Is a Plurality of Religions Willed by God? by Eric Sammons

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[Image Credit: Vatican Media (YouTube Screenshot)]

By Eric Sammons, Crisis Magazine, Sept. 16, 2022

Eric Sammons is the Editor-in-Chief of Crisis Magazine and the Executive Director of Crisis Publications.

Editor’s Note: Yesterday Pope Francis endorsed an interreligious declaration that originally stated, “We note that pluralism and differences in religion, skin color, gender, race and language are expressions of the wisdom of God’s will in creation. Thus any incident of coercion to a particular religion and religious doctrine is unacceptable.” However, hours later the text was updated to read, “We note that pluralism in terms of differences in skin color, gender, race, language and culture are expressions of the wisdom of God in creation. Religious diversity is permitted by God and, therefore, any coercion to a particular religion and religious doctrine is unacceptable.”

While the updated wording is significantly different in theological terms, the original wording closely matched the wording of the 2019 Abu Dhabi Declaration which Pope Francis signed. I addressed the topic of whether a plurality of religions is willed by God in my book Deadly Indifference, which is excerpted below. 

In some ways, the Abu Dhabi Declaration is just another in a long line
 of interreligious dialogue statements produced by Church officials. However, a specific passage in this document crosses a theological line that no other Church document in the past had crossed and that makes this document singular in nature. That passage states, “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.” Breaking this sentence down, this document is claiming that the following things are willed by God: …

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