In various forms, religion is ridiculed on television. From the adult cartoons that portray Jesus as a weak, fragile man with either the message of blind love or “turn or burn” to the Islamic stereotypes, television shows enjoy making seemingly harmless attacks on a variety of faiths. Sometimes the cost of ridiculing a religion can be costly though and for this reason some celebrities are taking what appears to be a neutral stance in the line of fire.
In April 2010 the creators of the adult cartoon “South Park” received severe warnings from devout Muslims for the way the show represented their faith. Jews, Mormons and Christians too share their feuds with television shows for the frequent misrepresentations.
In some ways, however, the shift of religious tolerance has moved from simply tolerating to religious pluralism.
Jersey Shore star Vinny Guadagnino wrote on his second blog post entitled “My Religion” his own view of religious pluralism. Referring to himself as “a man of all religions”, Vinny continues to illustrate his point through an illustration with light.
He admits that he is not an atheist but references the god(s) he follows as an experience or force rather than a person. His concluding remark for his post ends as, “Once my mind stops looking for God and I feel the absolute serenity of a quiet brain then and only then do I experience God (dog spelled backwards) a.k.a. the happy feeling that Jesus, Allah, or Buddha want[s] me to feel.”
Are religious pluralists like Vinny out to tear people down or ruin lives? Evidentially not.
Vinny seeks out what most of us likewise desire, a lasting satisfaction found outside of ourselves. What Vinny fails to address in his post, as many other religious pluralists do as well, is what common ground do faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, etc., really share in common?
Religious pluralists do not make the claim that they possess all knowledge and know all of the truth. They believe that within each faith parts of truth can be found. A major problem that presents itself is what foundations do these faiths build off where similarities are then supposedly found?
Judaism is not centered around discovering love, peace nor happiness within oneself, rather build upon the belief in a monotheistic God who brings the love, peace and happiness. Practicing Muslims too would elect to follow the pillars of their faith than to seek out happiness instead.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, my belief system is not centered around my eternity in Heaven, my joy throughout life or what gain I may find. The focal point in my belief is that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man, He came to earth to live the life I never could, died the death I deserved, rose victoriously over death and will forever reign as King of Kings. Jesus is not a way. As He Himself proclaimed, He is the only way.
What does religious pluralism offer? In summary it offers more questions than answers. Since not one faith, so they say, has all of the truth, then what aspects of truth are revealed in each faith, assuming there is to be a harmonious balance? They do not know. Is there one God as the monotheistic faiths proclaim or is there over 300 million gods as Hinduism states? They do not know. What they also do not know is the nature of man, what happens after death, clarity if they’re doing what’s morally right, etc.
Do I make the claim that as one who follows the Judeo-Christian faith I have all the answers and everyone else does? No. I make the claim that I am fully convinced that from historical events and figures alongside of the practical evidence seen daily that the God of the Bible is the only living God, and I will follow the logical conclusions drawn from my faith in Jesus Christ. If He is the way, the truth and life and no man can come to the Father but by Him then by faith do I trust that statement, understanding I believe all belief systems that contradict this notion to be false, and wholeheartedly lay my life at the foot of His cross.