June 3, 2013

A Parable of Religious Pluralism

Ludwig, Patti. dscn0863.jpg. August 2011. Pics4Learning. 4 Jun 2013
In Several Indian religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism), there is a parable that compares religions to six blind men wanting to figure out what an elephant is like. This parable will help younger students see the moral of the story: Each blind man could only report what he had felt and understood, depending on the elephant body part. If one man felt only the elephant's leg, he would say, "An elephant is like a tree trunk". He was not wrong, but didn't know the full picture. This is the same with the ultimate truth---we may not know the whole truth. When we see that other religions appear to say something different, they may just be describing a different part of it. This is the essence of religious pluralism: Every form of religion is right, just different.
"There are many paths up the Mountain, but the view of the moon from the top is the same."  
-Japanese proverb 


Brian Miller said...

it def makes for an interesting thought...each of us has only our own perspective to depend on...unless we are willing to entertain that of another...smiles.

Ms. Gibson said...

Hi Brian! So good to hear from you. You know, there's so much to digest, so much to read. The thing that I'm learning is that religious pluralism is not the same as religious diversity. So yes, we each have our own perspective, and to be willing to entertain other people's religious ideas is one step toward pluralism. Thanks for stopping by. It's always an honor to see you here.