Podcast: John Inazu | Sharing Transcendence

We live in a world of many different ideas and beliefs and that can make it hard to be in relationships when we disagree about the things we hold most dear. John Inazu thinks there’s a way to live in this world of difference while still being confident and committed to our own beliefs, especially our religious beliefs. He calls this confident pluralism and wrote a book with the same title. In the episode we talk about what that means and how to apply it in the messiness of real life.


I really enjoyed the conversation. I like how he admits it’s not absolute truth, but rather a sort of ideological role model. That confident pluralism does not mean all ideas are equal.

There was really only one statement that I really disagreed with. It’s the idea that someone who cares about racial problems have to view the organization BLM at wonderful. I think their fight is wonderful but I’m not particularly a fan of their movement. They don’t own black opinion or says to combat racism. They are one organization.

It’s like if someone said if you like uniting faith and science you must like BioLogos. There are people who are evolutionary creationist who are not particularly fans of BioLogos but they are not enemies uniting science and nature.

I definitely don’t consider BLM evil. But they are not the all good and as a organization there is plenty of propaganda , misrepresentations and so on. But that does not mean i dislike everything about them and it definitely does not mean i don’t support combating racism or that I don’t support blackness.
So maybe a better way to say it is that while I support many of the things BLM does and almost everything they support as an organization they are far from being above criticism and I see why many just don’t really like them. A have a friend from NYC who is a white man married to a black woman and he advocates for ending racism. His business was smashed up and caught on fire which burned his condo up above. He was angry enough and scared enough, and his wife, that they left New York and moved to Alabama.

However that was about the only thing I disagreed with and even then I guess it would depend on you fleshing it out more. You made a single statement that maybe I’m interpreting very different.

But I definitely want to get the book and I think the podcast is fantastic. It’s something i definitely believe I need to work on. I struggle with having prolonged kindness to people that I think is stupid because they believe really done anti scientific things.

It reminds me of a saying “ being right does not mean your being righteous “.


I don’t think they said this at all?

From Transcript:

Stump: Is there something different these days that makes this distinguishing between the person and the ideas more difficult perhaps than it used to be given the way identities are wrapped up in the ideas? So if Black lives matter, it seems pretty hard to say I can consider your ideas wrong, but still value you as a person if blackness is my identity, if that’s part of it. Or you think of the LGBTQ community where, for a long time, the Christian position was thought to be love the sinner, but hate the sin. And people in these communities respond with hold on, How can you separate my identity, who I am as a person, from these things?

Inazu: An added layer of the challenge is when the idea that is held or perceived to be held by another person is seen not only as wrong, but as evil. When we make that jump from wrong and misguided to evil, it becomes much harder to separate that idea from the person, particularly when, as you said, that position or viewpoint is directed at me as a human being are at the core of my understanding of my own identity.

This was to say nothing of the organization, in my listening of it. Mostly just the phrase. If Black lives are supposed to matter, then by not caring about one aspect of something that is wrapped up in Blackness (ie prison reform, death penalty, medical inequality), is that being anti-black? If i don’t support the organization, can I still believe Black lives matter? But they didn’t say anything about the requirement to view the organization in any certain way. Just that people have formed opinions about the idea of black lives mattering in reference to the organization, and so it can get hard for some to separate if you can love black people but not love the things BLM supports?

Does that make sense?


That’s the phrase I’m referring too. It sounded like what was said is if someone disagree with BLM, which is the name of the organization, it’s as if they are against a persons blackness. That’s what I was referring to. The motto though is synonymous with the organization isn’t it?

It’s also not the first time, even even the hundredth time I’ve heard similar statements.

However, it goes beyond anything I care to discuss besides the statement that BLM is not above criticism. The rest of the discussion would be one that gets moved to private and ect… and it’s not important enough of a matter for me to worry about working through. I don’t see anyone now days using the motto though as isolated from the organization.

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However, if he did just mean the phrase, and not the organization then I completely agree. You can’t think black people are valueless and still love them as a person. It’s just illogical. Which is part of my disagreement with the “color blindness” politics which really just seems like an attempt at white washing.

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You can take that up with @jstump :rofl:. But yes, I think he just said “if black lives matter, then…” in a way that was not trying to say “shouldn’t we all be 100% on board with everything the organization with the same name says?”

Have just begun reading the transcript. Very exciting ideas. If Christianity could openly accept that other faith systems also contain the truth it would really help bring down the walls. When I go out in the garden I may switch to the podcast.

Accepted, but only as edited. Counterfeits contain truth.

Probably too late for you Dale. Not sure how you’ll have time to tell everyone in the world who believes differently than you how wrong they are and still have time to shake your fist at the kids on your lawn.

Your passive-aggressiveness still needs work. :wink:

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I think that there are many who hold to a similar idea. Not necessarily that they are orchestrated by God as his word to mankind but that the Holy Spirit has influenced and inspired goodness throughout the world and ages. That he met ancient people where they was at and spoke to them. Same way Jews borrowed heavily from Canaanites faiths. If we recognize that God used the Mesopotamian faiths as the worldview of the ancient Jewish people in order to make them his chosen people then why is it to hard to believe perhaps he inspired these Canaanite faiths as well.

But just like Judaism was replaced with the message Christ preached then perhaps these other faiths are likewise being replaced by the teachings of Christ. As the gospel spreads more and more turn to it.

So it’s not that the other faiths, like Shintoism or Buddhism is Gods message for mankind but that these faiths have been used to cultivate goodness in the world and that you can work off of them to see the goodness in Christ.

If that makes sense. It’s not quite the same as viewing all faiths as different roads to the same path but it’s also not saying they are all direct routes to destruction.

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I listen every week, but wanted to pop in with a special “thank you” for this episode. I have struggled with this so much recently and found the conversation helpful. Jim asked many of the questions I have had. I so look forward to reading the book.


Love that! Thanks for your feedback. He had lots of great insights.

Thanks for the kind words, @GStanto!

*“I think Christians can get into trouble when faith becomes claims of propositional certainty, as opposed to confidence in the person and work in Jesus Christ.”*John Inazu

I think that this statement is the key to this puzzle, but I fear that he does not explain it enough. Sadly, in the church too often faith is wrongly understood as the logic of propositional certainty, rather than confidence in the transformative Person and Love of Jesus Christ. The problem is we do not know the difference between these two very different ways of living.

We really need to put God, Father Son. and Holy Spirit, first in our lives, and not some theory of God or some belief in the church, which is really a part of us, rather than God. That which is true is from God, and nothing can break it. That which is not true is from us, and we need to fix it ASAP.

What Christians believe in is not a set of facts, which are true or false. We believe that God relates to us and we can relate of God through the Holy Spirit of Love. We believe that God is Love. We believe that God the Father so Loved the world that He sent His Son to come and be born as a human, to live, to die, and to be resurrected for our sake. God did this so we might know the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit, and break the power of sin over our lives.

Faith, Hope, and Love are not things we know, they are things we live.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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