A few quick thoughts on Universalism…
I have always run in circles where I encounter many ‘universalists’ – people who believe, as our consumer culture encourages, that all religions are basically the same and all a path to the same ‘divine’ or ‘ultimate’, and that all religious truth (or even truth in general) is relative. People often lean towards this view in an attempt to be somehow ‘humble’ regarding religious issues, and all ‘inclusive.’ It’s a tempting view at times, especially in a post-modern world, where such inclusiveness seems to be what it’s all about.
Strange that what seems the most humble, is actually the ultimate in hubris – pure arrogance. As Dick Keye’s pointed out years ago, instead of accepting all religions, as they are, we actually set up a meta-religion – a religion above all others – which gives context to, and explains the misunderstandings of all the other religions – as all the other religious practitioners climb the mountain, only this ‘meta-relgion’ of Universalism actually knows the truth – that all of these various trails leads to the same place. It’s as though THEY THEMSELVES sat atop the mountain that all geniune devout religious practicioners were climbing. It is as though they alone have the absolute mind of God, knowing where all other exclusivists (anyone practicing the basics of most any religion, fundamentally) are wrong, and being the sole absolutely, objectively true religious believers – all the while claiming that subjective truth is all anyone can grab hold of? But what is it to claim that objective truth doesn’t exist? It’s an objective truth claim. Does it make an ounce of sense to say “There is no objective, absolute truth” – it’s the same as saying “I objectively know, that it is absolutely true that there is not objective, absolute truth.” If that smelled unusually like a fart, it’s because it’s called “speaking out your butt.” It’s non-sense.
We can affirm that we don’t know (that we are ignorant, properly), or that we know (experiencially convinced) truth, and be wrong – but we can never claim that we cannot know – and that it is unknowable – without far overstepping the bounds of rational thought. Objective truth must be out there, whether we think anyone has a grasp on it or not – and if it’s true, it’s opposite is false, and those who believe in it’s opposite are wrong.
Anyway…just a thought.