Should Catholics Read other faiths' "holy books"?


As an apologetics tool, should Catholics read the “holy books” of other faiths??? Are there books that can be read and others that shouldn’t??? For example, reading the Tanakh of Judaism contains less error than the Tao Te Ching (Taoism) in relationship to Catholicism. Thanks and God Bless.

P.S. As a side note, does anyone know of any Catholic writings or authors that address and comment on the “holy books” of the other major world religions??? Thank you for any assistance as I have not been able to find any texts related to religions of the Far East that the author’s objectivity has not been compromised or already embraced foreign ideas.


Didn’t somebody once say something like “To know the enemy you have to become the enemy…”? (just teasing)

I think if you are looking at these other books as a means to defend your own faith, then it is not a problem. However, if you are not strong in your own faith, then you risk being torn from your faith…


I’ve always found it important to know as much as I felt necessary to effectively debate with someone from another path than me. If I want to use History to argue something in Mathematics, then I research both, if I want to disprove some scientific theory through the use of philosophy, I would find examples and read them extensively. It only makes sense, then, to go after what each religion considers to be their most widely accepted books that best represent their faith, and use that combined with your own knowledge regarding Catholicism to use in your conversations.

Not to mention, gaining extra intelligence in new areas is a great bonus. :slight_smile:



Learn & listen to all, But Trust in the Lord for he holds the Truth.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. ~Confucius

Knowledge is the true organ of sight, not the eyes. ~Panchatantra

Proverbs Chapter 2
1 1 2 My son, if you receive my words and treasure my commands, 2 3 Turning your ear to wisdom, inclining your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you call to intelligence, and to understanding raise your voice; 4 If you seek her like silver, and like hidden treasures search her out: 5 Then will you understand the fear of the LORD; the knowledge of God you will find; 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 He has counsel in store for the upright, he is the shield of those who walk honestly, 8 Guarding the paths of justice, protecting the way of his pious ones. 9 Then you will understand rectitude and justice, honesty, every good path; 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will please your soul, 11 Discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you;

Let Prayer be your Guide & the answers will be revealed, by the the Spirt of God.

Learn your Faith, Learn our History, listen to the strories of the people, family, friends and you will recieve many perspectives. God works through each and everyone.



If you always stay in the house, how can you possibly comment on what others see of the house from the outside?

Similarly, how can you possibly know what Catholicism looks like unless you try to see it from a different point of view? Wouldn’t it help to know what they see in order to better understand it and clarify it for them?



It might do no harm to some that are well versed and strong in their own faith.
But some can be influenced by these books, and it would be better to know more about your own faith, before trying to understand others.
I get leaflets through my letter box sometimes, and give them a quick browse, then bin them.
So if your not easily influenced, then it does no harm to know more about other faiths.
I read part of the Morman book, as they said they were calling back the following week to talk about it.
But no it wasn’t for me, I’m not for leaving my beloved Church, warts and all, so I handed them their books back.


[quote=STIOFÁN]It might do no harm to some that are well versed and strong in their own faith.
But some can be influenced by these books, and it would be better to know more about your own faith, before trying to understand others.


I hear your point. Hopefully those weak in faith are not trying to be apologists. As we know, though, wannabe apologetics and weakness in faith go hand in hand. :smiley: OK, just kidding.



If you don’t know what they teah, how can you explain to them how wrong they are? :wink:

It’s like some of the more militant Prtotestants: They will read no papist books because they are vile, but they somehow already know what you teach. For example, they won’t even look on an encyclical about salvation, but they “know” that you believe they will end up in hell for not being Catholic. And so on and so forth.


I’m currently reading the Talmud, and I’d recommend it to any Catholic who has some grounding in their faith. Of course, reading Jewish holy books is a bit different from reading those of other faiths. The fascinating thing about the Talmud for me is how much it supports Christianity, at least as far as historical claims. It even attests to healings done by Jesus and his disciples (though it calls them sorcery).

In the case of Judaism, it NEVER hurts to learn more.


The responses on this thread are encouraging, and I’m glad slinky brought the topic up.

Based on what I perceived to be the majority responses to non-Catholic thinking in other threads, I thought that many posters here would be adamantly against, if not just plain frightened by, any studies of anything that isn’t Catholic. When I used to bring up Fr. Thomas Keating, for example, it drew huge emotional reactions and guess what one of the biggest charges against him was? He had (gasp!) been involved in actually talking to people of different faiths!



I believe that as long as one is well grounded in the Catholic faith it might be helpful to become familiar with holy books of other faiths.

I bought a Qu’uran after I read an Internet chain letter about a particular chapter and verse being tied to 9/11 (here is the Snopes debunking of it). I decided that I should become familiar with it because so many people were buying into lies.

I’ve also read the Bhagavad Gita and some Zoroastrian texts.

I repeat, make sure you’re grounded in the Catholic faith and our own holy books before delving into those of other faiths.



That’s funny, I got that same chain letter and that’s when I first looked into the same book. I didn’t actually buy one, though, but found it online. That was before I knew about snopes.



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