The truth claims of other religions have, historically,

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The Christian Church has perceived as debatable the truth claims of other faiths in so far as they represent an hindrance to Christian credence of Jesus’ statement about himself: “I am the manner, the truth and the life. No 1 comes to the Father except through me.” Other similar statements in Christian Scripture, every bit good as the full life and death-to-life narrative of Jesus Christ, present him as the alone Son of God and Savior of the universe, a fact which has been hard for Christians to accommodate with the strong beliefs of individuals belonging to other communities of religion. The singularity of Jesus Christ is a serious issue for Christians because it represents a particular claim to truth and life-governing authorization, non simply an interesting philosophical thought or cultural difference ( Hellwig 1977: 419 ) . At times, the Christian church has responded both intolerantly and violently to the viing truth claims of other universe faiths, taking to prioritise Christ’s bid to “make adherents of all the nations” over and above his instructions to “love one another, even as I have loved you” . This essay will research the relationship between the Christian church and other universe faiths in visible radiation of sensed mutual exclusiveness such as is apparent in Jesus statement from the Gospel of John: “I am the truth.” Furthermore, it will try to demo in brief how the Roman Catholic place has evolved during the past century, and particularly how the attempts of the Second Vatican Council have led to new signifiers of duologue between the Christian church and other faiths and have promoted an attitude of regard for the assortment of truths presented by all of the world’s faiths.

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Early on in the Christian Church’s history, its leaders were concerned to clear up how Jesus Christ was alone from all other spiritual instructors of his twenty-four hours and those of their ain. During the Patristic period, Church leaders focused chiefly on rebuting unorthodoxies among professed Christians and set uping both the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. Neither Jesus nor his adherents claimed that he was “God” ( they merely came close by mentioning to him as the Son of God or in other tantamount footings ) ( Richards 2002: 39 ) . However, the developing church accepted him as equal to God, their beginning of absolute truth and authorization, and accepted Peter as the divinely appointed laminitis of the Church, forming their leading in a hierarchy to reflect this belief. As the Church continued to turn, it’s leaders set and defined the parametric quantities of Christian orthodoxy in an attempt to separate true Christians from untrue, or non-Christian, ‘others’ ( Isherwood 2002: 10 ) .

The Scholastic period ( 1200-1900 ) saw great alterations to the Church’s construction of administration every bit good as it’s apprehension of authorization, which in bend affected its relationship with other faiths. Whereas in the 11Thursdaycentury Pope Gregory VII called himself the ‘Vicar ofPeter’ , two centuries later Pope Innocent III called himself the ‘Vicar ofJesus’ ( Richards 2002: 53 ) . The dramatic addition of sensed Papal authorization had important effects for the Christian Church including several subsequent split as some Christians broke off from Catholic tradition to organize their ain worshipping communities. It besides allowed more than a few greedy persons to hold on for power for themselves under the protections of Christian mission including campaigns to do converts by any agencies necessary in the name of Christ. Adhering to an absolutist place on the affairs of spiritual truth, authorization, and mission, Catholics maintained a steadfast belief that there is no redemption outside of the Christian Church, and because the Pope, descended from Peter, is Christ’s representative on Earth, the Roman Catholic Church is the lone true Church, the lone means to salvation. Therefore, the Catholic theological method and so, all of Catholic life, was based on an moral principle of absolute trueness to the Church’s tradition and to the Pope ( Burke 1976: 158 ) . The tantamount place held by Protestants at the same clip was that there is no redemption outside of Christ himself ( Hicks and Knitter 1987: 17 ) . The thought that Christianity was meant to distribute throughout the full universe and finally replace other, non-Christian, spiritual traditions guided the missional attempts ( which were sometimes rather competitory ) of both Protestants and Catholics likewise good into the 20Thursdaycentury ( Hicks and Knitter 1987: 17 ) .

The First Vatican Council ( 1869-1870 ) was called exactly to “free the Church from the prison of the scholastic image” ( Richards 2002: 54 ) . However, it shortly became evident that farther work was necessary as Vatican I had left a “distorted image” ( Richards 2002: 54 ) of the Church. A possible account for this demand to foster clear up the Church’s place is an “explosion of knowledge” ( Hicks and Knitter 1987: 17 ) among western Christians refering the world’s faiths, possibly aided by the Church’s accent on foreign missions or by an increasing globalisation of the world’s economic systems and market places. The collaborative attempts of states during the First and Second World Wars, and the unveiling of new engineerings and other sorts of information, necessarily opened western eyes to civilizations and societies really different than their ain every bit good as forced members of all faith communities to seek for new ways to advance peaceable relationship between human individuals. Undoubtedly the rapid province of alteration in the western universe at the bend of the 20Thursdaycentury had left Christians with new inquiries refering the meaningfulness of faith in their society ( See Burke 1976: 155 ) .

