Ashk Dahlén, http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Mm4-G9aWWWEC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=One+or+Many%3F+Religious+Pluralism+Among+Muslim+Intellectuals+in+Iran+in+The+Blackwell+Companion+to+Contemporary+Islamic+Thought,+ed.+Ibrahim+Abu-Rabi&ots=pF7oW2fqDa&sig=ReomCrq98Cvt0EOx4QGcg78iuWQ#v=onepage&q=one%20or%20many%20religious%20pluralism&f=falseSirat al-mustaqim: One or Many? Religious Pluralism Among Muslim Intellectuals in Iran] in The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought, ed. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi, Oxford, 2006.
  • Ground Rules for a Christian-Jewish Dialogue in The Root and the Branch, Robert Gordis, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1962
  • Hutchison, William R. (2003) Religious Pluralism in America: The Contentious History of a Founding Ideal (New Haven: Yale University Press).
  • Kalmin, Richard (1994), Christians and Heretics in Rabbinic Literature of Late Antiquity, Harvard Theological Review, Volume 87(2), p. 155-169.
  • Toward a Theological Encounter: Jewish Understandings of Christiantiy Ed. Leon Klenicki, Paulist Press / Stimulus, 1991
  • Monecal, Maria Rosa (2002),The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company)
  • People of God, Peoples of God Ed. Hans Ucko, WCC Publications, 1996
  • Kenneth Einar Himma, “Finding a High Road: The Moral Case for Salvific Pluralism,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, vol. 52, no. 1 (August 2002), 1-33

Further reading

  • Albanese, Catherine, America: Religions and Religion. Belmont: WADSWORTH PUBLISHING, 1998, ISBN 0534504574

External links


Buddhism


Christianity


Hinduism

  • Big Picture TV Video of Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, talking about religious pluralism

Islam


Judaism