Posts Tagged ‘God’

Is Any Religion True? Part II

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/09/18 at 6:00 AM

In part I, we noted that God has given man certain innate tendencies for which He has provided the means to satisfy these needs. We have food and drink, but we should not eat whatever we put into our mouths; we must be selective. He has given us an appetite for religion, and we can assume that he had something definite in mind rather than the myriads forms of religion abounding today. What did He have in mind?

Recently I came across a phrase that I had not heard or read in many, many years. It is a phrase that used to be quite commonplace in the Catholic world. It is the reference to the Catholic Church as “the one true Church.”  The onslaught of relativism and political-correctness has declared it a matter of bigotry and base intolerance to dare to claim that anything in the non-physical world is truer, better, more moral, immoral, false or worse than something else.  This applies usually to religion, fine arts, morality and philosophy and is the reason we find so much that is utterly base, inane, or stupid being called art, music or literature. “Experts” in these fields dare not criticize what is patently inferior. A work of “art” that consisted of a crucifix in a container of urine was acclaimed and defended by all the “right” people. Such is the sorry state of the transcendent nowadays.

The question is: “Is it reasonable to claim that a particular religion or Church is the only true one and that all others are deficient and defective?” It depends on who is making the claim. Anyone who claims to give the ultimate, final and irrefutable religious truth must be a person of unimpeachable and credible authority because so much is at stake for that individual. Otherwise, we are dealing only with religious opinion and  an opinion is no better than the facts underlying it. Martin Luther was terrified during a storm, and promised that he would enter a monastery if he was saved from the storm. Mohammed’s way of life precludes him from being a credible witness for morality. Joseph Smith, at age 14, claimed to have been given the famous “golden tablets” containing the teachings of Mormon. These tablets have never been seen except by Smith. Buddha abandoned his wife and children to go find Nirvana. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, which shuns medical doctors, regularly consulted doctors when she needed them. These, and all other founders of religions, have one thing in common…they are human and only human.

There is one religious founder who does exemplify the ideal religious founder and actually established a Church . . . Jesus Christ. The four Gospels can be viewed as true history. (Some have spent years attempting to disqualify the Gospels as true history, but they all failed.)

There are three aspects of Christ that separate Him from every other religion founder.

The first is His moral character. At one point, he challenged his enemies to declare what sins he may have committed. They had nothing to say because there was no moral fault in Him. Contrast that with the founders previously mentioned.

The second is the fact that He performed thousands of miracles witnessed by thousands of people. No other founder even claims to be a miracle-worker. (Seeing the need for miracles in Mohammed’s life, his later followers, several centuries after his death, attempted to claim he had worked miracles to enhance his image, but they could not be substantiated. There was simply too large a gap in time and, therefore, no witnesses.)

The third is the fact the Jesus Christ is still alive. It is true that he died, but then He brought Himself back to life and continues to live as the eternal God-man. All other founders are long dead, and no one expects them to reappear.

While still on earth, Christ set up a Church (note the word ”Church” is singular). “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church.” If a divine person establishes a Church, it must the one true Church. It, therefore, behooves us to determine which one it is, for if we are in the wrong Church/religion, we are in spiritual danger of not attaining our God-given goal. Finding the right Church will give us intellectual and spiritual peace and contentment. So, we look to the Divine Founder to determine the True religion, the True Church.  Christ, being Divine, established His Church on earth through Peter.  That Church is the Catholic Church.

There are a few points to consider about the Catholic Church, this one true Church.

History:  Through troubled times and profitable times, the Church has endured. Although it has never had a Golden Age, it has always been beset by problems. Persecutions (today is no exception), schisms, heresies, incompetent and immoral members. Sometimes it was more influential than at others times (Middle Ages) but, even then, problems arose.

The human element:  The Catholic Church is both divine and human in that the Church on earth has humans as members and those members have not always acted according to Church teaching. There have been a few despicable popes, priests and bishops who were not faithful.

Let me emphasize this:  No merely human organization could have survived throughout history as the Catholic Church has were it not under the guidance and protection of its living Divine Founder. “I am with you all days, even to the end of the world, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Note the word “prevail.” It means that Satan will always be assaulting the Church, but he will never be able to destroy it.) No other organization of any kind has such a history. The Protestant Church has evolved into 30,000 different sects and denominations, all claiming to be the true Church. The Catholic Church has remained true to the teachings of Christ and the Apostles; if they were to appear on earth, they would easily recognize the doctrine and moral code of the Catholic Church as the same teaching they taught. Nowadays no religion founder would recognize the religion he founded; all have changed so much.

