About Daniel Shayesteh

Dr Daniel was born into a Muslim family in Northern Iran. He became a radical Muslim leader and teacher of Islam in the militant Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement, closely supporting Ayatollah Khomeini. However, after falling out of favor with Khomeini’s political group, he escaped to Turkey where there began an amazing journey to faith in Jesus Christ.

Daniel's mission is to help others understand and lovingly respond to those who do not know Christ. He is also deeply concerned for the future of Western societies, their loss of confidence in Judeo-Christian values, and their persistent naivete about the implications of the world-wide Islamic revival.

Bad Examples of Pluralism

Pluralism is a view that teaches tolerance in a society where people of diverse cultural, religious and racial backgrounds live together.

True pluralism calls for freedom of belief, speech and equal rights despite various beliefs in a community actually being in conflict with each other. In the meantime, pluralism purports to encourage the search for the best belief. 

The contemporary evolutionary mindset has decreased the value of a creative pluralism because of its strident stand on relativism. On the one hand, it has enabled opportunists to use pluralism as a channel of penetration for destructive ends, and on the other hand, it has pacified many people to believe that all beliefs are the same.

Islamists and those communists who have been very resistant to the exchange of ideas are examples of such opportunists. They reject pluralism ideologically but exploit it in order to get a foothold in society. These groups defend pluralism only when they are in minority.  As minorities, pluralism presents to them an opportunity for penetration to change laws to suit their agendas. For them, it also facilitates a convenient isolating channel that helps them to create ghettoes and divided loyalties for the establishment of a centralized power for ultimate dominance. Many leftists have already established ghettoes in many universities in the West and have limited the freedom of speech and teaching for Christians, despite claiming to be pro- pluralist. In doing so, they reveal the real nature of their beliefs, that is, hostility to pluralism - but only when they achieve power and rule. Islamic groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or the Mullahs in Iran, and Communist groups in Communist countries, in particular North Korea, are prime examples of groups that have become dominant and in fact, have become hostile to pluralism in their societies. 

Islamic countries are also hostile to pluralism. Who can dare to go to any Islamic country and promote his/her non-Islamic belief? One of my ex-Muslim friends, who is a pastor in his so-called moderate Islamic country, also called a friend of America, told me that a couple of policemen knock on the door of his house several times a week, smack and punch him each time without any explanation and then leave. Of course, they announced at the time of their first visit that the smacks and punches were because of his departure from Islam and acceptance of Christianity.

Pluralism is a barrier to Islam and communism, but can be used as a provisional bridge for success since the end justifies the means in both beliefs. They know that the show of a defense of pluralism may encourage ignorance, passivity and complacency in people towards political and ideological trends in their country. If it does, then the ground will be ready for the harsher group to dominate.

The second group is the passive pluralists who only take into account the advantages of a pluralist society and either disregard the significant problems involved with diversity or justify them illogically. They hold the view that all beliefs are much the same. They claim that there is no difference between Islam, Christianity, New Age, etc. Understanding them is therefore unnecessary since all carry the same value.

Democracy in the West is strongly gripped in the claws of a passive pluralist attitude which has enabled aggressive groups like leftists and Islamists to make huge strides at the expense of others. The West will not be able to overcome these crises unless people start to apply a more creative and discerning approach to pluralism, an approach whereby they value freedom of choice, participation, engagement and the exchange of opinions and beliefs that promote healthy decision-making and integration. Simply put, the mere existence of a range of worship places in a city or multiple ideologies on a university campus cannot be regarded as meaningful pluralism unless there is also creative and meaningful interaction between the diverse groups. Our interactions need to be realistic, enabling us to openly discuss the deeper differences among our beliefs and to follow those beliefs that we consider to be the best. A society cannot be called pluralistic simply because all beliefs in it are considered the same. Such a society may be called homogenous and possibly even harmonious. However, under this na├»ve mindset, harmony in the West has been steadily fading away since multiculturalism emerged as a dominant political doctrine in recent decades. 

Western democracies have never been confronted with the presence of aggressive ghettoes until relatively recent decades. Passive pluralism has not been a solution to the challenges presented by these ghettoes. If anything, it has added to the problems. Consider how many universities, which are expected to teach openness of thought, have become the ghettoes of evolutionary leftists demanding the gagging of Christian perspectives. Since Christianity teaches about God and Creation, they no longer believe that Christians have equal rights to teach about their beliefs and views in the universities. Christian universities are teaching both creationism and evolutionism, but so-called pluralist universities have closed the door for creationists to teach in them. How can universities forget their core classical value that the constructive exchange of ideas and beliefs educates us more in the pursuit of our search for the best? These universities are instead following an isolationist pluralism which can never be a good model for enriching learning and an improved society. Such an approach is for dictators and for sectarian rulers who favor their supporters only and block their ears to others. 

What do we need to do in the face of aggressive and passive pluralism? We have no choice but to become the voice of Jesus Christ and tell everyone: 
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
Truth is not static but dynamic. It reveals itself in the context of the world in order to be known by all in an open comparative process. Since truth is the source of absolute logic, it does not need to be aggressive or isolationist. That is why we, as the followers of Jesus Christ, need to take an analytical stand in our diverse society, proclaiming the importance of comparison and helping people to understand that only one belief among many can be true. Harmony occurs only if we decide to follow the truth.