Monday, July 16, 2007

Bravo For An Honest Pope

I love a blunt pope, so when Pope Benedict announced that Catholicism was the one true faith, that other Christianities are lacking, and that nonChristians are “gravely deficient” in the category of salvation, I applaud him.

I am tired of interfaith disingenuousness. Only one who is deliberately blind to the actual teachings of any religion thinks that every religion says the same thing, or that they all teach a universal salvation.

Jews, for example, love to quote the Talmud, “One who saves a single life saves an entire world” to show Judaism’s moral superiority. The actual text, however, says this, “One who saves a single life among Israel is as one who has saved an entire world.” The rabbis concern was the saving of Jewish life in particular not human life in general.

What all religions have in common is this: each (with the exception of certain schools of Hinduism) promotes itself and its ruling elites as the one true faith.

Again, to stick with my own faith, Judaism admits to only one revelation from God: the Torah, and the Jews got it. True the so–called Old Testament is part of the Christian Bible as well, but the rabbis taught that God’s revelation includes not only the Written Bible found in the Oral Law (Mishna/Talmud) as well, and this is uniquely the possession of the Jews. Salvation, as even such a Jew as Paul of Tarsus admits, is from the Jews. True, good people of any stripe go to heaven in the Jewish worldview, but the prime real estate is limited to the Chosen Few.

My point is simple: the Pope didn’t say anything that other religions don’t also say. The only difference is that he said it in public. Bravo!

Now that the truth is out about Catholicism I invite the leaders of other faiths to come clean as well. Then people can choose which is the true faith among the contenders. Or, and this would be my hope, they would begin to see that all religion is invention and, while graciously allowing the Pope his private delusion, move beyond religion altogether. Then, who knows, maybe some of us will stumble upon God.

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