Relativism: Is the Catholic Church's Position that Jesus is the Only Way, intolerant?
I have a blind friend. He didn't believe there was a car coming down the street. That was his Truth and he believed it. He was wrong. The car hit him and broke his leg.
The above happened to my blind friend. In my testimony (Hugh) about the New Age, I talk a bit about relativism. We would like to flesh that out a bit. Today, we no longer talk about “absolute Truth,” everything is relative. So the New Age talks about “Truths.” It is more about preference. What one person believes is as important as what someone else believes regardless of whether it is true or not. Modern society has abandoned “truth,” in favour of “preference.” This is one of the “gifts” that the “New Age” has given us. Society has determined that this is equality. We call it “tolerance.”
I thought I was practicing religious tolerance because I was drawing from many religions. We now believe it was religious indifference - except of course when it came to traditional Christianity - then I was intolerant!
I was told “what is true for me might not be true for you” and that everyone had their own reality and moral compass - relativism. No moral law was binding. I felt that every path up the spiritual mountain led to the “summit.” I did not realize that many paths lead into avalanches and insurmountable cliffs.
I thought that there was no such thing as evil. I thought that there was only ignorance, and that was what caused bad things in this world. The idea of an intelligent being that is an agent of evil was preposterous.it was just disturbed “entities.”
I suggest that there is one Truth and it is not reliant on society’s acceptance of it. Society thinks its open view on spirituality is progressive. However, the Old Testament is full of examples of God’s people believing they could do whatever they wanted spiritually. Many of them embraced very similar beliefs about deities that we find in the New Age. Eventually their own suffering brought them back to the Lord.
Relativism says “everybody’s truth is valid.” If everybody’s position and point of view is valid like relativism claims, then why not just leave everybody be and say “oh well, the Catholics believe the Magisterium has the authority, that’s their truth and everybody’s truth is valid, so it must be valid”? But that is not relativism’s approach. Its prescription for world peace is that the whole world should abandon their truths about exclusivity and accept its truth that says “any path that is exclusive is not valid.” Relativism trumpets the virtue of being tolerant, but is very intolerant of Christianity. It’s like the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. He says, “I hope some day you will join us and the world will be as one.” If everybody joins the same philosophy of course there will be unity. But what if everybody joins a lie, that does not make it true. It is like lemmings going over a cliff. And I submit that Relativism is a lie, which is obvious because not one person who subscribes to it actually believes it. They say “every belief system is valid” and then turn 180 degrees and depart from their relativist position to make an absolute statement “any system which is exclusive is not valid.”
This is completely opposite to what the Pope does. He meets and dialogues and looks for places to cooperate but never compromises Christ’s message or the message of truth. We have to ask ourselves “what is more important, truth or unity?” The Pope puts Truth above unity, with unity a close second. That is how i believe we will approach true tolerance, inclusiveness and unity in diversity. Relativism speaks of the dangers of reading the Bible as the sole authority. I agree that we should take Scripture in context. But Relativism throws out the Bible and the Magisterium as the authority. It says there is only one authority, God. And when I ask them how God speaks to them, they answer with something warm like. “I intuitively know his will because I am a prayerful person.” 500 years ago, this was Martin Luther’s answer, except, Martin Luther said “God and the Bible together are the only authority.” This new relativistic movement has taken it one step further and said “me with God are the only authority”
I would like to quote from the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 & 12 book (which most Relativists respect more than the Bible):
"Of course, it is reasonable and understandable that the question is often asked: "Why can't we take a specific and troubling dilemma straight to God, and in prayer secure from Him sure and definite answers?" This can be done, but it has hazards....any man, who tries to run his life by this kind of prayer, is a particularly disconcerting individual. To any questioning or criticism of his actions he instantly proffers his reliance upon prayer for guidance in all matters great or small. He may have forgotten the possibility that his own wishful thinking and the human tendency to rationalize have distorted his so-called guidance. With the best of intentions, he tends to force his own will into all sorts of situations and problems with the comfortable assurance that he is acting under God's specific direction. Under such an illusion, he can of course create great havoc without in the least intending it." (PG 103-104)
I understand that God often lets us intuitively understand his will, in fact he wants us to pursue it. That is how I came to build my web site. But I also suggest that many of our ideas that we think are from him are nothing but rationalizations. For instance, a guy says “I’m attracted to men, I guess God made me that way and so I guess it’s OK.” The cycle of sin begins and 20 years later Priests in the Netherlands are being dragged to jail for refusing to marry two men. We believe one of the greatest victories the devil has had in the last 25 years is to convince spiritual seekers that he doesn’t exist. Relativism is another legacy of the New Age. Relativism says “my truth is as valid as yours.” I don’t think our opinions have any bearing on whether something is true or not. You and I can guess on the number of stars in the universe but it will have no bearing on how many stars there actually are in the universe. There is a set number of stars and God knows what it is. Whatever “truth” you and I have about it doesn’t change it. I think relativism is quite dangerous.
The truth about God is absolute. We believe the Church has been given a glimpse of this truth, certainly not all of it. We believe Scripture supports this. The Church is the first to admit it is on a pilgrimage and it does not know all truth about God. The Church only claims whatever has been revealed to it is in fact true.
For instance, going back to our example of the stars, we now know for sure there is a planet called Mars. No amount of scientific research will prove that we were wrong about that fact. Even though we don’t know all the planets of the universe we do know that the planet we call Mars actually exists.
In Church history these discoveries are called Dogma. Once revealed, and defined, the Church considers Dogma to a permanent unmovable truth about the Nature of God. For instance, the “Trinity” is Dogma. It will never change.
The Da Vinci Code is trying to say something like “we have not discovered Mars and it is really just an illusion and a fabrication of the United States to subvert aid to the third world.”
