Probably everyone has heard it before, the story of the blind men (or men in a dark cave, etc.) who all touch an elephant and tell different stories about what an elephant is („It’s like a snake!“, „It’s like a tree!“, „It’s like a fan!“, etc.). The story varies depending on who tells it, but often it is used to show how true the ecumenical movement is: „Oh, wow, god is so many things.“ Well, that isn’t surprising, as in this version of the story, the blind men are obviously religious guys…
First of all: They simply assume that there has to be an elephant. Nobody seems to ask the obvious question: „How do you know there is an elephant? You cannot see it.“ The stand around, touch things and then agree that all of these things have to be the elephant. What if one of them touched to elephant’s dung instead? „It’s like stinking mud!“? Or worse: What if there was no elephant at all and they stood around, touching various different things? They are sure that there has to be an elephant, so everything they touch has to be the elephant- which is quite typical for some religious people.
In some, better, version of the story, the blind men discuss and try to find out the truth, but the simple version shows perfectly, how much sense the ecumenical movement makes: None at all. They don’t stop and try to see what they can learn, they just put everything together and call it „elephant“. Nobody stops and says „Hey, could it be that you touched the wall and not the elephant there?“. No, they all are happy that they can agree to disagree but at least agree that it’s all the same elephant.
Taking the ecumenical movement seriously becomes harder and harder for me. Either your religion is right or it is wrong, it’s as simply as that. Either your god cares about you eating pigs or worshiping your cows or not. To relish a group hug and pat each others backs how great, tolerant and blind you all are doesn’t take away one simply fact: Most of you will be wrong. And this makes one thing very likely: All religions are completely wrong – and not just mostly. Even if you want to believe the idea that there is something godly (something you can only do without any good reason), you have to choose a religion (or some personal, spiritual point of view) and how do you know it’s the right one? Perhaps god is just „love“, perhaps he is the big ol‘ smiter of unbelievers, perhaps he’s more like Santa Claus or she’s like Alanis Morissette? You can’t know. The only choice that takes into account that all religions are equally plausible (that is, they all aren’t plausible at all) is simply not to believe.