I'm a little confused by the statements that have been made on other threads - specifically the Wicca one and the Non-Christian/Catholic one.
At the heart of it lays the topic of what is the relationship between the Catholic Church and other religious faiths that fall out of the Abrahamic category. Although technically I may as well extend the question to certain Protestant denominations as well as the Jews and Muslims on the board.
Going with the Catholic example though ~ I kind of see two trends. And because i'm the guy looking in from the outside - i'm in no position to judge which of these two trends adequately represents your dogma.
Track 1 is going to state that all religions outside of your faith comes from the ultimate source of metaphysical evil in the universe. ie: They are lies, I have truth, etc. etc.
So that's easy to understand. Many evangelical sects i've encountered tend to follow that line.
Except, well, by personal experience watching members of your faith interact with those Non-Abrahamic faiths....the result doesn't really tally up to what Track 1 is stating.
Let me precise here: i am not stating that those instances I've seen somehow constitutes some sort of hidden Pluralism. Not once did I ever see one of your members of your Church state.
But there is a much more perceivable respectful tone amongst your professional polished theologians and those who are actively engaged in the process of evangelization in the "host culture" than well, a random member of the laity voicing his or her opinions here on CAF or in real life.
Gaah... perhaps i'm butchering this so let me go with an example:
Buddhism - as seen in America - tends to be grouped by many of the more traditional western faiths as being part and parcel to the "New Age movement." Cue Castigation.
I then jump on a plane and go to South Korea or Thailand - and i see something competely different. In the specific case of you Catholics, i see more a parternship with Buddhist organizations (who in those cultures represent the traditional guardians of a morality that tracks pretty well over your concept of Natural Law. ) - against THEIR "New Age movements" - which do include some pretty wacky Evangelical sects....who may or may not have a correlate in the States.
Let me reiterate: I don't have folks stating that Jesus was a Buddhist or that Buddha worshipped Yahweh. Again, anti-plularism.
BUT - its not quite Track 1 either. In fact there is a real emphasis placed by the hierarchies (if the other religion happens to have one) about the commonalities shared by your faiths in terms of ethics, morality, and certain contemplative practices.
ie: "I am right, but..that doesn't make the other guy evil.. or damned."
Do you see where i'm kind of getting confused by this.
In one place - members of your Church are essentially decrying the "Other faith" as Servants of Satan.
In another place - you and "the Other Faith" are literally holding the line against certain groups (which tend to fall under the category of "New Religions" - at best maybe 50-70 years old) that have been labeled as Cults (or Psuedo-Cults) within that society.
Or...holding the line against really angry irritable juvenile versions of myself. :p
But to put it bluntly - What gives? Or what accounts for this disparity in opinion? :shrug:
And just what is your dogma when it does come to evaluating whether say Wicca/Hinduism/Buddhism/Scientology/etc is an incorrect but admirable faith, some sort of Occultism, or a dangerous tool of the evil?