This may seem like an odd question. But I was wondering whether there are any religions so liberal that they believe other religions are just as likely to be true as their own? Unitarianism perhaps. Any others, such as Hinduism, Quakerism, or religious science? And if so, what does that say about the people who follow that religion and about the religion itself?
I’m not sure about formal religious groups but many Evangelical Pastors will be quick to say, “no one knows for sure” on this or that doctrine or “All human interpretation is fallible” or something like that.
“As long as you are being fed” is what really matters to some and they readily admit that they may be wrong.
To my understanding, Judaism does not believe it necessary to be a Jew in order to be rewarded by God and to inherit a share in the World To Come. However for those who are born Jewish it is seen as a special honor to be given the responsibilities which Judaism places on its followers.
That is true, but nonetheless, except for the most liberal branches of Judaism, maybe Reconstructionist Judaism or Humanistic Judaism, the religion still believes it offers the revealed truth about what G-d expects of us and even the nature of G-d, insofar as any religion can know something about this.
I knew Evangelicals believed in the fallibility of human interpretation, but didn’t realize they would say that no one knows for sure with regard to basic doctrinal issues.
Hinduism, for one, is syncretic, with almost no limitations. Some even worship Jesus. Some (unlike Catholics) worship Mary. That’s among many other gods and goddesses, of course.
At the core, most protestants don’t. They believe in personal interpretation, and many, if not most, allow that all others are also valid.
It can be interesting sometimes to look up the “faith statements” of various protestant churches. While some, like Anglicans and Lutherans have fairly lengthy and complex ones, far and away most are no longer or not much longer than a single page. Very little is held in common, all else being just how the individual sees it.
But even Anglicans are highly varied in what they regard as “truth”. I have said it before on here, but I’ll again paraphrase what W.F. Buckley once said. It went like this: “The Anglican Church is so eclectic that no one, from the Pope to Mao Tse-Tung can say with any degree of assurance that he is NOT an Anglican.”
I don’t agree. On key points of doctrine, most pastors have a clear belief on ‘proper interpretation’ (like salvation). The fact they don’t all agree doesn’t mean they are not confident in their interpretation.
On other points, scripture is vague and even the magisterium may not have clarified interpretation.
God is Holy Mystery. All we know of Him is through the interpretation of our senses and the testimonies of how others have experienced Him in their lives. For those of us who are Christian, God is met in the life and ministery of Jesus of Nazareth.
I do not believe ANY group has “fulness of Truth”…Truth is something we demonstrate on how we live our lives.
It makes no difference whether we believe in a literal resurrection or not IF the Truth of the Resurrection is not reflected in our lives…until it “incarnates” within us, and impacts our lives, it’s just a nice story.
Believing dogmatic statements is not Truth…they are finite expressions of what makes sense to us in our understanding…God is Wholly Other…Infinite…beyond out understanding…His ways as far above our ways as the heavens are above the earth.
Claiming to have “fullness of Truth”…IMO…is a nice tidy way to “keep us warm at night”…Truth is much more diverse and profound than our creedal and doctrinal statements.
We all are on a Journey of Discovery…the Journey is more important than the destination…and how we impact our own personal world by living out that Truth we seek to express is more important than the words we use to express it.
I believe that Quakerism has provided me the framework I need to Encounter God and shape my life as I seek to Incarnate His Life in mine.
All who are wrong believe that they are right. If not, there would be no disagreement on earth. As to religions, only One has the words of everlasting life, the words of salvation from sin, and union with the supernatural or Divine. Only One has revealed that which is unknowable to man - that which is yet to come. Only one was predicted before it happened. Some religions teach a personal emptying. Some teach a filling, while yet others teach some sort of union or ‘nirvanic’ state. Only One teaches all three - the emptying or cleansing from sin; the filling with the Holy Spirit and the presence of Christ, as well as the union with the Eternal.
I can’t name them but Christians in most liberal denominations have succumbed to secularism. What I mean is that they articulate statements that mean there is no real truth. They may say they believe in truth but their statements say otherwise. they think they are taking the higher ground by being “Open” to different ideas but I always tell them that the “Truth Trumps Choice”. Pope Pius IX in his Syllabus of Errors attacks these kind of thoughts - Indifferentism. I know a couple that go to a Unitarianism Church and they say that in one room someone may be giving a talk on Christianity and in another room someone may be giving a talk on witchcraft! As far a Christian Denominations go, we should be charitable and recognized the truths of their faith but never be indifferent to our Catholic Faith.
Eloquently stated! Thank you for this.
I love Quakerism for this. Thank you for your comment.
This is what I thought as well. But it is my understanding that the Magisterium does have doctrinal clarity even though there may be matters that fall under prudential judgment.
I believe they are an amalgam of different beliefs with virtually no dogma.
Do you equate secularism with ecumenism as well as moral relativism?
I suspected this about Hinduism, but was unaware of the diversity within Anglicanism. Thank you for your commentary.
This has been pretty close to my experience as an evangelical Christian. Being willing to live with mystery should not be an excuse for intellectual laziness when it comes to theology, but at the same time I acknowledge God is so much bigger than we can grasp.
Personally, if someone acknowledges the goodness of God—especially if they have been through some painful experiences or losses that might make them doubt His goodness—I see them as my spiritual fellows or superiors despite areas where we might disagree on doctrine and theology.
Rick Warren tries to say what is being said…however
“We believe we can learn truth – I’ve learned a lot of truth from different religions. Because they all have a portion of the truth.” —Rick Warren (Emphasis added)5
Those who believe that “the One Truth” underlies all religions (theologies) can easily be led into believing that all gods are simply diverse manifestations of “the one God” and that all religions are just a different path to God.
For something to be true, it must always be true or it is not true, and if it is not true then it is not to be believed…How does one discern the truth from other religions as Rick says without believing that there are many gods…complicated to equate some truth with all truth…
The Bible came from the Catholic Church is either true or false. If it is true, it has always been true…and then the question is where did Protestants get a Bible and if it came by way of the Church that falsely produced the Bible then Protestantism is false…tough one…
I may be expressing an unorthodox opinion of my Catholic faith, but the apostle Paul in his letter to the church of Corinth writes, “We know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part shall be done away. For now we see as in a glass darkly, but then face to face”.
From this I conclude that the deep things of G-d are not for us to perfectly know or understand at this time.