But it is here that we need to make a distinction. This is a distinction that most people, including Barack Obama, fail to make. The distinction is between what we might call ideological pluralism and political/social pluralism.
Dictionary.com provides us with several definitions of pluralism. Two of these definitions can help us with this distinction:
- Ideological Pluralism is: “The belief that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life.”
- Political/Social Pluralism is – “A condition in which numerous distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural groups are present and tolerated within a society.”
Ideological pluralism is derived from an Atheistic-materialistic worldview that says that truth and morals are relative. This, in itself, is an absolute faith system. It says that relativism or an amalgamation of faiths can produce a free – “pluralistic” society.
Ideological pluralism will ultimately lead to societies where freedom from religion is the ideal. We have seen this historically in the fruit of the atheistic religion in the Communism of the Soviet Union and China, and in the Fascism of Germany and Italy. Today we see this ideology dominating modern Europe and reaching a tipping point with militant atheism in the USA. Ideological pluralism (relativism/amalgamation of religions) does not produce free societies (political pluralism). Ultimately it produces tyranny.
It took the particular faith of Judeo-Christian Theism (non-ideological pluralism) to produce the freedom that we have known in the USA and that the world has longed for as an ideal. America’s founders wrote in our Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
North America’s founders grounded our government with its religious and social pluralism, not in ideological pluralism but specifically in Biblical faith and principle. The unalienable rights of free people are not granted by the state (if the state grants these rights, it can take them away); they are endowed by their Creator. The Biblical proposition – revelation – is that 1) God exists, 2) all human beings are made in his image, and 3) being so made, we are endowed with certain human rights that among these are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In contrast to Barack Obama’s well meaning but confusing and misguided statement, read Dinesh D’ Souza’s clear articulation of the power of a Judeo-Christian worldview to created free, just, and prosperous societies in his speech Created Equal: How Christianity Shaped the West.
Let me summarize. The USA was founded by Christians to be a Christian nation, a nation of free men and women. But our nation no longer has a Biblical framework, rather it is functioning from an Atheistic-materialist framework. This will inevitably lead to the loss of the liberty that has made North America a beacon to the world and lead to tyranny. It took a non-pluralistic belief system – Judeo Christian theism-to produce a pluralistic society. In contrast, the end of ideological pluralism is a non – pluralistic society.
So Ana, thank you for your inquiry. I hope you find this helpful!
-Darrow L. Miller