Next Sunday will be identified as Pluralism Sunday in several Christian churches. The Center for Progressive Christianity describes several goals of Pluralism Sunday, one of which is that it is a
time to let your wider community know that your church embraces religious pluralism: it’s an evangelism opportunity for reaching the many people who reject Christianity because they think it claims the only path to God.There are so many common misconceptions about what all Christians must necessarily believe, and which the general public often believes to be true; and this idea that Christians believe that their faith is the only path to God is certainly one of them. Many Christians do believe this, of course; intolerance and judgmentalism about other people's relationship with God often play into this. But the point is that not all do. Because religious pluralism is very important to my own conception of faith, I am very interested in the idea of Pluralism Sunday.
Pluralism Sunday relates very closely to point #2 of the Center for Progressive Christianity's 8 points:
Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God's realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us.I think there are many possible theological variants on religious pluralism, many approaches that Christians can take on the subject. Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, an Episcopal church that is not affiliated with the Center for Progressive Christianity (but which seems to be generally progressive in its theology) puts it this particular way as the first sentence in its mission statement:
We believe in One God, known to us in Jesus Christ, also known by different names in different traditions.Grace Cathedral's theology is one way of phrasing a pluralistic position. There are no doubt other ways of formulating a pluralistic theology as well. What I like about it is that they are completely up front about it. Their mission statement appears on their service programs and on their home web page.
It is possible to recognize the value of one's own faith without denigrating that of others. I think that Pluralism Sunday is a wonderful idea.