What is Pluralism?

Pluralism is the belief that reality consists of many parts. There are different types of pluralism in different areas of study. Religious pluralism would teach that different religions contain truth, even though they might contradict each other. Ethical pluralism would assert that different moral systems are equally valid, though some may be better than others. Scientific pluralism would maintain that there can be different explanations for similar events. Political pluralism would acknowledge different governmental systems as being valid. Cultural pluralism would maintain that different cultures are equally valid even though some may be more utilitarian and beneficial to society than others.

So, pluralism can have a  multifaceted definition and can refer to society, government, religion, ethics, and even philosophical areas where different positions cohabit the intellectual realm of ideas.

  • "...pluralism is not just tolerance, but the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference...pluralism is not relativism, but the encounter of commitments"1
  • "a situation in which people of different social classes, religions, races, etc., are together in a society but continue to have their different traditions and interests."2

Basically, pluralism is a catch all phrase that can be used in different contexts to designate a “more than one option” philosophy.  Pluralism then would stand in opposition to the idea of an absolutely correct system or belief. Such pluralism would contradict biblical teaching that there is one absolute and supreme being (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6; 45:5), that Jesus is the only way to be saved from the righteous judgment of God (Acts 4:12), and that the Bible alone is the revealed word of God.



  • 1. http://pluralism.org/what-is-pluralism   italics original
  • 2. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pluralism

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.