Friday, January 01, 2010

Comparison of religions

When comparing world religions I will agree, they all are similar (otherwise they would not be called religions), but all religions are not the same.

If we take out "truth" from them all, we do get some comparisons. This tells me man was made for worship.

However, if we consider "truth" when comparing religions, the amount of truth in each one lies on a continuum from mostly true to barely true. If there were no truth at all in every religion, it's no more than futile motions.


drlobojo said...

I am reminded of the Italian philosopher whose name of course escapes me who said,"Truth is what we believe it to be in any given moment."

Quantifying "truth" might be a little tough in any given context, but in Religion, wow, pretty hard.

I think maybe a better indicator would be "Grace". Is Grace central to or even a part of the religion. Now that limits the numbers way down. How many religions contain "Grace"?

pecheur said...

Perception is reality indeed.

Truth is a bit hard to quantify, isn't it. Especially if two people have to agree what is true.

I could call it Lobojo's Grace litmus test. What a lovely experiment!!

Feodor said...

But how do you keep "grace" from being an inherently Christian yard stick that mis-measures non-Christian faiths?

We judge with prejudice, even when we are being broad-minded.

Perhaps we should listen to the adherents of other faiths talk about the "truth" or "grace" they find fulfilling in Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, etc. and missing in Christianity.

Watching someone else measure us could be a very Christ-like exercise in humility.

pecheur said...


I think we would find all religions in need of improvement if we all got together in a big room and graded each other according to Lobojo's Grace litmus test.

But then what would we do with the results? Would we continue business as normal only slightly more humiliated or would we be able to ask for forgiveness (I'm thinking of Donald Miller's blue like jazz) and commit to being more gracious?

Feodor said...

Make the needed improvements.

For a start, Christianity could well use a re-grounding in a theology of evil provided by certain strains of Buddhism.

We tend, in Christian cultures, to retain a classical/medieval notion of evil that prompts false anxieties, labels, and - at our worst - to blame and punish in an anger that bleeds out beyond the core issue.

This would be just one example for Christians.

Islam should clean up the confusions that give rise to their respective fundamentalist heresies as well. Buddhism could gain in a more active political ethics. Etc., etc.

Then we reconvene.

drlobojo said...

Well I wouldn't start with "Christian" grace. Indeed there are many variations with the Christian religions as to what "grace" means as there are sub-sets of believers.

I was thinking of something basic, such as: God's freely given unmerited complete love.

Using that definition would even eliminate much of Christianity.

pecheur said...

Yeah, you would be eliminating a ton of Christianity if we had a grace measure.

Feodor said...

"God's freely given unmerited complete love."

How is this not a christian notion of grace? Indeed, how is the very word, "grace," not inherently bearing Christian conceptions? As far as that goes, how is the word, "God," used by any one of us, not bearing loads of Christian conceptions?

It's extremely difficult for anyone to get outside one's theological framework. That is why a "comparison" of religions can occupy years and decades of study, practice, good will, and humility.

Before conclusions can be drawn.

drlobojo said...

F: "How is this not a christian notion of grace?"

It is certainly one of the Christian notions of "Grace" but there are many many others held in Christian dogmas.

And of course the thread of this idea is, can we find it in other religions in this form?

Then I might ask which came first?

As for the concept of "God" well I'm pretty sure that pre-dates Christianity by a long shot.

F: "It's extremely difficult for anyone to get outside one's theological framework. That is why a "comparison" of religions can occupy years and decades of study, practice, good will, and humility.
Before conclusions can be drawn."

I completely agree, well maybe not completely. Not sure about the humility and good will part.