Christianity - Migration and religious pluralism


Migration resulted in multiculturism forming (this means several cultural and ethnic groups form part of one society.

After WW2 many people migrated. In the 1950s there was a shortage of labour in the UK, so the government encouraged immigration. Immigration has continued, resulting in the expansion of the EU, refugees and many migrants. Resulted in the main argument for Brexit. 


  • Some have viewed immigration as a threat to traditional British values. The Church 
  • The Rivers of Blood speech - Enoch Powell - used emotive and inflammatory language - arguing that immigration will have disastrous consequences.
  • Many however have seen multiculturism as an opportunity for enrichment - it is a way of promoting equal opportunities in all aspects of British Life. 
  • Multiculturism should be protected and respected within society. It promotes equal access to education, jobs, business.
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Freedom of religion as a human right

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ' everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion'

This allows for religious pluralism by making it illegal to ban or restrict the practice of religion. (People from different faiths live in the same society as one another, without conflict ,and show respect to one another)

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Religious Pluralism as a feature of a secular stat

  • Britain is a secular state (it is independent of the teachings of the church) But society does contain many faiths from different cultures. British culture to an extent contains religious pluralism.


  • However, Multiculturism threatens social cohesion (different cultures work together) - as there is no sense of community.
  • Immigrant cultures can flourish without being assimilated (losing its identity to one dominant religious system e.g. Christianity)
  • Certain practices legal in some communities are illegal by British Law
  • Religious pluralism may work with different practices but there are real problems with different beliefs. It makes it difficult for someone to accept which teachings of religion are true.
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Exclusivism - one religion alone is the only true one. This is Christianity as many verses of the Bible support this view. Other religions are wrong, even if beliefs appear to be similar.

John 14:6 - 'I am the way the truth and the life: no one comes to the father but through me' says that salvation depends on an absolute and explicit commitment to Jesus - truth is to be found exclusively in the teachings and way of life.

  • Fundamentalists argue - salvation depends on declared belief in Christ - evangelical is a priority. 
  • Catholics - extra ecclesiam nulla salus - there is no salvation outside the church 
  • The belief that God was revealed in Jesus is seen as the central truth of Christianity.


  • Children who die before they are able to make the commitment to be saved. They agree with emergency baptism - (baptism of those likely to die) because baptism is essential for salvation.
  • Those who have died never having heard of Jesus will be judged on the conformity of their lives with Natural Law.
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Criticisms of Exclusivism

If God is free to make his own choices, it is illogical to say he cannot act through more than one religion 

It limits God's unconditional love and forgiveness by tying him to a fundamentalist interpretation of biblical texts.

It lacks balance - interpretations conflict with the teachings of Jesus recorded in the Gospels - e.g. the unconditional friendship he showed to those not religious.

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'The view that although one religion is true, others may show aspects of the one true religion.'

Therefore any religion that has views that are compatible with Christianity is true.

Closed Inclusivism - one religion does contain all truth, but other religions have some aspects too.

Open Inclusivism - one religion has a better grasp of the truth than others, but not all aspects, so need to learn from others.

There is lots of biblical support suggesting that God provides salvation for all.

Karl Rahner developed - 'anonymous Christians'

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Karl Rahner - anonymous Christians

This is for anyone outside the Christian Community.

  • He attempts to reflect on the inclusive teachings and lifestyles of Jesus as seen in the Gospels.
  • God's grace is working through all people and is not just limited to Christians.
  • Non-believers may be saved through good moral conduct - which doesn't require belief in Christ - Justification by works.


  • Condemned for its inclusivist approach
  • Fundamentalists & John Hick - accused it of paternalism 
    • It is insulting to other faiths - they should be respected and not compared with how common they are to Christians and Christianity 
    • Hick claimed that Rahner was claiming other religions were flawed
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Pluralism - John Hick

Hick is a Universalist - humans will be saved by God whatever their religion.

  • Hick viewed the purpose of life as one of Soul-making or spiritual growth - but what happens to those who have died before fulfilling their purpose - or living miserably on earth.
  • Hick believed that after death, there will be future lives - to enable spiritual growth - like reincarnation.
  • He rejected the teachings about Judgement and the Parable of Sheep and Goats
  • Hick promotes interfaith -and strengthens interdenominational relations (relationships between different churches.


Hicks claims that incompatibilities between religions is not valid because the views and practices of some religions are totally incompatible with those of mainstream religions.

Christians believe in Heaven, Hell and Judgement and an existence after death - his view on universalism is unacceptable to evangelical Protestants but acceptable to some liberal protestants.

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Responses to freedom of religious expression

Evangelical Christians - emphasise the importance of personal commitment to Christ.

Other Christians - should focus on changing society

That's to the Universal declaration of human Right - we are free and have the right to express their religious beliefs and views in British society.

Christians express their faith in different ways - but the problem arises when the right to believe clashes with legislation.


  • Nadia Eweida - a British Airways employee was not allowed to wear a cross on her lapel - the argument was this expression of her faith would not cause harm. 
  • This was the same for Shirley Chapplin - wearing a cross on her nurses gown at work

It is clear therefore that you need a balance. It is better not to impose one set of specific beliefs on others, but not limit the belief indefinitely, but behave in a way that does not put others at risk or prevent work, but still remains personal to the individual.

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