Recently, there was a debate regarding religious pluralism at my university. One of the panelists provided some useful definitions, which I will use here for simplicity. First, we begin with atheism as the belief that all religions are wrong. The logical opposite would be that at least 1 religion is correct. This leads to another disjunction: only one religion is correct (and thus we have exclusivism) or more than one religion is correct. Under this level, there is another disjunction: either one religion is “more correct” or more than one are equally correct. The former here gives us inclusivism, the latter pluralism. Note that none of these require that all religions are equally correct, which I supposed could be classified as relativism.
One of the other panelists is a Catholic theologian who began with exclusivism. However, as his argument proceeded with references to many 2nd-Vatican and post-2nd-Vatican texts (e.g. Lumen Gentium), he began to approach inclusivism as he suggested that even though the universal Church is the primary medium through which salvation occurs, it does not exclude others. A corollary to this was that there is some truth in other religions. The first panelist, a pluralist, saw this flaw and was one of the stronger arguments against this sort of exclusivism because it was inclusivism in disuguise.
The pluralist’s argument was that one should develop true respect and appreciation for other religions because at least some of them lead to the same ending (whether that be the classic ideas of heaven or moksa). However, the fatal flaw in this argument is that religious difference is subsumed to religious identity, which leads to an “appreciation” of religions based on an assumed identity. In other words, this really is inclusivism in sheep’s clothing. If the pluralist wishes to respect other religions, it cannot be through the subsumption of difference to identity. It would be a stronger argument if it realizes that difference over and above identity as the excess of religion itself.