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Monday, January 17, 2011

Aren't there many paths up the Mountain? Why should any one path (i.e. Christianity/Catholicism) be the best?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

Aren't there many paths up the Mountain?  Why should any one path (i.e. Christianity/Catholicism) be the best?

"The world is a big place, the objector reasons; 'different strokes for different folks'. How insufferably narrow-minded to claim that Christianity is the one true religion! God just has to be more open-minded than that.

This is the single most common objection to the Faith today, for 'today' worships not God but equality. It fears being right where others are wrong more than it fears being wrong. It worships democracy and resents the fact that God is an absolute monarch." (source: Peter Kreeft)

The errors in this metaphor of religion being a "path on the mountain" are that it presumes that: 1) the paths go UP.
2) that man makes the path.
3) that religion is man's search for God.

However, Christianity proposes these Truths about the "path on the mountain":
1) there is just ONE PATH in which God came DOWN to show us the way, the truth and the life.
2) all other religions are man-made attempts to find God; Christianity is God reaching down from heaven and lifting us up.
3) Christianity is GOD'S SEARCH FOR MAN!  He is always in passionate pursuit of us!

As Kreeft states:  There is no human way up the mountain, only a divine way down!

The belief that "it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you're a good person" is also known as "indifferentism" and is actually a heresy! (Heresy is the obstinate doubt or denial, after baptism, of a defined Catholic doctrine). It is addressed in an encyclical, Mirari Vos ,by Pope Gregory XVI:

Indifferentism--This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained.

Yet, one must understand this teaching with some nuance.  The Catholic Church also considers it a heresy to claim that Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc are condemned to hell.

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life." (Catechism of the Catholic Church).

For more in-depth study visit these websites:

Catholic Bible online

Catechism of the Catholic Church online

Article on "Indifferentism" from "This Rock" magazine

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15

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