honoring diversity in religion, it attempts to reduce this diversity to a vague identity
that no one can challenge. Rather than giving people a number of different choices in
religion it tries to make all these choices appear to be the same or inconsequential. In
eliminating choice it destroys freedom and inhibits inquiry and growth. And on what grounds do we make all religions the same? Do we do it
on the grounds of monotheism, the belief that there is only One God?
This debars non-monotheistic religions like Buddhism or Taoism, as
well as many native beliefs. Do we propose it on that all religions teach us to be good?
Yet what is said to be good in one religion may not be good in another religion. Like any
other human cultural phenomena religions are so diverse that if we try to reduce them to a
common pattern, we will only have a few bones left over, not a real human being. Could we
reduce art all over the world to a single standard of sameness without destroying its
richness and vitality?
This attempt to make all religions the same would similarly
destroy the vitality and relevance of religion and turn it into a dead formula. What Hinduism really teaches is religious pluralism, not the need to
make all religions the same, which is intolerant of religious differences that are often
not minor or inconsequential. Religious pluralism, on the other hand, is tolerant of
religious differences. It does not seek to reduce all religions to a common standard. It
lets their differences stand out and does not seek to cover them over with a veil of
unity. Pluralism says that it is fine for us to have different or even contrary views
about religion and this does not have to be a problem. The important thing for us is to
seek truth or God in the way that is most meaningful for us.