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WORLD RELIGIONS: A Voyage of Discovery. Chapter 1 Studying the World’s Religions. Chapter 1 Beginning the Journey. Why Study World Religions?. to dispel fears and misunderstandings. to gain a better understanding of various human cultures.

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World religions a voyage of discovery

WORLD RELIGIONS: A Voyage of Discovery

Chapter 1 Studying the World’s Religions

Chapter 1 beginning the journey
Chapter 1 Beginning the Journey

Why Study World Religions?

to dispel fears and


to gain a better understanding of various human cultures

to gain a clearer understanding of one’s own faith

to learn from some great sources of wisdom

to gain insights into human beings by understanding their religious activities

to gain a better understanding of humankind’s various civilizations

to foster openness and acceptance of human differences

Chapter 1 beginning the journey1
Chapter 1 Beginning the Journey

Catholic Attitude Towards Other Religions

  • Catholics reject nothing which is true and holy in other religions (Nostra Aetate, 2)

  • Pope John XXIII’s vision was that the Catholic Church not set itself against the world, but engage in dialogue with the world

Chapter 1 beginning the journey2
Chapter 1 Beginning the Journey

Catholic Attitude Towards Other Religions(continued)

  • “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart … may achieve eternal salvation (CCC, 847)

  • The Catholic Church has primacy over other faith traditions because of its apostolic succession by which it can offer the “means of salvation”

Chapter 1 beginning the journey3
Chapter 1 Beginning the Journey

Related Documents from the Second Vatican Council

The Declaration on

Human Freedom

(Dignitatis Humanae)

The Decree

on Ecumenism

(Unitates Redintegratio)

The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions

(Nostra Aetate)

Chapter 1 beginning the journey4
Chapter 1 Beginning the Journey

Ecumenical Dialogue

1. All Catholics are to evangelize the world through dialogue with non-Catholics

2. God offers the gift of salvation to all the nations

3. The scriptures of other religions point to a future of communion with God

4. People from other religious traditions can be recipients of God’s grace

5. Dialogue can be through words, actions, or both.

A global village

  • In a diverse and pluralistic world, “knowing” our community means:

    • We must be aware of and attempt to understand our differences.

    • Diversity is both a blessing and a challenge.

      • What is especially challenging about diversity when it comes to religious experience/ expression?

The nature of a religious tradition
The Nature of a Religious Tradition

  • Religion begins with mystery…

    • Living prompts questions….

      • Where did we come from? Where are we going? Why are we here? Why is there some-thing rather than no-thing?

        • By responding to these questions, religion provides a way of living and dying meaningfully.

Religious questions
Religious Questions

  • We have a unique ability to question the source and meaning of our existence.

  • We are physical, rational, emotional, and spiritual beings who have a capacity for self-reflection.

    • We have a conscience and can ponder our own “nature”.


Regardless of how one chooses to respond, religious questions are an inevitable aspect of our living.

Some people ignore or delay the questions, others seek out religious traditions to find answers, while some drown themselves in some sort of escapism to avoid having to answer them.

Religion is a systematized approach to answer these questions, often drawing from traditions that go back thousands of years.

By its very nature, religion is a communal effort!

What is the human condition

  • What is our essential nature?

    • Are we good or bad?

    • Often religion contains stories about “human origins” to provide answers.

  • Why do we suffer?

    • An age old problem, the problem of theogony.