The Church states that its doctrines are “infallible.” But it will never say that its members are not “indefectible.” We are “weeds and wheat” (Mat 13:30). And wherever there is Grace the evil one is always lurking around trying to screw things up. And most certainly many Catholics have fallen victim to his influence. But Jesus promised Peter. “You are the Rock and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The Da Vinci Code plays on the defects of some bad Catholics.
I hear people in the New Age say “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.” Paradoxically, that theory has become a “doctrine” of the New Age. Everybody who says that has bought into the “Doctrine” of the New Age. The New Age says it is all about an individual journey, but nevertheless I can easily point to a body of beliefs that belong to the New Age. The New Age is a religion! People in the New Age actually have a religion. It is called the New Age.
Glossary of the modern age
Here are a few words that, in my opinion have been warped out of shape by modern society. This is what they appear to mean to the New Age, and much of secular society.
Tolerance: Everything is acceptable --- except of course Christianity, the Bible, and traditional morality. They are intolerable.
Inclusiveness: Everyone is welcome to join in and have a say. Especially those who would like to tear down morality. Inclusiveness does not include Christians who actually believe and vocalize what Christ taught. They are "obnoxious" and should be excluded. Fathers who are supporting a family with an "at home mother" are also not welcome.
Diversity: Everything on the fringe is worthy of acceptance and the traditional values and Christianity that were at the centre are to be pushed to the outside so that "humanism" and paganism can move to the centre. Once the Christianity is moved to the fringe, the "diversity door" closes. The fringe groups remain at the centre while the displaced Christianity is to be ignored.
Hate: This word has displaced the word "discipline". A parent who disciplines their child is now "hateful". Exposing a group's blatant immortality is now called "hate". Telling the truth about a philosophy or lifestyle that is immoral is now called "hate". "Hate" does not apply to the abuse of pro-lifers or Christians. Condemnation of them is fine.
I can only say that I followed the path of my mystic teacher Swami Satchidananda of Integral Yoga. I was daily devoted to him for 4 years. I fasted 3-6 days, many times in total meditation and breathing practices. I arose each morning with Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, and meditation followed by chanting. I studied the fusion of the 5 elements with Master Mantak Chia who mastered his art through the monks of the Shaolin Temple (made famous by the 1970's TV series Kung Fu). I spent a year with him. At one point I was doing the "Microcosmic Orbit", "Chi Kung", "13 move temple style Tai Chi", and the "Fusion of the Five elements" meditations 6 hours a day. I studied "Nichiren Shoshu Japanese Buddhism" and had a "Gohozen" altar in my room where I meditated every day. One night, during a meditation, I was opening up Chakras, which are spiritual channels. I was wide open. I began to feel a thickness in the air. An eerie feeling came over me. I was not alone. It came closer. It surrounded me. Then I realized that I was being surrounded by many disturbed "entities." I could feel them all around me - dozens of them. I tried to shake them away but they came closer. There was a slimy feeling to it all, yet at the same time I had a sick attraction to it - I was giving in!
I believe this was the moment Satan was waiting for. The protection of God was waning because I had drifted away from it. These spirits were descending on me. I limply said "someone help me." Yet at the same time I was giving them permission even though I didn't want to give in. I could feel them starting to take control (Mat 12:45). It was like nothing I'd ever experienced before in my life.
Suddenly it occurredto ask Jesus Christ for help. A surge of courage sprung up from within me and I said "Jesus, help me!" In a moment I could feel Jesus coming. In my minds eye I saw Him with a big stick. He chased away the disturbed entities. (Mat 21:12) The "beings" fled and left me. I stood in shock and thought "what just happened?" I felt like the man of the tombs who was just delivered from evil spirits. (Mark 2:9)
I did not follow up this experience of Jesus. I did not join a Church. I did not join a Christian community of believers. I tried to go it alone in this spiritual journey. This was a big mistake. In time, the allure of the New Age came back. (Mat 21:12) I began to think I could mix Jesus with the New Age (like oil and water). A famous Guru that I had seen in New York was going to be in Montreal. I decided I wanted to completely devote myself to him. I went to Montreal to meet him. I was to be given a new name. I was going to abandon everything to become a Sanyasin and move to a little cult town in Virginia called "Yogaville." I took the bus to Montreal.
In Montreal, I lost my way and got off the bus. I looked up and saw a huge Church. It was Saint Joseph's Oratory (in the picture). I was struck by its beauty and majesty. I thought to myself, "I'll just go in here for a few minutes before I try to find my way and meet the Guru." I walked into the Church and saw elderly women whispering prayers with their heads bowed. I was very moved and said to myself ,"these women have faith! Maybe there is something here for me. Maybe the Church isn't a cold stone building full of hypocrites" - which was the New Age spiritual pride that I had before that moment.
I had a feeling I was in the right place. I went upstairs to the large Church on the upper level that holds 3000 people. The lights were off, and the Church was empty. There was a light on the Cross. I approached the Cross. I lay face down on the marble floor and said:
"Lord Jesus, I don't know you at all, but here I am, thinking of changing my name, of leaving my home, and joining a cult. Could you please come into my life? Take my heart, take my health, take my circumstances, take everything about me. I'm yours!"
A peace descended on me. I got up and lost all interest in the Guru and the cult. I was infused with the Holy Spirit. I had no need for the Guru, I had Jesus!
I stood up tall and walked out of there a new man - a Christian. This time I realized the importance of belonging to a Church, the importance of Christian fellowship and the importance of a community of Christian believers praying for each other. I learned that there is an absolute moral law. It is even more binding than the law of gravity. It is embodied in the person of Jesus and is written in his Holy Word - the Bible.
That was over 18 years ago. Since then, Jesus has been with me each and every day.