On New Years Eve, Ce-Lo Green changed John Lennon’s lyrics from “And no religion too” to “And all religion is true”. Green was obviously promoting “religious pluralism”.
“Pluralism”, like many abstract terms, has many meanings. And I imagine that the people listening to Ce-Lo Green’s lyrics understood his meaning in very different ways that are captured by the variety of meanings of “religious pluralism”. Here are some of the meanings with my evaluation of the truth value of those meanings. Remember, my definition of “truth” is “the best approximation of reality.”:
- All religions say the same thing.
Well, this is just hogwash, pure and simple. Some people believe Vishnu was a god and some do not. Both can’t be true
- All religions can grant their believers eternal life.
Wrong. None of them do.
- All religions aim for the same thing.
Well, this is more subtly wrong. Various religions have very different effects on people. People who say this usually are kind of being cocky and telling other people what their religion is trying to do. See this great post by David Chapman: “The essence of all religions“.
- All religions can grant their believers happiness and meaning.
This is partially true. But depending on how they are used, they can also offer their believers pain and suffering. Some atheists think that all religions offer nothing but bad things — but they are blatantly wrong.
- All religions have truth in them
Well, this is blandly true. The Christian Bible says Paul was in Rome. Sure, that is true enough, I guess.
And for another example, Surah 12:103 of the Qur’an says “And most men will not believe though you desire it eagerly. Yep, that is true too.” Yawn.