Continuing with the exploration and reflection through a series of articles written in a conversational language about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church and many other faith related topics. Here we present:
Question 50 – Can Christians learn from other religions?
In the Gospel*, Jesus* says of himself, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ (Jn 14:6). Jesus does not say a way, a truth or a life. This is no coincidence. Christians believe that Jesus teaches people fully and definitively who God* is. That’s why Christians consider him unique, incomparable with anyone or anything else. This does not mean that Christians believe that non-Christian religions are completely wrong in all respects.
As early as the second century of our era, there were Christian scholars who believed that there are valuable, albeit incomplete, access routes to God in other religions as well. They call them ‘seeds of the Word’.
In the centuries that followed, this openness was considerably overshadowed. In the second half of the twentieth century there was a radical turnaround. At that time, the Catholic* Church* explicitly called for respect, dialogue and cooperation with the other religions. As far as Islam and even more so Judaism are concerned, it was emphasised that there is a great deal in common, even if there are major differences.
It is therefore safe to say that Christians can indeed learn from other religions. This applies in particular to the way in which others experience their faith. It is sometimes said, for example, that Christians can learn from the powerful hope of the Jews and from the fervour of Muslims faith. Jews and Muslims, in turn, could learn from Jesus how to love more inclusively.
– Are you positive or suspicious of other religions?
– Have you ever learned anything from other religions that has enriched your own faith?
Watch this space! Coming up: Question 51 – Can a Christian believe in reincarnation?
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If you wish to learn more about this resource follow this link “52 Questions and Answers about faith”
About the author:
Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 1989, following a short career as a lawyer. He was trained as a Jesuit in Brussels, Paris, and Santiago de Chile. Today he is a spiritual director who is keenly interested in online ministry and discovering new ways to help people find God.
This text is republished with the permission of Messenger Publications, Ireland. To buy a hard copy of the book click here.