Diversity includes three main approaches. While exclusivist approaches contend that merely one religion is true, pluralistic views hold that all religions are as good as each other. The third approaches, namely, inclusivist ones claim that although just one religion is absolutely true, other religions to some extent enjoy value.
Farabi’s theory of religious diversity contains aspects of exclusivist approaches without depriving of the advantages of inclusivist theories. Naming it relativity vis-à-vis rationality, I am trying to sort of account for Farabi’s theory of religious diversity.
For him, people come to grasp rational truths and knowledge mostly through the use of their imagination. Furthermore, the arousal of people’s feelings and emotions often originates in their imagination via sensory images and imagery forms. However, the ultimate utopian objective is to drive the public to gain rational pleasure. Given that the public, based on their nature and general habits, in most part, are unable to perceive rational truths and knowledge, the path to rational pleasure must be represented via their imagination. So bringing rational pleasure to people's minds through their imagination, the various religions in each society should represent rational truths and knowledge through the sensory images and imagery forms familiar to that society.
Farabian theory of religious diversity shares aspects of relativity as well as rationality. For Farabi, rational truth and rational pleasure is fixed and one, having only one denotation, while its connotations, say, sensory images and imagery forms are various and sundry. That being the case, different communities can have different ways to perceive the same truth and knowledge, working toward the same goal.
Farabi, rationality, relativity, relativism, sensory images