Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Christ among the 'Gods': Responding to Religious Plurality Today Part 1

Contemporary religious plurality, and the social marginalisation of Christianity, is an opportunity for Christian mission

Religious plurality in Australia today

Today, Australia is visibly a religiously plural society. Christianity is no longer the ‘normal’ religion. Religious diversity is the new normal. And we experience that diversity daily. There are enough Muslim women wearing their head coverings in public to cause a social issue. The media has focused a lot on Islam, but Islam is not the only religion that’s increasing in Australia. Hindu and Buddhist temples are being built in various parts of our cities. Some people from India walk around with a very prominent red dot on their forehead. That’s the bindi, or tilak, which is a Hindu religious mark.

Religious diversity is now a social fact. We can’t reverse it. These people are Australian citizens. They work, pay tax, and vote. We can’t just chase them out of country.

What we can do is think about how we respond to this diversity. And try to respond in a way that’s driven, not by fear and self-protection, but by love – love for God and a desire for his honour, and because of that, a love for people who believe these false religions.

This is the first of three articles about responding to religious plurality in Australia. The first article will look at how this religious plurality developed, and how we can respond to it in a Biblical manner. The second article will analyse the contemporary secular view of ‘tolerance’, and critique it from a Biblical perspective. The third will show you how to engage with people in a way that simultaneously holds to the uniqueness of Jesus and his gospel, and respects people’s right to choose whether they’re going to follow him or not. Keep reading

Photo credit: Pixabay, public domain

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