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Thursday, May 7, 2009

How to Be Intellectually Dishonest



You shall seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all of your heart. Jerimiah 29:13

I had quite a journey ahead of me. I was in the process of relocating from Baltimore, MD to Northwest Ohio. Having had less than two hours of sleep that night, the following morning I packed up the Sentra and with my family trailing close behind me we hit I-70 and were headed west. After about two hours of traveling the adrenaline wore off and I asked my then boyfriend to take over the wheel while I caught a quick nap. A short while later he woke me up and asked, “Which way do I go now?” It took a minute for the question to register. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and noticed that we were reaching a point where the highways split into two. On one side we had I-76 and on the other I-70. I looked at the directions my cousin had hand-written because my printer was not working. “Um it says take I-70.” I mumbled. “Are you sure?” he asked. “Yeah, that’s what it says here and this looks familiar to me any way. Get over in the next lane.” He obeyed and I positioned my head against the window and resumed napping. My family followed us as we traveled the lonely highway.

Nature woke me up a short while later. I needed a bathroom break. When I woke up for the second time I realized that the road looked different. Nothing seemed familiar, (my Dad and I had traveled here previously). The road became increasingly mountainous. “Where are we?” I yawned. And then I noticed in the foreground a sign that said “Welcome to West Virginia.” Then it hit me! For hours we had been traveling the wrong way. “We should have taken I-76! The directions are wrong! We don’t have to pass through West Virginia. We are going the wrong way. We were heading south when I needed to be heading north. But it was too late. At this point we had already traveled well pass I-76. We drove a little ways more in hopes that we would find a rest station where we could get a map and figure out where we were and how to get to Northwest Ohio expediently. What else could we have done?

Let me answer this question the way some secular and religious minds would. See according to some just realizing that I was lost and that those who were following me were lost would have been enough. Why bother to try to get on the right path? To others there is no right path. I could have just stayed on I-70 because after all it does not matter whether I am on I-70 or I-76 because all roads lead to the same place. Eventually I would have arrived at the place I wanted to be, right?

Now you’re probably thinking “Crystal that is ridiculous! Who on earth would believe something like that. I mean everyone knows two roads going in opposite directions can’t get you to the same place!” Perhaps you have a point, but this is exactly the kind of nonsense that secular AND religious authorities (some of them Christian FYI) are trying to tell us. And they even have a fancy word for it too. It’s call pluralism! And no, these aren’t all ignorant low brow people promulgating this train of thought. No, many of pluralisms proponents are Phd’s, scientists, and intellectuals. They are not just peddling a unifying philosophy; they are indoctrinating us with pure intellectual dishonesty.

Suppose you are trying to get to work. You overslept and you are running late. So you throw on your clothes, grab your briefcase and you hit the main road. Then you get a brilliant idea. Instead of driving on the road that takes you to your job you will take the road that goes the other way. Maybe this road even goes to another state! Or maybe you don’t even know where this road is going to take you! Your postmodern university did tell you that all roads lead to where you want to be. Tell me honestly would you really want to play this kind of game with your career? I would hope not! But that’s exactly the dangerous game that millions are playing with their spirituality and the consequences are a hundred-fold more costly and perhaps even deadly!

Now to be sure, pluralism on a very micro level is not necessarily bad. In the United States for example we have a multitude of different cultures, languages, traditions, religion etc. Nothing wrong at all with diversity. God did not create us to be a bunch of clones. The problem begins when we start believing that everyone’s philosophy is correct, especially when it comes to religious matters. In a sense the pluralism of today has little to do with diversity and tolerance and everything to do with an agenda (I’ll talk more about that later). So we say all roads lead to God because we want to be all-inclusive. Let’s not leave anybody out! Yet this is completely intellectually dishonest, so much so that most of the people that subscribe to this philosophy instinctively know that it is bogus!

That’s quite a statement, you’re probably thinking. But I can back it up. In logic they teach you about various types of propositions named after vowels. Suppose we have two statements.

