Tuesday, July 01, 2008

COMMENT: D'Souza on Christianity as "the only way" ...

Dinesh D'Souza poses this question: Is Christianity the Only Way? It's a legitimate question to be asked by someone living in a country as religious as the United States, where (according to Pew Research) some 92% of people believe in God. It's also legitimate considering the the United States has a strong and officially secular political system where holding a particular religious affiliation isn't a condition of holding any (including the highest) public office in the land.

At the same time, religious pluralism is very strong. Many Americans don't regard their own faith as being the only source of absolute truth or as the only comprehensive road to paradise.

What got the most attention, however, was Pew's discovery that a majority of religious Americans believe that other religions make valid claims about God and can lead to heaven. Around 80 percent of Catholics, Protestants and Jews, as well as 55 percent of Muslims, reject the idea that their religion is the only way.

D'Souza makes a very important point about how the monotheistic faiths view each other, yet how little this view is even known to many Americans.

... many people don't realize that just as Christianity sees itself as succeeding and incorporating Judaism, so Islam sees itself as coming after and incorporating both Judaism and Christianity. Consequently I'm not surprised that most Muslims view Jews and Christians as fellow monotheists rather than hell-bound infidels.
I was a bit confused by D'Souza's claim that ...

... Christianity is the only religion to hold another religion to be wholly true. That religion is Judaism.

Does that mean that Christians accept that Judaism's insistence on belief in a unitarian God is "wholly true"? What about Judaism's rejection of the belief that Jesus was the Messiah?

Followers of all faiths and none are welcome to comment.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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1 comment:

erratus said...

Having not read the article (or the Pew research), I might be singularly unqualified to comment. But that has never stopped me in the past...

Perhaps what D'Souza meant (or should have meant) is that Christianity views Second Temple Period Judaism as wholly true. There are obviously fundamental differences between Rabbinical Judaism (that is, modern Judaism) and modern Christianity (be it modern Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodox or what have you), but both of these religions have evolved from Second Temple Period Judaism.