d) Other Religions

other religions (the major religions on a map)Other Religions

“John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name, and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.'”

—Jesus, in the Gospel of Mark 9:38-39

“God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race…” (Jerusalem version). ” “You see, God’s grace has been revealed to save the whole human race;…” (New Jerusalem version).

—St Paul, in his letter to Titus 2:11

“Of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As is arithmetic — there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.”

—CS Lewis, in his book ‘Mere Christianity’ (in the chapter ‘The Rival Conceptions of God’, page 29 of the 1997 edition by Fount Paperbacks, London)

“Those who ignore, without any fault of theirs, Christ’s Gospel and his church, and, nevertheless, are sincerely searching for God, and under the influence of grace try their best through good works to fulfil God’s will, made known to them through the dictates of the conscience, can achieve eternal salvation.”

—Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, n.20

“The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or—if they think there is not—at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ‑life inside him. He does not think that God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because he loves us.”

—CS Lewis

“What Sets Christianity Apart: …. our belief in the Most Holy Trinity. We Christians believe that God is a unity of three divine persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and that God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have exactly the same nature as God the Father.”

—on the “God’s Word This Month” page for June 3, 2012 (Trinity Sunday) in the Redemptorists’ Reality magazine, June 2012

“Other people are not rivals from whom we must defend ourselves, but brothers and sisters to be supported. They are to be loved for their own sakes, and they enrich us by their very presence.”

—Pope John Paul II (Evangelium Vitae)

“Transcending all the differences which distinguish individuals and peoples, there is a fundamental commonality. For different cultures are but different ways of facing the question of the meaning of personal existence…. Every culture is an effort to ponder the mystery of the world and in particular of the human person…. The heart of every culture is its approach to the greatest of all mysteries: the mystery of God.

Our respect for the culture of others is therefore rooted in our respect for each community’s attempt to answer the question of human life. And here we can see how important it is to safeguard the fundamental right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, as the cornerstones of the structure of human rights and the foundation of every truly free society. No one is permitted to suppress those rights by using coercive power to impose an answer to the mystery of man….

The truth about man is the unchangeable standard by which all cultures are judged; but every culture has something to teach us about one or other dimension of that complex truth. The ‘difference’ which some find so threatening can, through respectful dialogue, become the source of a deeper understanding of the mystery of human existence.”

—Pope John Paul II (to UN General Assembly, 1995)

“The vocation to holiness, that is, to communion with God, belongs to an eternal design of this God, a design that extends through history and includes all the men and women of the world, because it is a universal appeal. God excludes no one.”

—Pope Benedict XVI (at a General Audience on 20 June, 2012, as reported in the 27th June English edition of L’Osservatore Romano)

“God has not told us what his arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know him can be saved through him.”

—CS Lewis

“Saint Paul is profoundly aware that Christ is absolutely original and absolutely unique. If He were only a wise man like Socrates, if He were a “prophet” like Muhammad, if He were “enlightened” like Buddha, without any doubt He would not be what he is. He is the one mediator between God and humanity. He is mediator because he is both God and man…. Christ is so human!… Christ is unique! Unlike Muhammad, He does more than just promulgate principles of religious discipline to which all God’s worshippers must conform. Christ is not simply a wise man as was Socrates, whose free acceptance of death in the name of truth nevertheless has a similarity with the sacrifice of the Cross. Less still is He similar to Buddha, with his denial of all that is created…. The Creator, from the beginning, saw a multitude of good in creation.”

—Pope John-Paul II, ‘Crossing the Threshold of Hope’

“I am quite certain that those who have another religion can become very close to God in their own way. They too must deal with the transcendence of God, but deal with it they do.

Anyone who has had the privilege of seeing the solemn silent works of Buddhist or Hindu art can never doubt that here we have visual worship. In fact, since much of this art depicts the immense peace of God, they can be less disturbing to prayer than much Christian art…. Notice I am speaking of art here and how the art of other religions shows us the reality of their prayer. They are not praying in Jesus, because Him they do not know. They are praying in the spirit of their own religions, making use of their own scaffolding of faith. But who else can they pray to except God, the one God? There is no other God but God. As a Christian I have not difficulty with this.”

