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World Religions Dr. Robert Imperato Saint Leo University Christianity / Non-Christian Religions Historical points of reference Two basic tendencies One way to God Old Testament: God’s chosen people (12 tribes) New Testament: New people of God (12 apostles)

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world religions

World Religions

Dr. Robert Imperato

Saint Leo University

christianity non christian religions
Christianity / Non-Christian Religions
  • Historical points of reference
  • Two basic tendencies
    • One way to God
      • Old Testament: God’s chosen people (12 tribes)
      • New Testament: New people of God (12 apostles)
        • Belief in Jesus and baptism as prerequisites (Jn.3)
historical tendencies
Historical Tendencies
  • God active outside of Christianity
  • Romans 2:15 Word of God written on the heart
  • Clement of Alexandria recognizing God’s truth in creation and in Greek philosophy
historical tendencies4
Historical Tendencies
  • Medieval recognition of the presence and action of God in Moslems
major positions
Major Positions
  • Christian exclusivism
    • New Testament asserts belief in Jesus as way to God
    • New Testament encourages missionary activity to spread Christian faith
    • Christian fundamentalism believes in Jesus as the only way to God
major positions6
Major Positions
  • Christian exclusivism
    • Karl Barth, 20th century theologian, asserts non-Christians are in a calamitous state
    • Corrupt human nature will not lead to God
major positions7
Major Positions
  • Inclusivism- Theology of Fulfillment
    • Jesus broke down divisions between Samaritan and Jew
      • How can his followers create new divisions between Christian and non-Christian?
  • Pope Gregory II in 1076 acknowledged that Moslems could be saved through obedience to conscience and Koran
  • 19th century Catholicism recognized people in invincible ignorance of the true faith could be saved
  • Rahner distinguished between implicit and explicit faith
    • Implicit faith means openness to truth and goodness and surrender to truth and goodness irrespective of the wordsabout God in the person
  • Explicit faith means labeling the end of human striving towards infinite truth and goodness as “God”
  • Salvation is primarily about surrender to truth and goodness
    • The word “God” may help but it is not always necessary
  • Second Vatican Council affirms truth and holiness in non-Christian religions
  • Vatican II reaffirms that the fullest understanding of relationship with God occurs within Christianity and Catholicism in particular
  • Pluralism explores religious experiences without attempting to discover the best religious tradition
    • Panikkar describes types of spiritualities that cut across religious boundaries
  • Panikkar’s analysis helps to highlight two non-exclusive specialties within Christianity
    • Personalism
    • Word of God
personalism and spirituality
Personalism and Spirituality
  • Personalism within Catholic thought connects with moral theology which describes actions that support the dignity of the human person
  • Personalism is also at the heart of Catholic spirituality
spirituality and the person
Spirituality and the Person
  • Thomas Merton
    • Most influential Catholic spiritual writer in 20th century
    • Articulates the connection between prayer and the person
spirituality and the person16
Spirituality and the Person
  • Psychological sense of self depends on persons in one’s life
  • Theological sense of self depends on awareness of God
spirituality and the person17
Spirituality and the Person
  • To allow one’s sense of being loved by God independent of one’s performance gives a source of affirmation that can influence one’s psychological self
  • Prayer in its various forms can strengthen awareness of God
  • Prayer involves speaking, listening, and just being with God
  • Repetitive prayer (Rosary, Jesus prayer) can both quiet the mind and deepen relationship with God
  • Spiritual reading involves a meditative reading of the Bible and other spiritual books in order to commune with God
  • Both meditative reading and repetitive prayer open a person to learn from God and to rest in the presence of God
    • This resting in the presence of God is what Catholics call contemplative prayer
word of god
Word of God
  • In addition to the personalist emphasis, Christianity is a religion of the Word of God
    • Unlike Buddhism, which does not think talk about God is useful
    • Christianity believes God has interpreted Himself in Jesus as Word of God and in words
      • This course deals with the topic of Revelation elsewhere