Saturday Topic: Truth and Christianity

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."
(John 14:5-6)

  • What does Jesus mean by this?
  • Does this sound arrogant or mean?
  • What is truth?

Logic

  • Law of Non-contradiction: A cannot be non-A
  • Law of Identity: A=A
  • Law of Excluded Middle: X = A or X = non-A

"All views are false" – statement falsifies itself, so it cannot be true
"All views are true" – statement must include the previous statement also, so this cannot be true either; the only remaining possibility is:
"Some views are truer than others" – therefore, there must be an unchanging view against which all views can be evaluated.
Thus, the Absolute (Truth) is discovered (not created) and seen to be inescapable.

The Uniqueness of Christianity
Peter Kreeft, Ph.D

… 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.

  • Catholicism is first, with Orthodoxy equal except for the one issue of papal authority.
  • Then comes Protestantism and any "separated brethren" who keep the Christian essentials as found in Scripture.
  • Third comes traditional Judaism, which worships the same God but not via Christ.
  • Fourth is Islam, greatest of the theistic heresies.
  • Fifth, Hinduism, a mystical pantheism;
  • Sixth, Buddhism, a pantheism without a theos;
  • Seventh, modern Judaism, Unitarianism, Confucianism, Modernism, and secular humanism, none of which have either mysticism or supernatural religion but only ethics;
  • Eighth, idolarity; and
  • Ninth, Satanism.

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
G. K. Chesterton

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
Pope John Paul II

“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.”

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21 thoughts on “Saturday Topic: Truth and Christianity”

  1. Thanks. What a great article. The depth of truth is astounding, and relatively untouched in mainstream Christianity. One of the greatest things about being Catholic now, is the realization that faith and reason are not adversaries.
    Thanks again for the link and the comment, come visit and converse anytime.
    Tim

  2. Thanks 🙂 Most of the articles are quoted from the three authors mentioned, and I agree, they’re brilliant. I hadn’t realised you’re Catholic, it’s great to see! I shall add you to my bookmark 🙂

  3. Yes, the family and I came into the Church this past Easter. I had studied the previous 3 years about the Church, before attending Mass. And once in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, I was an instant convert! The family took a little longer, but we are all in step now, following God’s call in His Church!

  4. I am really having a hard time trying to understand what part Mary the mother of Jesus and others, whose husband was Joseph, has in a discussion of the trinity.. The trinity trio of the god head, new testament clearly excludes her and always has. She Mary was not present at man and earth’s creation or present during the period of old testament now too and according to the Bible undeniably too! The catholic expounded definition of virgin Mary is clearly a false add on to the Bible, New testament.

    – 5 percent of Christians only read their Bible daily, 25 percent of church Christians at the most are really born again too, 70 percent of evangelical pastors are unchristian.. 50 percent of all once loudly professing Christians next give up or sell their faith too. reality, (had they stayed in God’s word they would have been great saints, but it was the devil who discouraged them away..) and it is not what you know that counts but how much of the Bible that you actually practice in love too now that counts. Sadly undeniably most pastors who firstly should above all others they do not pray even one hour a day or read their Bible one hour a day so no wonder they are embossed also in bulling, abuses, controversies, adultery, cheating, lying, stealing, divorce.

    – The other day I went to visit a local evangelical church, and when I got there the doors was close, even though the sign posted there had said services at 6.00 pm >it appears that they had switched to 7.00 pm services and no one had bothered to change the sign, either cause they did not care about any new visitors or ?? That was the same church where the senior pastor would not talk to me, say hello to me on the street as well..

    – >> We have seen over 5000 people trained in 80 days in evangelism – the real deal gospel and we want our nation to see a great harvest.
    http://charismania.wordpress.com/2008/06/19/the-smiths-todd-bentley-and-one-moment-in-time-christianity

    Now I have seen 3 separate great active evangelical pushes in 3 separate denominations firsthand, the Baptist and the Pentecostal, Alliance ones included.. but what had rightfully concerned me still was the serious leader’s, elders personal immorality and corruption within these churches, which any evangelical outreach still did not deal with! Preaching the Gospel is still not an acceptable alternative to living it. “So in one of the churches the evangelical Baptist outreach leader had sexually propositioned me even.. me a married man, and the pastor had counseled my wife to divorce me, and in the Pentecostal church the outreach pastor had counseled my wife to divorce me as well, in the process the church pastors were stealing money, abusing funds etc..” what were these churches now converting people to in reality? Unacceptable religious abuse. Churches should be sanctuaries .. not prisons. Faith should be the ultimate freedom .. not the ultimate trap..

    http://postedat.wordpress.com/

  5. Hi there.

    Mary is not a person of the Trinity, if that is what you mean. She does have a very special relationship with the three persons of the Trinity, however. She is:
    1. Daughter of the Father
    2. Mother of the Son
    3. Spouse of the Holy Spirit

    Have you read my latest post on The Blessed Virgin Mary? This, and the following off-site articles may be of help in understanding her role:
    1. Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant
    2. Is Mary’s Queenship Biblical?
    3. How Can You Say That Mary is the ‘New Eve’?

