You may have seen the word floating around, but what is Omnism? There is an ancient parable where blind men describe an elephant. One who feels the leg says that an elephant is like a tree. Another who touched the tusk says it is like a spear. The man who felt the trunk said it was a kind of snake. You get the idea. Every man feels only a part of a greater whole, getting a partial truth, but is convinced that he has seen the whole truth.
This parable gives a good example of how Omnism views world religions. Blind men who discover part of the truth but either cannot or will not see the whole truth. Omnism is the belief that there is no one true religion but that every religion holds part of the truth, so all beliefs should be respected. I see the appeal. The truth often lies somewhere between two extreme positions, so why would religion be different?
Is the Omnist Blind Too?
If we are all blind people feeling around the elephant of religion, where does Omnism fit in this story? Is the Omnist the only person who can see the whole picture and know the full truth of faith? If that is their claim, they need to do more than assert it. What have they seen that makes them so enlightened? How did they obtain this?
Most would probably say something more like, “No, I’m blind too, but I’m willing to admit it and that none of us have the full truth.” If that is the case, Omnism gives us nothing. It is essentially saying we might as well give up and just get along. I suspect that’s what draws people to Omnism. It’s like the person who sees two religious people arguing and proclaims, “You’re both right!”
Who Decides the Truth?
The problem is not everyone can be right. Maybe everyone gets something right, but we need a way to discern what that is. Just asserting it does absolutely nothing. Different religions make opposing claims about the world. They cannot both be right on certain topics.
Without a clear answer, people get to choose for themselves. I guess it’s up to me now. I can take out the pieces I don’t want, like sin, Hell, judgment, etc., and keep the Heaven, prayer, and joy. Omnism turns religion into a buffet where you get to pick and choose whatever suits your taste. What is Omnism? It is essentially a fancy word to rebrand religious relativism. Whatever is true for me doesn’t have to be true for you.
Not about Truth, but Shared Cause
Maybe you’re not interested in truth. Some say Omnism is not about theology or truth at all, but about respecting all views and sharing a common cause and unity. That sounds lovely, right? Peace is great, but not at the cost of ignoring critical differences. The differences matter far more than the similarities. Is there a God, an afterlife, sin, and hope for salvation? The answers to those questions matter far too much to ignore.
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