My faith is better than your faith

On another thread which was recently closed down, a lot of the discussion indirectly centered around the “My faith is better than your faith” concept. In other words, some Catholics were saying and/or insinuatiing our faith is the true faith and the whole truth and your Protestant faith is lacking and thus imperfect. Likewise some Protestants were saying the Catholic faith encouraged idol worship and spread a false gospel.

IMO, these types of attitudes do nothing but fuel the divisiveness between the various Christian denominations and Catholicism and accomplish nothing positive. Instead of trying to find fault, why not rejoice in the what they most all have in common.

  • Christ is the Son of God
  • Trinity
  • Christ died for our sins
  • The Resurrection

Most Christian groups all believe the above things. While we may worship God differently to some respect, most all agree on the basics. Does God really care that we worship differently, as long as we are sincere in that worship?

This may have been discussed enough already on the other thread, but I invite anyone’s comments. However, lets try to keep a charitable tone.

Oh, dear.

INCOMING!!! http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/14/14_4_103.gif

If you only go that far, everything seems the same. Though we seem to have those 4 things in common, it’s when you start to discuss what those things mean that the differences come up.

Ask a Protestant and a Catholic to talk about Christ’s dying for our sins, and you’re going to have 2 different answers.

I agree that it doesn’t have to get nasty, though.

I think something that’s lacking in our online interactions with non-Catholics is that we’re not expressing adequately our desires for them to enjoy the full benefits of the Church. When we attempt to do so, much of it comes off sounding like “We have the fullness of the Truth…and you don’t!” or “We have the Eucharist - and you don’t!” It does make us look a little pompous and righteous, when those are the last things we want to project about us and the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.

One thing that I’ve learned is that God desires all of us to be one - in faith, in belief, and in Christ. We’ve got to try and convey more to our separated brethren that we love them and that there is more to Christianity than just “the basics.” We want these things for our loved ones…they, like all of God’s creatures, should have the best! :thumbsup:

God Bless!

If you always do what you have always done, you will only get what you have always had.

If we all just pat each other on the back and say how wonderful our commonality is, where is the call to evangelization there? Catholics DO hold the fullness of Truth, there can be no denying that by any Catholic! We are all called to evangelize, to bring souls to Christ. How can we do that if all we do is sing kumbaya together?

Those who are in error must be taught. It is their free will to either accept or reject the Truth. But it is our job as Catholics to make them aware of the Truth so they can make the informed choice.

~Liza

MikeW: I agree with you. I haven’t seen anything in the Bible that tells us that Christ began any particular Christian denomination. In fact Christ, Himself, was a Jew so if we are getting down to truthfulness then it seems to me that since Christ was a Jew, then the Jewish religion is the one, true religion. Fighting about religion doesn’t help anyone but just draws us further apart. We should all be free to worship God in whatever building we choose to enter. I know that a lot of people will say that I’m wrong but that’s okay. I’m not out to prove anything to anyone.

It is hard to change perceptions. There are always going to be two sides to any coin: If we say, “We have the fullness and you do not and we want to share fullness with you, come join us”, there are always going to be those who see the opposite, "You claim we LACK fullness, but we think we’re fine, you’re uppity, you should join us instead and stop being so ‘holier-than-thou’.

The only trouble with trying to ‘avoid arguments’ by emphasizing commonality is the danger it will lead to indifferentism.

After all, if a Protestant Christian is perfectly happy with all the points the OP mentioned, he/she is not going to go any ‘further’ and will always be ‘lacking the fullness’.

In fact, this will further crystalize and cement division in the long run. The more we have the idea that "there’s enough in common between Protestants and Catholics that Catholics should just " the less authority the Church has (it’s just ‘one of many’, and it encourages Protestants to see it as ‘one of many’ and not ‘The One’), the less authority Protestant Churches have (since there is no ‘one church’ and everybody can ‘go his own way’ and we’ll have even more ‘splinters’), the less authority Christianity has (as no authority is accepted and everything becomes more and more relative, as Church A will ‘accept’ one thing, Church B call it sinful, Church C say it’s ONLY sinful if it’s done a certain way, Church D will DEMAND it be practiced, Church E call it a virtue, etc.)

It is praiseworthy to try to find common ground in order to speak with our brethren; it is not praiseworthy if the main, or the sole reason for such is to promulgate an ‘indifferentism’ such that no group is ‘permitted’ to claim that its faith is True or complete.