Statement 1: All the lights are on.
Statement 2: All the lights are off.

Now question: can these two statements both be true simultaneously in the same space? The answer is no. That simply defies all logic. Why? Because there is a law called the Law of Non-contradictions which essentially postulates that two completely opposite things can’t both be true at the same time. Duh!

I can give you a better example. Suppose you are out and you bump into an old friend of yours. You give her a hug and you asked her how things are going. “I’m pregnant!” she exclaims. Just as you are about to congratulate her she follows that statement with “I am not pregnant.” Now you are scratching your head and ready to take her to get some mental health. Why? Because at the core you realize that it is impossible for the women to be both pregnant and not pregnant at the same time. She can either be one or the other. And the same goes for religion. In fact, it is more logical to say that absolutely all religions are false than to say that all these religions (and denominations in Christianity) teach completely contrary things and ways and means to God, but that all ultimately lead to Him any way. Nonsense!

There is a Zen saying that goes “To understand God is to Listen. Listen to Jesus and Muhammad and Buddha, but don’t get caught up in the names. Listen beyond them; listen to God’s breath.” Now doesn’t that just sound poetic. This is the heart and soul of religious pluralism. But the bad news is that pluralism is a lie. In our postmodern society we want to be so tolerant that we abandon the true meaning of the word (treating diverse people with respect) and accept a quixotic philosophy of believing everyone on everything because everyone is correct. We are so scared that we will be politically incorrect that we sacrifice truth in order to save face.

Instead the world says all religions and all roads lead to God, so that we don’t exclude anybody. Well let us let the major world religions speak for themselves.

Hinduism: “Let there be one scripture… for the whole world– Bhagavad– gita; Let there be one God for the whole world– Sri Krishna: one hymn, one mantra, one prayer– the chanting of his name.”-- Intro to the Bhagavad-gita
Islam: “Allah! There is no God but He– The Living, The Self-subsisting, Supporter of all– His are all things in the heavens and on earth– His throne doth extend over the earth– He is the Most High, The Supreme”-- Quran 2:225
“Verily I am Allah; There is no God but I.”-- Quran 20:14
Buddhism: “This Lord is truly the Arhat, fully enlightened, perfect in his knowledge and conduct, well-gone, world-knower, unsurpassed, leader of men to be tamed, teacher of gods and men, the Buddha, the Lord.”-- Buddhist scriptures
Christianity: “For there is no other name under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved.”--Acts 4:12
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”-- John 11:24

Well there you have it. This doesn’t sound pluralistic at all. I don’t know about you but it sounds like each religion is claiming exclusivity! Not just Christianity, but all of them are suggesting that they are the ONLY way to Truth. That’s interesting. How can we reconcile these opposing belief systems? The answer is that we can’t! Not if we want to be completely honest.

In the beginning of this blog I told you how I got lost on the way to Northwest Ohio. But let me tell you how the story ends. We did not continue on I-70 because otherwise we would have ended up in Utah. Instead, even though it took us forever to find a rest stop in mountainous West Virginia, we found one and we got a map--an honest map. We admitted that we had lost our way and that we need to find it again. The map showed us how to get to where we desired to be. We followed its directions and we ended up in Northwest Ohio. And because I don’t subscribe to logical fallacies the story ended happily. Albeit it took us some 15 hours to get to our destination, just as it might not be convenient to go out of your way to search for Truth. But it is well worth it when you find it.

The logical outworking of religious pluralism is chaos, and my God does not dwell in disorder. Why don’t your reevaluate your position on pluralism, make that U-turn and get on the right path—the one and only path that can take you to where you long to be.


*For more information on this controversial topic I recommend this book. It is the awesome story of how one man put aside his biases and preconceptions and after 20 years he found the Truth. You can learn more about him here.

1 comment:

John said...

Crystal, this is a very excellent subject you've brought up. The only complaint I have is that it's way too short. You could've gone on and on about this. It really gave me a different perspective to things I hadn't thought of before. I really appreciate it, and look forward to your next piece. I am a fan.