The Common Sense of Pluralism
I am a pluralist rather than a universalist. I don't think everyone is a little right, but rather, we all have to work together, and accept that we all believe ourselves to be as right as the next person, who considers us completely wrong. Ever since humanity began to consider complex problems, it appears, there have been folks seeking a single answer, a single system, and causing a lot of people headaches in the process. When we lived in a world where there were lots of resources, we could just pick up and go to the next valley and find just as good Mastodons, or Oxen, or Caribou to eat when the advocates of a single system which offended us became too aggressive. The choices have become fewer and fewer as our resources dwindled. But, as the resources dwindle, some folks still believe that they have just not described their single system philosophy of faith or government well enough, the other guys don't have the faith or intellect to "get it," or God has chosen an elect to understand what ever it is we need to understand in order to be saved. My goodness, how long can folks walk blindly over a cliff before they see the folly of their ways?
In the Society of Friends, there are a number of people who ignore that our greatest strength is the number of Friends who have come to a certain kind of pluralism, through our processes. So, along come some Friends who advocate single system belief systems and propose, for example, non-Christian Friends should be denied a say in our business meetings, as God is not speaking to them. Well, what can I say? Some expressions of Christianity and some expressions of the Muslim faith will keep attempting to convert or kill each other, as all the rest of humanities hopes go the way of the Mastodon. It seems a lot more like Quakerism to me, to all work together to preserve those gifts God gave us, in spite of the pictures we paint of God in our minds. For someone to self proclaim themselves a peace activist, a peace maker, or a Quaker while advocating the silencing of Friends in their own society, let alone the world in general, just does not make any common sense to me. It simply does not look like love to me.
One of the many fears the bible speaks of as a barrier to love, it seems to me, is a fear of someone expressing another point of view, and that fear is named orthodoxy. Like silence, we have seen over the years, that orthodoxy not only kills, it commits self slaughter. More, it is making the planet unfit for human life. While we wont talk to those who worship differently, the world is becoming a hostile environment for human life.