Division between religions and within a single religion results in intolerance, discrimination, prejudice, conflict, and sometimes war.
Severe divisions exist between many of the world's major religions and between sects and denominations within one religion. Religious war resulting from these divisions can be seen in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and India, for example.
The successes of an international Christian-Buddhist seminar in 1994 were significantly undermined by the subsequent publication of a book by the Pope expressing views of Buddhism vehemently contested as disparaging by many Buddhist monks and teachers. This triggered perceptions of Christians as intolerant, arrogant and exclusivist.
The official pluralist too often finds ways to reduce real otherness and genuine differences to some homogenized sense of what is supposedly already known. Some pluralists, the vaunted defenders of difference, can become the great reductionists by reducing differences to mere similarity, reducing otherness to the same, and reducing plurality to their own community of right-thinking critics. In this light, there is truth in the charge that pluralism is the perfect ideology for the bourgeois mind.
Religious unity is more dangerous than disunity. When great masses of humanity, the nation-states, embrace one theistic or 'spiritual' creed with all its paraphernalia of a priori conclusions about reality deduced from the God-hypothesis, their civilization freezes into a static shell, a lifeless societal geometry of relations. Typically it is symbolized by some emblem they raise. It may be a circle, crescent or straight lines crossed or joined, or elaborate combinations of these, but it is as artificial as the religious unity-in-ignorance it represents. Religious dis-unity is the only way to preserve societal dynamism; its symbol is the tree or rainbow. Societies with religious disunity do not conduct inquisitions or burn heretics. They do encourage the exchange of ideas among those open to reason. As for the violent, without religion they would find still other reasons for their violence; religious pluralism is not its cause.