The modern society is a highly pluralistic society. Rapid transmission of information in the modern era and the ability of people to travel around the world on a larger scale has created awareness that the world and the modern society has a multitude of diverse and contrasting viewpoints on a variety of issues. This pluralism is evident in the realm of religion than in any other realm. Human awareness of the existence of the many religions in the world, today, is unprecedented. Christians are aware of the existence of many other smaller religions apart from the mainstream Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism.
Statistics from the World Christian Encyclopaedia indicates that there are more than one billion people who practice Islam, over 650 million people who practice Hinduism, more than 300 million Buddhists, over 200 million people who practice the Chinese folk religion. The followers of these religions, when combined, are more than the 1.6 billion Christians found in the world. Furthermore, due to diffusion of cultures due to globalisation, there are an increasing number of people who practice non-Christian religions living among Christians in their communities and neighbourhoods (Smith-Christopher 12).
The growing number of Jewish temples, Islamic mosques and Hindu and Buddhist worship centres in major cities, in America and across Europe is testament to the increasing diffusion of religions around the world (Himma 51). Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate saviour, and no one can get to God through any other way apart from Christ alone. Therefore, it is impossible for a person to be a follower of another religion and receive Christ salvation because salvation lies in the Grace of God that was expressed through the death of his son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for the sins of human beings.
The bible is the final authority in matters of spirituality (Kalmin 64). The argue that though other major religions have values and truths, the only truth that can lead to salvation can be found nowhere else other than in the Christ's gospel. Holders of this opinion quote the bible in John 14:6 "I am the truth, the way and the life; nobody comes to the father by any other way apart from me". This perspective is known as Christian exclusivism that asserts that Christianity is the only way to God. However, this view has been criticised by moderate Christians who argue that all religions must be acknowledged equally or almost equally because they are valid approaches towards God. Those who express this opinion argue that all religions have significant similarities and goals even though they are different superficially. This view is referred to as religious pluralism (Himma 76).
On the other hand, some Christians feel that the unique understanding of the Christian faith needs to be preserved while at the same time projecting an attitude of acceptance and tolerance to non-Christian religions. Those who express this opinion argue that followers...