Fact is, the Catholic faith IS the Truth, the whole truth. Protestant faiths contain degrees of Truth but not the whole truth. . .and while the acknowledgment of this may cause hurt ‘feelings’, even anger and pain, this does not mean that I must cease speaking and revealing the Truth.

For ultimately, not speaking the Truth and permitting others to believe that their ‘truth’ is ‘as good’ is more hurtful to their eternal SOULS, FOREVER, than briefly and temporally to their FEELINGS, NOW.

MikeW262 - this post perfectly makes my point. He agrees with you that we are all just fine and dandy where we are spiritually if we all just do what we want.

Well, Christ didn’t feel that way, and He most certainly DID begin only one Church - it was sinful men who started the rest because they wanted things their way.

You can not allow folks to wallow in ignorance. Ignorance is the lack of knowledge, and we are all called to be fishers of men, and to bring them to Christ.

Outstanding that such a perfect post came along to make my point so quickly, though I’m not surprised.

~Liza

Lizanne: You are right. We are all ignorant. None of us has the entire truth. If anyone says that any one religion has ALL the truths, then I would say that person must claim to be Christ, Himself, since only He knows everything. We try and hope to gain more and more knowledge but the best we can do is our very best.

Pigtown, my non-Catholic Christian friend, you are both right and wrong.

As individuals none of us can fully know the Truth. Only God.

As members however of the Catholic Church, the bride of Christ, and thus “one flesh” with Him, we DO possess the Fullness of Truth. I know you do not accept this, but your nonacceptance does not make Truth ‘false’.

As individuals, any Catholic can be a ‘good’ Catholic or a ‘bad’ Catholic–can choose to follow Church teachings fully, or only in part. That does not make the teaching only as ‘good’ as the individual practicing it though. That virtually ‘all’ of us Catholics fail to live up to Church teaching does not make the teaching ‘wrong’.

Your idea that, if 'none of us can fully know Truth, all of us no matter how we worship are doing what we should" is indifferentism.

Either there is ONE FULL TRUTH or there is NO FULL TRUTH.

If there is one full truth, then either we have one (or more) Churches which possess it, or we have NO church which possesses it.

If there are one or more Churches which possess it, then they must by definition preach not only ‘some’ of the teachings but ‘all’ of the teachings. If one Church teaches that X is authentic truth, and another church teaches that X is not authentic truth, they cannot both be correct. Therefore, unless two–or three-or more Churches teach EXACTLY THE SAME TEACHING–they are not ALL possessed of the fullness of truth.

So if there is one full truth, and we have only ONE Church which teaches all the teachings of that truth, then ALL the other churches must teach at best only PART of the truth.

To claim that any given Church which teaches only PART of the truth is equal to, or as good as, the Church which teaches the FULL Truth, is totally illogical. What is better, PART of a pie or the whole pie? Doing PART of a necessary operation, or the WHOLE operation? Getting PART of a paycheck, or the WHOLE paycheck?

I did not say “we are all ignorant”, please show me where I said that.

The Catholic Faith holds the fullness of Truth given to us by Christ. We Catholics are called to share this with others so they may make the informed decision to reject or accept the Truth.

Is there more to know about Christ? Certainly - and when we reach heaven we will learn all about it. :slight_smile: In the mean time, what He left his One Holy and Apostolic Church, is what she has been teaching for centuries.

~Liza

Yes. He wants us to be one.

He does appreciate our sincerity, no doubt. But sincerity does not equal correctness. A person can be as sincerely misguided as he is sincerely correct. But of course all teaching and evangelizing should be done charitably. Sure we have common ground and that’s wonderful. But Christ’s Church is not characterized by a minimalist common denominator. :o

In my experiences, if there is someone who does NOT believe they are living the fullness of truth, then I wonder why they don’t make changes. Whether a Jew or Hindu or Buddhist or Protestant or Catholic, I would expect any of them to claim to live the true faith, otherwise, what are they doing in that faith?

We are all ignorant, but truth matters.

No Catholic thinks that they have the truth, but that the Catholic Chuch is the one true Church. Since Jesus knew what He was talking about and taught only truth, whatever Church He founded would be 100% true. So yes Christ said He was the truth, He claimed He was the Way the Truth and the Life, so did He teach perfectly?

If not then it really doesn’t matter what you believe and you could follow any belief. But if truth matters then you have to be one faith that is perfect.

Catholics are far from perfect, Catholicism is perfect.

In Christ
Scylla

I like to say the Catholic Church has the fullness of revealed truth. :o

It is the Pope that invites members of the Church of England, as well as the Orthodox Church into the Vatican to pray and discuss topics and I can promise you he does not say…WE ARE THE ONE TRUE CHURCH and your faith is incorrect.