Why one true Church?

Humans like certainty. We don’t like to be unsure of important aspects of life. Finding the one true Church gives us that certainty. The fact that all contemporary religions (except Buddhism and Hinduism) were founded long after the Christ, who is both man and God, established the Church, and the fact that are all man-made tell us that they cannot possibly have come from God.

The teaching of the Catholic Church is based on the doctrine set forth by the divine Christ. The others are merely human opinion, theory or fantasy. Besides, no human can be remotely qualified to set up a divinely-approved religion.

The Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church was established by Christ, too. “Whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatsoever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” This statement made by Christ transfers to the Catholic Church the authority to speak in God’s name, an authority which gives Catholics the peace of mind to know that if they follow the Church, they are following and submitting themselves to the Divine Will. That is not a small matter.

Finally, the Church, following the teaching Christ and the Apostles has the means to assure salvation to those who sincerely seek it through the Sacramental system. The seven Sacraments of the Church keep the believer close to God as he treads the dangerous pathways of earthly life. Confession, for the believer, is concrete evidence of forgiven sin. The Holy Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper) for the believer is a concrete expression of Emmanuel, God with us.  Holy Orders guarantee of Apostolic succession and authenticity.

In contemporary life, this whole article is a daring sally into the politically-INcorrect. Bear in mind that the whole concept of political-correctness is based on a lie or an unrealistic view of life. The pied pipers of this attitude do not live in the real world. Years ago, when this nonsense began, the city council of Pawtucket, RI passed an ordinance that a manhole cover was to be renamed a “personhole” cover. They cancelled it when the ridicule became too much. We live in a world filled with wars, hatreds, uncertainties and irrational ideas. The Catholic Church, whether you believe it or not or like it or not, has stood the test of time (2000 years). God is with the Church, and I’d rather be a member in good standing of God’s Church than any human religion I can think of. Wouldn’t you?

Journey to God

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/07/23 at 8:11 PM

SIMPLY BONAVENTURE: Journey to Go,  as distilled by Delio, Ilia O.S.F.

We come from God, we exist as the image of God, and we are returning to God.

Bonaventure uses the metaphor of journey to indicate that the human desire for God is dynamic… It is a desire which impels one to search for God, and this desire, planted as a seed of grace, is already in the human person.

The human person  is not simply content with the totality of that which exists; rather, there is a longing for more, for something deeper, for God. The human person has an attraction for God.

…one cannot begin the journey to God unless one recognizes one’s poverty or radical dependence on God. Poverty is…an awareness of one’s utter dependency on God, a realization that all good things flow out of the goodness of God.

…the journey is not an intellectual exercise; it is not a “head trip” but a matter of the heart. The goal of the journey is happiness…..one cannot be happy unless the heart is centered on God.

…one of the greatest obstacles….is that the human heart is hardened by sin. The “hardened” self-centered heart must become a natural, loving heart, centered in God. Transformation of the heart, however, can only come about through a relationship with God…..prayer is the mother and source of the journey to God – because prayer is an openness and deepening of one’s life in God’s life.

…one cannot enter into oneself unless Christ be the mediator….the path to true knowledge is that Christ is the way, the truth and the life. Devotion to Christ is pivotal in the journey to God; how one relates to Christ will influence how one completes the journey. Devotion to Christ means a total turning to God, not simply with one’s mind but with one’s heart and soul as well….accepting Christ as person and developing a personal relationship with Christ ultimately opens us up to the mystery of God. (John 1:18)

Christ is the source of grace by which the soul is purified, illumined and perfected. As one enters more deeply into relationship with Christ, the divine image is reformed and restored in its likeness to God.

….the more God-like the soul becomes by grace, the more clearly it sees the truth of things….one’s inner life becomes more orderly and peaceful….when our feelings, thought and emotions are rightly ordered to God, then we start to line in a new, virtuous way that follows the example of Christ….the soul’s journey to God is thoroughly Christocentric since Christ is the beginning, middle an end of the journey….it cannot be made apart from the imitation of Christ.