Pope claims catholics have the truth


Pope Bendydick in his christmas message had two points, one about families and the other about interfaith dialogue.  I wrote about his version of family earlier, and now it’s worth having a look at his other contribution to the ongoing need for religion in the world.

In his rambling talk about inter-faith relationships Bendydick narrows it down to two rules.  Rules are important to catholics.

Two rules are generally regarded nowadays as fundamental for interreligious dialogue:

1. Dialogue does not aim at conversion, but at understanding. In this respect it differs from evangelization, from mission;

2. Accordingly, both parties to the dialogue remain consciously within their identity, which the dialogue does not place in question either for themselves or for the other.

These rules are correct, but in the way they are formulated here I still find them too superficial. True, dialogue does not aim at conversion, but at better mutual understanding – that is correct.

That’s right.  Dialogue is about listening too and respecting the rights and beliefs of others.  It’s about suspending judgement and being curious about the other point of view.

But all the same, the search for knowledge and understanding always has to involve drawing closer to the truth. Both sides in this piece-by-piece approach to truth are therefore on the path that leads forward and towards greater commonality, brought about by the oneness of the truth.

The trouble with religion and with the catholics is that they think they have the truth.  Judgement is never suspended on this idea.  There is no doubt in the mind of the catholic that they are just plain and simply right.

As far as preserving identity is concerned, it would be too little for the Christian, so to speak, to assert his identity in a such a way that he effectively blocks the path to truth. Then his Christianity would appear as something arbitrary, merely propositional. He would seem not to reckon with the possibility that religion has to do with truth.

See that, have us much dialogue as you like, but don’t expect the christian to give up their truth.  Bendydick gives us the ultimate reason as to why inter-faith dialogue will never work.  Christianity can not appear arbitrary in any way according to Bendydick. And this I’m sure is the same for all deeply held faiths.

noreligionOn the contrary, I would say that the Christian can afford to be supremely confident, yes, fundamentally certain that he can venture freely into the open sea of the truth, without having to fear for his Christian identity. To be sure, we do not possess the truth, the truth possesses us: Christ, who is the truth, has taken us by the hand, and we know that his hand is holding us securely on the path of our quest for knowledge. Being inwardly held by the hand of Christ makes us free and keeps us safe: free – because if we are held by him, we can enter openly and fearlessly into any dialogue; safe – because he does not let go of us, unless we cut ourselves off from him. At one with him, we stand in the light of truth.

Such supreme arrogance.  Really, it is.  To think that of all the religions on the face of the planet you are the ones with the truth.  This instantly says that regardless of all other claims made by others, only you have the truth.  This is no way to peace and prosperity.  It actually encourages believers to think that they are right and the rest of the world is wrong.  It also means that when you come to the discussion table have no humility.  When things go pear-shaped the scapegoat isn’t those who have faith, but those that have a different faith.  It makes perfect sense.  The reason the middle east is in uproar is because they don’t accept jesus.  The reason Ireland is split – jesus. The reason marriage equality is wrong, jesus.

Until the religions of the world accept that if they consider other faiths to be wrong and other faiths consider your beliefs to be wrong, then it would be fair to say that all religions are wrong.

I can say that, because I think all religions are just wrong.  They don’t hold the truth.  I don’t hold the truth.  Nobody does, there is no ‘truth’ as religion would have you think.

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