Food Poisoning, Buffets, and Religious Pluralism

What’s attractive about a buffet restaurant?  Everybody gets something they want.

Growing up, my family would actually drive an hour to a Ryan’s Steakhouse for special occasions with my grandparents because of steak on the buffet.

I remember many mornings having breakfast at the Ponderosa in town with Grandpa. We never had to twist his arm to go there. He could get his bacon and eggs while I got those cinnamon french toast sticks with strawberry sauce.

School field trips would often end up at a Golden Corral, and after our high school football team won the state championship, where did we go? The Western Sizzlin! And just about destroyed it…

Everybody gets what they want.

Could I argue that religion today is like a buffet restaurant? It’s about making everybody happy. Everybody gets what they want. But when you’re talking about faith and belief, there is much more at stake than the spreading of germs and food poisoning. Your very soul is at stake.

I recently started preaching through the book of Judges. I introduced the concept of religious pluralism because we see it among the Israelites in the period of the Judges as well as today.

Religious pluralism is the belief that every religion is true. Each provides a genuine encounter with the Ultimate. One may be better than the others, but all are adequate.”  (Norman L. Geisler, “Pluralism, Religious,” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 598.)

Just like a buffet of food where you go down the line and think all of this might fill me up, but I’ll pick certain items because I like them better, pluralism would say any of these religions and ideas might give me some kind of satisfaction, but let me pick the ones I like best.

This is a perilous pursuit! Dictionary.com defines peril as “something that causes or may cause injury, loss, or destruction.”

If we don’t follow The Truth, our very soul is in danger of eternal damnation in the torment of hell.

Maybe CS Lewis says it better:  “An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or Practical reason is idiocy. If a man’s mind is open on these things, let his mouth at least be shut.” (C. S. Lewis quoted in Credenda Agenda, Volume 4/Number 5, p. 16)


In my next two posts, I’ll explore two specific consequences of religious pluralism. For now, I hope you’ll think about the truth to which you are subscribing in your life. Have you considered the truth of Christ, the ultimate Truth, that points out the reality in our life (our sin) and gives us the only way to find rescue from this depraved condition?

I hope you’ll understand this Truth and experience it yourself.

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