  6. >>Mary is not a person of the Trinity, if that is what you mean. She does have a very special relationship with the three persons of the Trinity, however. She is:
    1. Daughter of the Father ( and I am a son too)
    2. Mother of the Son
    3. Spouse of the Holy Spirit ( and of Joseph)

    >>Have you read my latest post on The Blessed Virgin Mary?

    rather have you even fully read the Bible is firstly more applicable Question.. not rather the man made commentaries..

    And yes I have often read the Catholic version that Mary now is part of the deity of God.. ridiculous.

    http://anyonecare.wordpress.com/

  7. Thenonconformer,

    If you’re going to disagree with Catholic teaching, please first find out exactly what the Church teaches. Anyone teaching that Mary is part of the Trinity is advocating heresy, since it was the Catholic Ecumenical Councils that defined the dogma of the Trinity!

    If you would like to find out what the Catholic Church really teaches, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As Bishop Fulton Sheen once wrote, “There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church, which is, of course, quite a different thing.”

    Two of the articles cited above also cite the Early Church Fathers, by the way. See also Mary’s Queenship for their testimony regarding Mary’s Queenship. These are not some inventions, but rather are part of the Apostolic faith: “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (II Thessalonians 2:15). I humbly ask that you prayerfully read the articles linked above so that at least you would know the Scriptural basis and the reasons behind the Marian doctrines. Remember, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

  8. Diverting back wrongfully the topic discussion and your personal insulting derogatory remarks is not the right approach from anyone too especially now since you know still nothing about me or my views.. and it does continue to reflect poorly on you still too…even your typical unChristlike derogatory and insulting remarks, bulling Reponses, self righteous, a superiority attitude. and what else?

    Totally undeniably especially on the net Virgin Mary is projected as a God and not rather truly as my sister in Christ.

    THE WAY YOU DO UNDENIABLY POINT FINGERS HERE TO ME YOURSELF AT YOUR SELF DEFINED OPPONENTS, IN A JUDGMENTAL MANNER, UNLOVING, UNKIND, UNJUSTIFIABLE MANNER IS CLEARLY THE MORE IMPORTANT ISSUE NOW TOO.

    This personal ACT of yours is also a poor example of any type of professing Christian for all to see on the net.

    (Mat 7:16 KJV) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    (Mat 7:17 KJV) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    (Mat 7:18 KJV) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    (1 Cor 8:1 KJV) Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

    (1 Cor 13:1 KJV) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

    (1 Cor 13:2 KJV) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

    (1 Cor 13:3 KJV) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

    (1 Cor 13:4 KJV) Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

    (1 Cor 13:8 KJV) Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

    (1 Cor 13:13 KJV) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

    (Col 3:14 KJV) And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

    (1 Tim 4:12 KJV) but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

    (2 Tim 2:22 KJV) Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

    (1 Pet 4:8 KJV) And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

    (1 Pet 5:14 KJV) Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

    (2 Pet 1:7 KJV) And to godliness ( add) brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

    (Rev 2:4 KJV) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

    (Rev 3:19 KJV) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

    (1 John 4:12 KJV) If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

    WOW! I too would rightfully see a sermon from even you than hypocritically only hear it preached again.. time you firstly had applied the Bible yourself for all to see.

    http://postedat.wordpress.com/

  9. Dear thenonconformer,

    I think there is a misunderstanding here; I made no derogatory remarks or judgements.

    Text-based communication cannot communicate the tone of voice or manner of speech, so please read it by assuming good will unless explicitly indicated otherwise. 🙂

    I was simply asking you to read the actual and official teachings of the Church – which would be an act of humility and therefore occasion of grace – to enable an objective and unbiased conclusion, because it simply isn’t true to say that the Catholic Church teaches that Mary is part of the Trinity. We conform to the Athanesian Creed, which states:

    And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

    We regard Mary as the Anglican William Wordsworth regarded her; that is, as “our tainted nature’s solitary boast”. She is a creature, and not of the Godhead, as I am sure you would agree.

  10. I seen a thread on this webmaster forum today talking about Local RSS and was wondering if anyone know of any good site that have local feeds that I can use for my wordpress blog plugin wp-o-matic?

    I appreciate your help. I tried the common sense way by searching google and can’t seem to find anything with any value to it and mainly I want the top rss I can find, but really one site so far.

    Also, I don’t see an rss feed for this forum. Do you have a rss? If so I would like to subscribe! Your forum seems pretty cool so added ya’ to my favorites.

    🙂

    Thanks

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