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World Religions

World Religions

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World Religions

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  1. World Religions Dr. Robert Imperato Saint Leo University

  2. Christianity / Non-Christian Religions • Historical points of reference • Two basic tendencies • One way to God • Old Testament: God’s chosen people (12 tribes) • New Testament: New people of God (12 apostles) • Belief in Jesus and baptism as prerequisites (Jn.3)

  3. Historical Tendencies • God active outside of Christianity • Romans 2:15 Word of God written on the heart • Clement of Alexandria recognizing God’s truth in creation and in Greek philosophy

  4. Historical Tendencies • Medieval recognition of the presence and action of God in Moslems

  5. Major Positions • Christian exclusivism • New Testament asserts belief in Jesus as way to God • New Testament encourages missionary activity to spread Christian faith • Christian fundamentalism believes in Jesus as the only way to God

  6. Major Positions • Christian exclusivism • Karl Barth, 20th century theologian, asserts non-Christians are in a calamitous state • Corrupt human nature will not lead to God

  7. Major Positions • Inclusivism- Theology of Fulfillment • Jesus broke down divisions between Samaritan and Jew • How can his followers create new divisions between Christian and non-Christian?

  8. Inclusivism • Pope Gregory II in 1076 acknowledged that Moslems could be saved through obedience to conscience and Koran • 19th century Catholicism recognized people in invincible ignorance of the true faith could be saved

  9. Inclusivism • Rahner distinguished between implicit and explicit faith • Implicit faith means openness to truth and goodness and surrender to truth and goodness irrespective of the wordsabout God in the person

  10. Inclusivism • Explicit faith means labeling the end of human striving towards infinite truth and goodness as “God” • Salvation is primarily about surrender to truth and goodness • The word “God” may help but it is not always necessary

  11. Inclusivism • Second Vatican Council affirms truth and holiness in non-Christian religions • Vatican II reaffirms that the fullest understanding of relationship with God occurs within Christianity and Catholicism in particular

  12. Pluralism • Pluralism explores religious experiences without attempting to discover the best religious tradition • Panikkar describes types of spiritualities that cut across religious boundaries

  13. Pluralism • Panikkar’s analysis helps to highlight two non-exclusive specialties within Christianity • Personalism • Word of God

  14. Personalism and Spirituality • Personalism within Catholic thought connects with moral theology which describes actions that support the dignity of the human person • Personalism is also at the heart of Catholic spirituality

  15. Spirituality and the Person • Thomas Merton • Most influential Catholic spiritual writer in 20th century • Articulates the connection between prayer and the person

  16. Spirituality and the Person • Psychological sense of self depends on persons in one’s life • Theological sense of self depends on awareness of God

  17. Spirituality and the Person • To allow one’s sense of being loved by God independent of one’s performance gives a source of affirmation that can influence one’s psychological self • Prayer in its various forms can strengthen awareness of God

  18. Prayer • Prayer involves speaking, listening, and just being with God • Repetitive prayer (Rosary, Jesus prayer) can both quiet the mind and deepen relationship with God

  19. Prayer • Spiritual reading involves a meditative reading of the Bible and other spiritual books in order to commune with God

  20. Prayer • Both meditative reading and repetitive prayer open a person to learn from God and to rest in the presence of God • This resting in the presence of God is what Catholics call contemplative prayer

  21. Word of God • In addition to the personalist emphasis, Christianity is a religion of the Word of God • Unlike Buddhism, which does not think talk about God is useful • Christianity believes God has interpreted Himself in Jesus as Word of God and in words • This course deals with the topic of Revelation elsewhere