This Saturday’s topic for this week’s Young Professionals’ Fellowship was "Truth and Christianity"; that is, the nature of truth and Christianity or, to put it more accurately, of Christ himself. We had a great session again, especially because we were grace with the reassuring presence of the group’s unofficial spiritual director, a very enlightened and scholarly priest who has a doctorate in systematic theology.
Due to the lack of time (and in the absence of our friend Universal this week), for the handouts I simply quoted relevant passages from the writings of Peter Kreeft, G.K. Chesterton and John Paul II (from sources linked to in the title), introducing them with the words of Jesus and some logical principles in epistemology (from another source which I paraphrased). Here it is:
Truth and Christianity: from Logic and Three Excerpts
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."
"All views are false" – statement falsifies itself, so it cannot be true
The Uniqueness of Christianity
… any Christian who does apologetics must think about comparative religions because the most popular of all objections against the claims of Christianity today comes from this field. The objection is not that Christianity is not true but that it is not the truth; not that it is a false religion but that it is only a religion…. 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.
1. "All religions are the same, deep down."
That is simply factually untrue. No one ever makes this claim unless he is (1) abysmally ignorant of what the different religions of the world actually teach or (2) intellectually irresponsible in understanding these teachings in the vaguest and woolliest way or (3) morally irresponsible in being indifferent to them. The objector’s implicit assumption is that the distinctive teachings of the world’s religions are unimportant, that the essential business of religion is not truth but something else: transformation of consciousness or sharing and caring or culture and comfort or something of that sort—not conversion but conversation. Christianity teaches many things no other religion teaches, and some of them directly contradict those others. If Christianity isn’t true, why be a Christian?
By Catholic standards, the religions of the world can be ranked by how much truth they teach.
To collapse these nine levels is like thinking the earth is flat.
4. "…Many roads lead up the single mountain of religion to God at the top. It is provincial, narrow-minded, and blind to deny the validity of other roads than yours."
If we made the roads, it would indeed be arrogant to claim that any one road is the only valid one, for all human things are equal, at least in all being human, finite, and mixtures of good and bad. If we made the roads, it would be as stupid to absolutize one of them as to absolutize one art form, one political system, or one way of skinning a cat. But if God made the road, we must find out whether he made many or one. If he made only one, then the shoe is on the other foot: it is humility, not arrogance, to accept this one road from God, and it is arrogance, not humility, to insist that our manmade roads are as good as God’s God-made one.
Why I Am a Catholic
The difficulty of explaining "why I am a Catholic" is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true. I could fill all my space with separate sentences each beginning with the words, "It is the only thing that. . . ." As, for instance, (1) it is the only thing that really prevents a sin from being a secret. (2) It is the only thing in which the superior cannot be superior in the sense of supercilious. (3) It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age. (4) It is the only thing that talks as if it were the truth, as if it were a real messenger refusing to tamper with a real message. (5) It is the only type of Christianity that really contains every type of man, even the respectable man. (6) It is the only large attempt to change the world from the inside, working through wills and not laws; and so on.
Crossing the Threshold of Hope
“The Gospel, above all else, is the joy of creation. God, who in creating saw that His creation was good (cf. Gn 1:1-25), is the source of joy for all creatures, and above all for humankind. God the Creator seems to say of all creation: “It is good that you exist.” And His joy spreads especially through the “good news,” according to which good is greater than all that is evil in the world. Evil, in fact, is neither fundamental nor definitive. This point clearly distinguishes Christianity from all forms of existential pessimism.
Creation was given and entrusted to humankind as a duty, representing not a source of suffering but the foundation of a creative existence in the world. A person who believes in the essential goodness of all creation is capable of discovering all the secrets of creation, in order to perfect continually the work assigned to him by God. It must be clear for those who accept Revelation, and in particular the Gospel, that it is better to exist than not to exist. And because of this, in the realm of the Gospel, there is no space for any nirvana, apathy, or resignation. Instead, there is a great challenge to perfect creation-be it oneself, be it the world.”