Many in the West follow the mantra: ‘All religions are the same’. This popular form of pluralism seems to make sense, but it fails to account for the many significant differences between the world’s great religions.
A more sophisticated form of pluralism argues that there is a deeper, grander Truth made clear by all religions. This Truth, it is said, has little to do with Allah requiring 5 daily prayers, or Buddha advocating the subduing of the emotions, or Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world. These simply point to a greater Truth that there is an indefinable Reality drawing the world to itself. Defined this way, pluralism claims to have discovered a greater Truth none of the world’s religions has found.
However, this more sophisticated form of pluralism has no response to questions such as the certainty of such a Reality, or the certainty that such a Reality, if it exists, has not already been identified.
Come with me to Daniel, chapter 6, where we learn that public servants around king Darius wanted to bring down Daniel, who had risen to great power in Persia despite being Jewish. Knowing that he could not be accused of being corrupt, they devised a scheme to bring him down.
They devised a law stating that anyone who prayed to any other god apart from the king for a period of thirty days, to be cast into a den of lions. Despite the law, Daniel continued his pattern of prayer in a way that could be observed. And because the law was unchangeable the king, against his own personal wishes, was required to cast Daniel into the den of lions. Miraculously, Daniel wasn’t touched.
In verses 21 and 22 we read: Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong”.
The purpose of Daniel’s rescue from the lion’s den is to assure us that there is a sovereign God who not only exists but who also uniquely wields awesome authority over every aspect of his creation. He is the Lord. It’s a truth that is especially exemplified with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Daniel, chapter 6 reveals that God can turn hungry lions into docile pets, overcome cunning, corrupt public servants, and overturn the supposedly unchangeable laws of a King.
This doesn’t mean that every time God’s people stand up for him that he will step in and work a miracle. The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter 11 provides many examples of God’s people who were not rescued from death but who were commended for their faith, knowing that God has a better plan.
Reflect. Daniel chapter 6 assures that there is a sovereign God who has authority over every human institution. It also reminds us of our need to serve God wherever we are. So let me encourage you to ask God to enable you to stand firm in your faith, no matter the cost, and to speak up for him when the opportunity arises, or when the situation demands it.
You may find it helpful to read Daniel, chapter 6 and Hebrews, chapter 11.
A Prayer. Almighty and everlasting God, look with mercy on our infirmities; and in all our dangers and necessities stretch out your right hand to help us and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.