Plurality


#1

Most Catholics I speak with support the idea that all religions are valid. On this forum it seems that many of you believe that the Catholic church is the only true church while some of you believe that God’s church encompasses various forms of Christianity. This is new to me. The Catholics I see most regularly do not believe that God did anything through Jesus that hasn’t been accomplished through other religions. I spent a year in teacher’s college with a good number of religion teachers - the ones I got to know were very pluralistic and that is what the religion teacher at the university taught as well. They told me that they practice their faith because they were born into it, not because it is the only way.

Some religions seem to be very docile. Buddhism is a philosophy that is in contradiction with Christianity, but it is a philosophy that leads followers to be peaceful and relaxed. Islam is a religion that is a reaction to the monotheism of Judaism and Christianity, but written into its central text (the Qur’an) is the idea that Jews and Christians are not to be trusted and can be killed if they are seen to be challenging Islam or the success of Muslims. As I’ve studied religions I’ve found that each makes claims, that it has the ultimate authority - they all stand as the one and only truth.

How can we imagine that all religions are valid in God’s eyes?

Here’s an example of two Catholics I know who are open to other religious ideas beyond the teachings and direction of Christ.
1: Nearly every time I talk to her she analyzes me with astrology. I’ll do something and she’ll laugh and nod and say something like: “you are saying that because you are a ________ and because it is April you are likely to be this way and say these sorts of things… but be careful because…” She doesn’t read scripture and doesn’t talk about God, yet she has trained to teach religion in high school and she goes to mass religiously.
2. the other woman has been a religion teacher for a long time and is preparing to retire. I went to visit her and she was having a student read her cards. The student had brought in a deck of tarot cards and was attempting to tell her religion teacher’s future during lunch.

I just don’t get it.


#2

Neither of those people sound like they understand their faith very well at all. Jesus taught the truth will set us free. I think that we are on a journey to align ourselves with God’s will. Rejection of God/Jesus means Hell because we are created to be with God. All humanity has access to truth and there are shards of truth in most human expressions of spirituality-- most attempts we make at reaching out to God. The difference with Judeo/Christian tradition is that it records God’s reaching out to man. The best way we can learn about God is through the one who came to reveal Him (Jesus) because He is one with Him. The experts on Jesus are the Catholic Church. That doesn’t say anyone else cannot access truth, because we know God loves everyone and wants everyone to be saved. It is us that reject Him and thus condemn ourselves.


#3

it seems really nice and heartwarming to think all religions are the same, and if you don’t think beyond that heartwarming feeling you can easily fool yourself into thinking this is true. however, any thinking person can analyze this “all religions are equal” idea and find it to be false. there are many incompatibilities, all you need to do is write down the major beliefs of each of the religions to see that clearly.

as for tarot cards or palm reading, here are some bible verses i found with a quick internet search:

Acts 19:18-20
Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.

Deuteronomy 18:9-14
“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

Leviticus 20:27
“A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.”

Leviticus 20:6
“If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.

Leviticus 19:31
“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.

and don’t forget the first commandment (Exodus 20)…


#4

If you “get” sin and ignorance, you should then “get” what you see with your Catholic acquaintances. Yes, the Catholic Church is the one, true Church, but that doesn’t mean that all Catholics know (or teach!) their Faith well or, if knowing it well, translate that into obedience to Christ through His Church. On this forum, however, most Catholics know the Faith quite well and try to live it with fidelity (always knowing that we are sinners seeking the unfathomable Mercy of God).


#5

Wow - strong research!..

One of the verses you cited from Deuteronomy presents this idea:
"…or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord."
- Now I’m not specifically a Catholic - I’m a Christian and I see all branches/segments/denominations of the church as have some sincere believers and some who are not sincere - I think that is something scripture points to - the idea that we will be surprised who is in heaven when the day comes - some people we thought were reliable followers might have just been putting on a charade - we cannot know the heart of any man - only God can do that.
- One idea that has never sat right with me was praying to the “saints.” I don’t see anything in scripture that tells us to do this. Everything I see in the New Testament points us into increased ability to come before God without any intermediaries. I don’t see anything in scripture that even tells us that the physically dead who have gone before us are in a position to communicate with God. In scripture we get this picture of all of us present before God, being divided into two groups: Sheep and Goats… The Sheep enter heaven all at once - that is what I see… but still its mysterious and things that are left as mystery in the Bible are of two sorts (usually) either they are meant to leave us puzzled and revealed after death, or they are meant to become clear to us as we find maturity in Him.
The passage you cited says, “…or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.” Whoever inquires of the dead is an abomination to the Lord.

   I realize this practice is central to the Catholic experience - I'm not trying to be offensive, so please don't take it that way - it seems to me that praying to the saints might be an example of being "one who inquires of the dead."  

Maybe I’m wrong - thoughts.


Thanks for your post!
Really interesting!
Steve


#6

here’s an earthly example of how i view praying to the saints: if i send a request to the Governor/Mayor/Senator/etc. i know that they will read it and take action, but if i also know someone who works in their office, i can also send a request to that person and therefore put more “weight” behind my request.

another example is hiring a lawyer before going to court. you are not changing anything you would say about the case, but the lawyer being trained in the ways of the court, can guide you through the process in an expert way.

since we belive that the saints in heaven are ALIVE, just in a better “state” than us, why is it unreasonable to ask them to pray for us? i can ask a very holy person here on earth to pray for me, why can’t i ask a very holy person in heaven to pray for me. the saints are just holy Christians that are in a different location than us, and privy to many things we are not.

now, how do we differentiate praying to the saints vs. one who inquires of the dead? praying to a saint should be, plainly, sending up a prayer to heaven. that prayer may not take the direct route, but by passing through the saint, you give that saint the opportunity to “polish up” your prayer and present it before God in it’s best light possible. inquiring of the dead is more like conjuring up the spirits, trying to bring someone back so you can have extra-ordinary experiences or gain some knowledge that shouldn’t be yours. quite a big difference.

why does God restrict inquiring of the dead? one reason is because it is so easy for us to be fooled by evil spirits trying to suck us into hell. another reason, and more importantly, is that we are not trusting in the Divine Providence of God, and inquiring of the dead is trying to circumvent His holy will. i am sure there are many other reasons, but these are just the first two that come to mind.

scriptural references to praying to the saints? go to the “Ask An Apologist” forum and do a search for “praying to saints”.

try these links as well:

intercession

Praying to saints

from Ask an Apologist


#7

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