I am not Catholic…mainly I was not raised in a Catholic home, but learned of it in my teen years and study with Priests now to determine if I will convert, but only after I have been taught all of the beliefs.

The Catholics that have affected me most positively have been ones that are knowledgable of the FAITH…not the church…and the details of beliefs that are sometimes confusing…ie praying to Saints, Eucharist, etc.

No one says that you should sing songs…but to assume that because someone believes almost everything taught in the Catholic Church, but maybe is not sure on praying to Saints and is therefore confirmed into an Angelican Church vs. the Catholic church doesn’t have the faith to get them saved is actually quite against the actions of the Roman Catholic Pope.

You should discuss and educated others of us that are not Catholic on the FAITH…but sometimes I find that many that are most aggressive on defending the Catholic faith are ones that don’t know how to share the faith…but rather yell to join the church.

Explaining the beliefs and allowing the HOLY SPIRIT to do his job…which is to actually shine the truth of God and his ways to the person is the correct way to evangelize and thankfully the Pope that we have now is a Wonderful example of how to do it correctly!

Knowledgable, Orthodox in Catholic Beliefs, Firm in his beliefs as well as in his adherance to those beliefs, sharing those ideas in love and in a manner of teaching rather than preaching…and does so quite effectively…to the point…he might have a new bunch of converts soon in some Orthodox Angelicans.

The Pope does indeed say, and speak, and act, that we are the One True Faith. However, he (and we) also say that non-Catholic Christians are loved, do possess truth (if not fullness), are our brothers and sisters, etc.

If you carefully examine the Pope’s speeches you can see indeed that he is quite firm and insistent on the TRUTH of Catholicism while acknowledging and respecting that non-Catholics can possess some of the truth in their faiths and by that are in a partial ‘union’ with the Catholic faith. “Separated brethren” points out the fundamental relationship we share as Christians all, yet acknowledges that our brethren have separated themselves from ‘all’ the truth while retaining degrees of it in their separation.

Now Benedict, God bless him, is a theologian of note AND the Vicar of Christ. It is quite natural that he both expresses himself far ‘better’ than I could, and also that his authority as Pope makes his speeches not only better canvassed than mine but better ‘interpreted’ by those of good will.

Still, though I imperfectly articulate Benedict’s words and teachings through anything from typos to unclear or less-than-stellar articulation on a ‘personal’ level, to the extent that my words are clearly teachings of the Catholic faith, they are in line with what Benedict teaches.

Your perception of Benedict’s words that he does not outright ‘claim’ Catholic supremacy may help you to feel ‘better’ about your own faith (and I am not deriding it or you in any way by stating that, good though it may be, unless it is Catholic it is just not quite complete in and of itself, though you may be a far ‘better’ Christian in your personal actions than I am). . .but it is not truly ‘accurate’ if by it you understand that Benedict finds your Church to be ‘equal’ to the Catholic Church and your faith (not your personal PRACTICE, let me reiterate, that is something else entirely) but your FAITH–be it Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, etc. etc. while it contains many essentials of Christian teaching is simply not as complete as the Catholic faith. Though again I hasten to add that you personally, in following your faith, may be a far better Christian in your PRACTICE than I in mine.

Tantum Ergo…if we are judged on our typing skills…then I too would fail…lol!

Thanks so much for your comments.

I totally understand where the church is coming from…either you believe it all or you don’t…kind of like scriptures to me…either you take it all or not…if you pick and choose you become the church of Oprah…only kidding.

That is the cutest little icon picture thing!

Again, you are speaking from a “Catholic’s” perspective. Try to step away from that for a moment and look at the bigger picture. Non-Catholic Christians do not believe/accept the fullness of Truth argument from us, and many believe just the opposite of Catholics; we’re all heretics heading to Hell. We are the ones in error and must be taught. They feel it is their job as Baptists, or whatever denomination to make us aware of the real truth.

I read a lot of postings on a Baptist board, and many of them have the same attitude as many on here. Basically, my faith is right and yours is wrong and you better get turned around.

Why can’t all Christians just accept that while all may worship God a little differently, our ultimate goal is the same; to get to Heaven? A little more mutual respect might go a long way. This actually should go for all the world religions.

If it doesn’t matter…come worship with us Catholics and receive Jesus in the Eucharist as He said in John 6. :smiley:

See, we can still teach our faith while showing respect!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.