Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Hierarchy of Religious Truth: Another answer to the question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God

As a former student of mine, Laurabeth Long, reminds me, Peter Kreeft, a Catholic philosopher, addresses the question "Aren't all religions the same, deep down?" this way:

Allah, of course, is God—the same God Jews and Christians know and worship. Islam is not only a Western, theistic religion rather than an Oriental, pantheistic religion, but it bases itself explicitly on the historical revelation of the God of the Jews, tracing itself to Ishmael, Isaac's brother, to whom God also promised special blessings, according to Genesis. (Fundamentals of the Faith, p. 85)

This follows on his discussion of the hierarchy of religious truth, which he describes this way:

By Catholic standards, the religions of the world can be ranked by how much truth they teach. Catholicism is first, with Orthodoxy equal except for the one issue of papal authority; then comes Protestantism and any "separated brethren" who keep the Christian essentials found in Scripture; third comes traditional Judaism, which worships the same God but not via Christ; fourth is Islam, greatest of the theistic heresies; fifth, Hinduism, a mystical pantheism; sixth, Buddhism, a pantheism without a theos; seventh, modern Judaism, Unitarianism, Confucianism, Modernism, and secular humanism, none of which have either mysticism or supernatural religion but only ethics; eighth, idolatry; and ninth, Satanism. To collapse these nine levels is like thinking the earth is flat. (Fundamentals of the Faith, p. 75)


Anonymous said...

Does this ranking mean that all subgroups worship different Gods?
How much difference can there be between denominations before their Gods are considered different?
Where do Anglicans fit in?

j a higginbotham

Art said...

Sounds to me like Wheaton College may have some explaining to do.

Martin Cothran said...

j a higginbotham,

The question is how far away can you get from a certain belief about something before it becomes something other than the thing about which you are having a disagreement.

I would draw the line between Islam and Hinduism. It is admittedly not clear-cut, but I think that demarcation is the most sensible since on perhaps the most essential feature of the Christian God--his monotheistic nature--Islam is on the side of Christianity and Hinduism is not.