Faith is a gift from God, if your neighbor has it; be happy for him even if it’s not the same as yours.
True, it’s good to rejoice with anyone who has faith in God. And I do rejoice.
But how much more is there to rejoice about if we know that our neighbours understand God as He has truly revealed Himself to us. Which isn’t a totally different way for each person - God is ONE and the same for all.
And there’s more to rejoice about if we know they worship Him in the fullness of the path He has given us (again, there is one sure path He has given us, not a totally different one for each person)!
Perhaps I should expand on what I am trying to say. Saif is never going to convert to Catholicism. But when he wakes up in the morning he knows that God is watching over him and he has something to give him hope.
John doesn’t believe in God, when he is alone, he’s alone.
You can guess witch friend I worry about more.
Everybody here is ready to pick a theological fight, myself included. That’s not really good witnessing. I like a lively debate, but I’d rather be made to look like a complete jackass then weaken someones faith.
Someone who has faith already isn’t usually going to be dissuaded from their faith by discussing it with people of other faiths (even if they’re a bit critical). On the other hand, they just might be brought to a better (different?) understanding of it.
As for those who don’t believe - you can’t really argue them out of something they don’t have to begin with, can you? And they just might find something in a good debate that brings them to faith.
Although seeing lived examples of faith will almost certainly do more than any amount of intellectual sparring. So we need to back up our profession of faith in the rest of our lives!
What if he worships the God of necrophilia and is happy with his faith? Should I be happy then? IF they were the same, all forms of morality would be equally fine. So, the Aztecs, who committed human sacrific would be as good as Buddhism which is basically a peaceful faith.
OF cours, I am purposely presenting an extreme example. The fact is that not all religions are the same.
Yes, most religions do have some forms of truth and beauty in them. God put his rules on our heart and it is very possible that most faiths do get some areas correct.
But the only faith that has the fullness of the truth is Christianity and further Roman Catholicism.
I tend to think that we should let the Holy Spirit do the converting though. So, I can be a good witness to my faith, I can engage people in polite discussion but beating people over the head with my faith is not something that I would ever do.
Roman Catholicism also believes in Invincible Ignorance, which is basically that if you don’t have the opportunity to reject Jesus then you are judged by how well you kept your religious beliefs. (I’ve oversimplified that a bit)
I was speaking in a more monotheistic context.
And if my neighbor was into necrophilia, I’d move.
Frankly I wouldn’t worry about anyone’s beliefs however unusual as long as their actions did not harmfully impact others.
That is basically what I was thinking…
We should to question a person’s faith.
We can discuss differences of beliefs with those who want to dicuss them… which is mostly what we do here.
But we do have an obligation to stand against those whose beliefs are used as an excuse to hurt others. And even then, we should only stand against the laws/beliefs that lead to the harm.
Inter-religious dialogue is a difficult matter. Speaking from a viewpoint which suspends judgement, each world religion makes often conflicting claims about patterns to salvation, the nature of reality, and the end goal of the religious quest.
Through history since the beginning of humankind as a distinct species, one thing does seem to be true for all cultures in all places; human beings are religious animals. There seems to be a repeating pattern of an attempt by humans to reach transcendence, which has manifested itself in the world’s great religious traditions and also to a large extent in the philosophical quest for truth. Traces of this search can also be found in art, poetry, and in other areas, and of course in our recent development of science and technology and our attempts to control and master nature and reach into the depths of the universe, in its macrocosmic and microcosmic dimensions.
The existence of the world poses a question which demands an answer; why does something exist at all? As Wittgenstein once wisely said, we could be very sophisticated in our natural sciences and even our philosophy, but the great mystery of Being would still remain untouched, posing a difficult question.
The world’s religions, in their own ways, as well as philosophy and science, and also works of imagination in art forms, try to answer these fundamental questions. In Western society, science and scientific knowledge are the pre-eminent paradigm, but people are turning to religion in large numbers as well, and in some ways Philosophy and art are also being renewed as modes of transcendence.
Clearly the world’s religions can’t be reduced to one single denominator. nor can each agree on doctrine and the correct path of salvation. Yet, they do reflect what seems to be a constant yearning for the human being to transcend his or her limitations as a creature, as do philosophy and science and art, and this points to what all religions aim at also.
Yes I totally agree with this too and if harm comes to the person or is inflicted on others, that is bad fruit.
I agree 100%. See, there are multiple truths, everyone!
If my neighbor believes that the correct way to use a fire extinguisher is to inhale the foam and blow on the fire as hard as you can, then, I worry about him. The more comfort he finds in his belief, the more I worry, because his comfort is reducing his chance to read the instructions and question his belief. If he wants to prove to me that he is right, I welcome that opportunity, as long as he lets me speak and doesn’t use tactics like interrupting and emotional blackmail to keep me from making myself clear. As long as we are all listening to one another’s full arguments, then I am happy when he tries to convert me, because it is so important for him and me to make sure we are correct. What makes my head spin fastest is when he accuses me of hating him and disrespecting him when I try to show him why I believe he has a misimpression. Surely if I didn’t love and respect him, I wouldn’t try to help him out.
See post about necrophilia.
I think there is only one truth, and only one way to reach that one truth, but many many many ways to reach that one way to reach that one truth.
And a Muslim/Calvinist/“Evangelical” is at least moving in some direction, as apposed to an atheist who isn’t moving at all.
I don’t think anyone here knows me (but you never know) but if you did you would never have thought I would take to carrying a rosary and asking Saint Jude for help. I was a true obnoxious ultra-anti-Catholic protestant. But God gave me a little nudge and here I am. But had I not had that belief that there is something more then just an accident of malicious little atoms clumping together in a most inconvenient way I’m not so sure I would have been able to take the leap of faith.
Sorry for my spelling I’m very tired.
I worry about people’s beliefs if their actions OR their beliefs harm others OR themselves. That includes harm in the next life as well as this one.
Here is my take on the paths taken by the faithful of different faiths, using the analogy of a motor car with manual transmission:
Agnostics are in neutral or in other words, they are forever stationary and are not headed anywhere in the ultimate journey of life.
Deists are generally in 1st gear but some of them do pray in their own way and so they would be in 2nd gear. Unfortunately for deists, this is a most inefficient way to drive and this means that they just do not have enough fuel in their tank to last them the whole journey.
People who follow an organized religion like Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs etc. would be in anywhere from 3rd gear to overdrive depending on the strength of their belief.
Non-Muslims however, although they may be in overdrive in their zeal towards their faith, are simply headed in the wrong direction and this means that they are far more likely to end up going over the edge and into the abyss rather than safely reaching their intended destination.
Atheists are the most unfortunate group of all for many of them do not even realise that they are in reverse gear.
Therefore, Muslims who faithfully adhere to the teachings of Islam are in the best position of all to enter Paradise because not only are they on the right expressway and heading in the right direction, they also are adequately fueled to last the whole journey as they cruise in overdrive towards their intended destination in the Hereafter…
I agree with you.
Faith is the first step so glad you have taken it and prayer is an act of trust and I read your blog so their is fruit in your message.