I’ve become convinced that its important for the Church to inoculate our young people with a healthy dose of catechesis before we ship them off to college, just enough so that when they first hear about Nietzsche or really study Darwin they won’t freak out and presume that what the Church taught them in 6th grade confirmation is the only wisdom the Church has to offer.
Knowing most folks won’t read long boring books, I’ve been working on writing a catechism, a distillation of the faith into concise questions and answers with brief supporting scriptures that could be the starting point for a conversation.
You can find the previous posts (questions 1-30) here.
I. The Father
31. Aren’t all religions just different paths to the same goal?
Or better: Who in the hell are we to say?
If Jesus Christ is the End (telos) of all things in creation, then only Jesus stands in a position to evaluate whether or not all religions wind their way to him.
So if the answer is ‘Yes’ to the above question, only Jesus can give it.
Or better yet: Who in the hell are we to say?
For to assert all religions are the same (and what exactly qualifies as a ‘religion?’) requires you first to know all those religions from the first person experience of a worshipper in those religions.
For example, only someone who is a fan of both baseball and football knows the difference between stealing third and ‘going for it’ on third.
Likewise only someone who speaks French, Russian and Japanese knows if the words for savior, love or armchair really convey the exact same meaning.
The first Christians, who were no strangers to religious diversity having just abandoned paganism at great cost, would certainly have no patience with the incurious and historically tone deaf nature of the question.
After all, they would point out from firsthand experience:
One can walk many of those other, supposedly equivalent ‘paths’ quite successfully ‘without every turning aside to bind up the wounds of the suffering stranger.’
‘For Christ is the End of the Law…’