Truth and Tolerance by Joseph Ratzinge- a Review

1441 Words6 Pages
INTRODUCTION The book Truth and Tolerance by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger is one that captures and tackles the tensions that arise from rival claims to ‘the truth’ by different religions of the world. It is a response to the criticisms by modern society and non-Christian cultures against the (Catholic) Christian claim on the “Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church”. How can Christianity insist it is true in the face of other religions and philosophies making competing claims? Is Christianity not being religiously arrogant by imposing its teaching, and thus intolerant to other religions of the world? As such, central to this thesis is the theme of truth- truth in the Christian religion expressed in the faith and teaching of the Catholic Church which Ratzinger sets out to address together with the questions above. In response to these questions, Ratzinger examined the relationship between Christian Faith and other cultures and religion, and the question of truth vis-à-vis the religions of the world. For the sake of this work I shall concentrate only on the questions that arise from the first part of the book. On the challenge and approach to a theology of religions: In response to this question, Ratzinger first of all identifies two basic assumptions by Modern Christian scholars (which for him were derisory) that influences their approach to the challenge of other religions- the value for salvation and the irrelevance of the distinctiveness of other religions. According to him, these presumptions are determinant for the views of exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism- and places other religions as being ultimately of less value. Exclusivism holds that other religion is insufficient, anti-Christian, contrary to the truth and denies salvation to non-Christians. Hence, only those who explicitly accept Christ and the Christian message can be
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