The Second Vatican Council’s ( 1962-1965 ) immediate undertaking was to regenerate the life of the Church by updating it’s instruction, administration, and organisation ( Cross and Livingstone 2005: 1694 ) . In so making, the Church hoped to supply replies to inquiries refering the significance of faith and spiritual truth in modern-day society and do stairss towards uniting all Christians ( Cross and Livingstone 2005: 1694 ) . This expressed a major alteration in the Catholic place, since prior to Vatican II Catholics were purely forbidden to prosecute in any signifier of ecumenism. Even activities such as go toing a funeral in a non-Catholic church or praying with non-Catholics were prohibited ( Richards 2002: 63 ) . During its 4th session, the Council promulgated the papersNostra Aetate( Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions ) , which expresses clearly a desire for Christians to “esteem” and prosecute peacefully with individuals from other faiths even as they proclaim the truth of the Gospel and expose the Spirit of Christ (Nostra Aetate1965 ) . The papers entreaties to “the community of all peoples” who portion a common beginning and terminal in God and farther focal points on cardinal points of common mention between Christianity and assorted other faiths ( Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism are mentioned explicitly ) (Nostra Aetate1965 ) . From a unquestionably post-World War and post-Declaration on Human Rights position, the papers exhorts all individuals to reject all signifiers of persecution and favoritism and alternatively to prosecute duologue and to join forces for peaceable agencies (Nostra Aetate1965 ) .

Nostra Aetate, along with other Vatican II paperss that expressed major alterations to Catholic self-understanding and instruction, is best viewed as descriptive of alterations that were already underway in the Catholic Church, and non as someway inaugural to those alterations. In assorted ways, professing Catholic temporalty, theologists, and clergy had already disavowed an absolutist place and were seeking new ways of understanding constructs such as spiritual truth, authorization, and mission, and were traveling frontward to prosecute duologue and ecumenism with individuals from other faiths every bit good as those with no spiritual association at all. Philosophers such as Derrida had undone “the arrested development on Truth with a capital ‘T’” ( O’Leary 98 ) , and politicians and economic experts were debating about how to continue in ‘pluralist’ and ‘multicultural’ societies. Repeating the typical sound of these progresss, Vatican II paperss set aside much of the linguistic communication of traditional Catholic tyranny and followed a revisionist docket ( Burke 1976: 158 ) , nevertheless conservative some argue that docket was.

In decision it may be helpful to place a major alteration that may be attributed straight to Vatican II, that is, the degree of ecumenism in which the Catholic Church now participates. This indicates a important alteration of position as the Church is apparently more concerned with the present state of affairs of the human community than with its concluding terminal ( SeeNostra Aetate1965, See besidesAuthority in the Church1976 for an illustration of Catholic- Anglican duologue towards integrity ) . Attempts to re-understand the original purpose of Jesus ain truth claim and the Gospel message in visible radiation of this concern for earthly life have been made as good ( See Lindars 1991 and Catholic feminist/ release divinity ) . Although duologue does non work out the job posited by viing truth claims wholly, which frequently focus on eschatological issues, it does nevertheless supply a meaningful manner of interacting with others and larning from them in order to animate a deeper apprehension of redemption in one’s ain life at the present minute. It is in this new oecumenic spirit that the Catholic Church enterprises to proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ soon with love and regard for others.

Authority in the Church1976, An agreed statement by the Anglican-Roman CatholicInternational Commission on the inquiry of authorization, its nature, exercising, and deductions, S.P.C.K. Catholic Truth Society, Venice.

Burke, R. 1976, ‘Story Theology’ ,Doctrine of Religion and Theology AnnualMeeting Documents, No 19, ‘76, pp.149-168.

Cross, F. and Livingstone, E. ( explosive detection systems. ) 2005, Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church,3rdedition, revised, Oxford University, Oxford.

Hellwig, M. 1977, ‘Bases and Boundaries for Interfaith Dialogue: A ChristianViewpoint’ ,Journal of Ecumenical Surveies, Vol 14, No 1, Winter ‘77, Temple University, Philadelphia, pp. 419-432.

Yokels, J. and Knitter, P. ( explosive detection systems. ) 1987,The Myth of Christian Uniqueness: Toward aPluralistic Theology of Religions, Orbis, Maryknoll.

Isherwood, L. 2002,Introducing Feminist Christologies, The Pilgrim Press, Cleaveland.

Lindars, B. , SSF 1991, ‘Theology and Gospel: St. John’s Gospel and Religious Truth’in Linzey, A. and Wexler, P. ( explosive detection systems. )Fundamentalism and Tolerance, Canterbury Papers Series, Bellew, London.

Nostra Aetate1965, The Second Vatican Council Declaration on the Relationship ofthe Church to Non-Christian Religions proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, 4 January 2006, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/ vat-ii_decl… & gt ; .

O’Leary, J. 1996,Religious Pluralism and Christian Truth, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

Richards, C. 2002, Introducing Catholic Theology, Kevin Mayhew, Stowmarket.

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