This is part 4 of a 6 part series. (Yes, the planned length has increased.)
Among those who accuse Christianity of universalism, much is made of its Great Commission to spread the faith and convert all peoples. (I will make no distinction below between “proselytizing” and “evangelizing” because there isn’t any. Since this is a historical-theological study, I will also ignore the current Bishop of Rome’s emphatic rejection of the Savior’s command, which, assuming he has the authority to do such a thing, presumably satisfies anyone concerned with Rome’s universalism.) Undeniably, a conversion of the whole world to Christianity would mean the end of a certain kind of diversity. However, proselytism is not unique to Christianity or monotheism. Every person has some idea of truths that it is important for everyone else to know, meaning naturally that as great a unanimity in favor of such truths should be achieved as possible. Which beliefs should inspire evangelical fervor can be surprising, at least to me. I can understand the practical reason why the believers of anthropogenic global warming should think it important that others believe as they do, but I cannot fathom why evolution by natural selection should be such an aggressively proselytizing faith, while no one feels the same zeal to eliminate unbelief in Kirchhoff’s circuit laws or the theory of plate tectonics.
However, this doesn’t make AGW or Darwinism universalist faiths, in that they don’t necessarily undermine loyalty to non-universal groups. They may accidentally undermine a group if it has a contradictory ideological component, but particular group identity and loyalty is not ruled out in principle. To be a Darwinist doesn’t necessarily mean one is allowed loyalty only to “mankind” or a universal Darwinist Church. That is, AGW and Darwinism are proselytizing but not homogenizing faiths.
Liberalism is an interesting case, with its claim to represent ideological neutrality, and thus be acceptable to peoples of all different beliefs and loyalties. As we have often argued, this neutrality claim is a sham. To reduce religions and communal identities to private hobbies allowed no influence on public life is to destroy them. Liberalism’s demands for freedom, tolerance, and inclusiveness, which ultimately mean the delegitimation of anything other than itself, make it the ultimate homogenizing faith.
What about Christianity?