PFBC – Pluralism [updated]

In anticipation of a panel I’m on on diversity, here are two quotes from Diana Eck on the topic. (Thanks to one of the other panelists, Emily Ronald, for finding and supplying them.)

“What then, is pluralism? The word has been used so widely and freely as a virtual synonym for such terms as relativism, subjectivism, multiculturalism, and globalism that we need to stop for a moment and think clearly about what it does and does not mean. Pluralism is but one of several responses to diversity and to modernity. It is an interpretation of plurality, an evaluation of religious and cultural diversity. And finally it is the ability to make a home for oneself and one’s neighbors in that multifaceted reality… First, pluralism is not the sheer fact of plurality alone, but is active engagement with plurality… Second, pluralism is not simply tolerance, but also the seeking of understanding… Third, pluralism is not simply relativism, but assumes real commitment… Fourth, pluralism is not syncretism, but is based on respect for differences… Fifth, pluralism is based on interreligious dialogue…” (Encountering God, 191-199)


“The terms exclusion, assimilation, and pluralism suggest three different ways in which American have approached our ever-broader cultural and religious diversity. For exclusionists, the answer to the tumultuous influx of cultural and religious diversity, which seemed to threaten the very core civilization of America, was to close the door, especially against the entry of the truly ‘alien’, whether Asians, Catholics, or Jews. The message, in brief, was stay home or go home, or in any case be excluded from the table of participation in America. For assimilationists, the invitation to new immigrants was to come, but leave your differences behind as quickly as possible. For the pluralist, the American promise was to come as you are, with all your differences, pledged only to the common civic demands of citizenship. In other words, come and be yourselves.” (New Religious America, no page given)

See also the Pluralism Project Mission statement here.

Update: I’ve attached a slideshow below for definitions.


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