—Sister Wendy Beckett in ‘Sister Wendy On Prayer’

“As Henri de Lubac in particular has shown the ancient world did in fact experience the birth of Christianity as a liberation from the fear of demons that, in spite of scepticism and enlightenment, was all-pervasive at the time. The same thing also happens today wherever Christianity replaces old tribal religions, transforming and integrating their positive elements into itself.”

—Pope Benedict XVI in his first book as Pope: ‘Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration’, 2007

“This is the first time I have found myself with young Muslims. Christians and Muslims: we have many things in common as believers and as human beings. We live in the same world. It is marked by numerous signs of hope, but also by many signs of anguish. Abraham is the model for us all of faith in God, submission to his will and trust in his goodness. We believe in the same God, the one and only God, the living God, the God who creates worlds and brings creatures to their perfection….

I first call upon the Most High, the almighty God who is our creator. He is at the origin of all life, as he is the source of all that is good, of all that is beautiful, of all that is holy….

We know that all persons have the same origin and also the same end: the God who made them and who awaits them, because he will bring them together….

The Church affirms that all people, especially those of living faith, ought to respect one another, get over all discrimination, live together and serve universal brotherhood. The Church shows particular concerns for Muslim believers, in view of their faith in the one God, their sense of prayer and their esteem for an upright life….

I believe that we Christians and Muslims ought to acknowledge with joy the religious values we have in common and give thanks to God for them. We and you believe in the importance of prayer, of fasting and of almsgiving, of penitence and of pardon. We believe that God will be a merciful judge to us at the end of time and that after the resurrection he will be happy with us and we shall be happy with him.

Sincerity also requires that we recognise and respect our differences. The most fundamental is clearly the regard which we have for the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. You know that, for Christians, Jesus provides an intimate knowledge of the mystery of God and provides filial communion of his gifts, if they acknowledge him and proclaim him Lord and Saviour….

Christians and Muslims, generally we have understood each other badly. Sometimes in the past we have opposed each other and even exhausted ourselves in polemics and wars. I believe God is calling us today to change our old habits. We have to respect each other and stimulate each other in good works upon the path of God.”

—Pope John-Paul II, Address to Young Muslims in Morocco, 1985, in ‘Pope John-Paul II: A Reader‘, edited by O’Collins SJ, pages 149 to 156, published by Paulist Press: Mahwah, New Jersey, 2007. This address is also on the Vatican website in full

“Religion is the enemy of exclusion and discrimination, of hatred and rivalry, of violence and conflict. Religion and peace go together…. We are all aware of past misunderstandings and conflicts, and these still weigh heavily upon relationships between Jews, Christians and Muslims. We must do all we can to turn awareness of past offenses and sins into a firm resolve to build a new future in which there will be nothing but respectful and fruitful cooperation between us.”

—Pope John-Paul II, quoted in the NY Times International, March 24, 2000, while on a visit to the Holy Land

“A lack of religion is not the answer to world peace. The Nazi death camps clearly proved that the denial of God corrupts man, robs man of his criteria (for judging right and wrong) and leads him to violence. On the other hand, many nonbelievers are pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace. These people are seeking the truth, they are seeking the true God, whose image is frequently concealed in the religions because of the ways in which they are often practiced. Their inability to find God is partly the responsibility of believers with a limited or even falsified image of God. They challenge the followers of religions not to consider God as their own property, as if he belonged to them, in such a way that they feel vindicated in using force against others.”

—Pope Benedict XVI at the 2011 Interfaith Gathering in Assisi

“I am convinced that faith in Christ is the best thing to have in the world. I would like for all to know and love Christ at least as much as I love him. Obviously, I would also like for you to know and love him. But faith is a gift from God, and he gives it to whomever he chooses.”

—Mother Teresa

“All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that ‘God is love.’ But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love….Christians believe that the living, dynamic activity of love has been going on in God forever and has created everything else.

And that, by the way, is perhaps the most important difference between Christianity and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not a static thing — not even a person — but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.”

—CS Lewis, in his book ‘Mere Christianity’ (in the chapter ‘Good Infection’, page 145 of the 1997 edition by Fount Paperbacks, London)

“What distinguishes Catholicism from other forms of Christianity? If at the Mass there’s no sacrifice, there’s no Mass, it seems to me. It’s not about remembering; it’s about doing it now. At every Mass God pushes aside time and space and makes present the Hill of Calvary. Every Mass makes present (not ‘repeats’) the sacrifice at Calvary.

—Fr Eamon Devlin, CM, October 2011

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