Steve Bruce and the Cancer of Choice

I’ve just been reading the following and I thought it pretty much summarised the problems for religion inherent in religious diversity:

“This is the cancer of choice. To the extent that we are free to choose our religion, religion cannot have he power and authority necessary to make it any more than a private leisure activity. Far from creating a world in which religion can thrive, diversity and competition undermine the plausibility of religion”

From Steve Bruce, 1999. Choice and Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 186


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About Chris

Scholar of religion/nonreligion... PhD Student (Lancaster University), blogger, singer, actor, thinker... Northern Irish living in Scotland. Co-founder of The Religious Studies Project. Director at the NSRN. Baritone masquerading as a tenor. Vegetarian for no particular reason.

2 responses to “Steve Bruce and the Cancer of Choice”

  1. Carole Cusack says :

    Isn’t there an issue about whether the situation of religious diversity really creates ‘a problem’ for religion? It seems that you’re assuming that the ‘unproblematic’ situation for religion is when there are no other ‘religions’ (whatever we mean by that, of course!) to rival them. But in truth it is probably the case that most religions have always had to deal with not being the exclusive way (a position that’s deeply imbricated with Christianity – or at least monotheism – too, by the way). When the great empires emerged (Persia, Rome, China etc) they were all religiously diverse. I think that there has never been a true religious monopoly …

  2. Chris says :

    I agree with you… but I guess if I modified Bruce’s statement, my point still stands… the problem becomes when religion has an exclusive claim to the truth… or where it denies the existence of other gods. In the ‘past’, didn’t most religions acknowledge the existence of other deities, but claim that theirs have more power. I suppose a lot of it also comes down to how religion relates to one’s ethnic and national group…

    But you are totally right, though…

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