1.  Cultural Pluralism

2.  Ideological Pluralism

3.  Intellectual Pluralism

4.  Religious Pluralism


Three Kinds of Phenomena:


1.  Empirical Pluralism

2.  Cherished Pluralism

3.  Philosophical Hermeneutical Pluralism


Empirical Pluralism: This phenomena expresses the growing diversity of our culture and multiculturalism.  Pluralism is one of the many possible evolutions of that fact.


Cherished Pluralism: This dimension of Pluralism entails approval or conscious commitment.  "Pluralism is celebrated as things to be approved and cherished."  (Leslie Newbigen)


Philosophical and Hermeneutical Pluralism: This form of Pluralism entails that any particular ideology or religious claim that is intrinsically superior to another is necessarily wrong, i.e., politically incorrect.  The only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth (a la Kant's First Critique and the postmodern hermeneutic of Perspectivalism, Contextualization, Indigenization, and their step child, Deconstructionism.


Cultural Consequences of Philosophical Pluralism (conflict between intellectual elite and pop culture)


1.   Radical religious pluralism:  This stance holds that no religion can advance any legitimate clams to superiority over any other.

2.   Inclusivism:  This stance affirms the truth of fundamental Christian claims but nevertheless insists that God has reversed himself, even in saving ways in other religions (e.g. Is Christ The Only Way? and Jesus Under Fire!)

3.   Exclusivism:  This position teaches that the central claims of biblically faithful Christianity are true (Acts 4.12 "No other name")


Both Causes and Effects of Pluralism:  The Culture of Generation X


Pluralism transmitted by multicultural educational modes expose various elements: (1) Humanism, (2) Secularism, (3) New Age Pantheism, (Rise of Biblical illiteracy) (4) Vague appeals to the Cosmic Christ; (5) Radical Pragmatism of the Baby Boomers; (6) Hegemony of Pop Culture; (7) Radical Individualism (Narcissism); and (8) Freudian Fraud. Conversely, and historically, these movements are also some of the main causes of pluralism.


1.    Humanism:  Loss of God--"Man the Measure"

2.   Secularism:  Abolition of religion or marginalization of God and Christianity. This condition provides space for the fuses of Idols for Destruction


a.  Scientism:  Scientific method only method for attaining and verifying True knowledge.

b.  Materialism:  Reality is matter

c.  Naturalism:  Ultimate reality is Nature (resurgent New Age Pantheism)

d.    The State - Politics and Government (God is neither a Republican or Democrat)

e.   Economics - money, positions. Self Identify! (Global economics, national deficit, gold, oil, international economics, economics after Keynes)

f.  Education:  Outcome Based Education, Goals 2000, SCANS, HR6

g.  Media

h.  Sports


3.   New Age Pantheism:  The New Age Movement is ubiquitous: (New Age centers are in New Mexico, New York City, Washington, etc.) e. g., Marilyn Ferguson's book. The Aquarian Conspiracy (1984), Joseph Campbell’s, The Power of Myth, and Science Fiction.


Pluralism contributes to Biblical illiteracy.  This condition precludes constructive encounter with Pluralism.  The Postmodern culture has marginalized and trivialized God.


4.   The Cosmic Christ:  Joseph Sutter made a vague appeal to the Cosmic Christ in his 1961 address to the Third Assembly of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi. The Pantheistic Cosmic Christ versus the Historical Christ. This view is affirmed where multiculturalism reigns.


5.    Radical Pragmatism of The Baby Busters:


a.     Logical inconsistencies are espoused by many of the generation group.

b.    Their interest in "spirituality" tends to place them in a high spiritual pecking order.

c.   Many are captured by this pragmatic maze and are not genuine converts to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who only pursue growth in holiness and service.


6.    Presence of Pop Culture:


There has always been tension between Elitism and Pop Culture.  The medium of television dominates the structures of the values of this generation.  A crucial issue in this cultural maze is the Word in an audio-visual age: “Can We Still Preach The Gospel?” (Churchman 106, 1992: 147-158). Q.J. Schultz, Televangelism and American Culture: The Business of Popular Religion (Baker, 1991).  Only a spiritual revival can empower the Church to constructively engage media's influence. Media and the Education Revolution are presently the two most powerful pop cultural challenges to The Church in the 1990's.




7.    From Radical Individualism to Narcissism:


Radical Individualism is commonplace in the USA.  The scripture fuses the uniqueness of the individual with the corporate value of family, covenant people of God, the New Testament Church as a body and The Kingdom of God. (e.g. Robert Bellah marvelously traces the alternative responses of Individualism in his book, Habits of The Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (NY: Harper, 1985).


Multicultural diversity has produced a generation of people who are "emotionally shallow, fear of intimacy, their hypochondria, their pseudo-self insight, their promiscuous pansexuality and their dread of old age and death.  Narcissistic fear of the stamp of a culture that lost interest in the future, their outlook on life is revived in the new consciousness movement and therapeutic culture; by the replacement of Horatio Alger by the happy hooker as a symbol of success; in the theater of the absurd; in the collapse of authority; in the escalating war between men and women -- is the worldview of the resigned." (Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectation (NY: Norton, 1978).


8.    Freedom Fraud:


The Therapeutic Fad (cf. Os Guiness's imaging, therapeutic consummeristic marketing procedure of most mega Churches in our Postmodern culture). Freudian influence has been both good and bad. The therapeutic culture has so invaded the Church that some seminaries now have more students enrolled in counseling programs than are training to be preachers of the Gospel message.


James Strauss

Lincoln Christian Seminary

Lincoln, IL 62656