The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Response to ‘no one true faith’

Letter to the Editor | Friday, April 28, 2006

In response to Mr. Ronderos’ article “There is no one true faith” (April 25):

I would like to begin by stating two complimentary principles which we both agree upon quite strongly: the beliefs that “truth is present in all religions” and that “human logic can never completely comprehend or understand the divine.” Any one individual has an extremely limited perspective; thus, in seeking truth, we must look beyond our own customary ways of thinking. The metaphor that George Weigel attributes to Pope John Paul II sums it up perfectly – truth is best found as if ascending upon a spiral staircase, walking around an issue from numerous perspectives and taking what is good from each.

Ronderos proceeds from here to conclude that each individual should develop his or her own unique “fusion of religious ideas.” I disagree for two main reasons, both of which follow directly from our shared beliefs stated above.

First of all, by taking such an individualistic stance, one ends up undercutting one’s commitment to real, ongoing dialogue. Ronderos suggests that each individual should take what he or she happens to like from each tradition: the problem is that, were each to do this, there would soon no longer be any traditions. Rather, there would merely be many individuals with different beliefs, and with no better standard for holding their particular set than simple personal preference. C.S. Lewis likens the continuity which a tradition provides to the ownership of a set of good maps, made by hundreds of sailors who have gone before you. The “personal,” “empirical” experience of taking a walk on the beach may be quite fulfilling, in the moment – but you will never get anywhere unless you put out to sea with a set of trustworthy maps. Thus a commitment to engaging deeply with the views of others means not merely conversation and exploration, but above all entering into a committed, shared life within an ongoing faith tradition.

Furthermore, we agree that the Divine is inexpressibly above the human: which implies that we can never attain to God by our own efforts; rather, God must come to us. Hence we must look to Revelation of some sort. And though Ronderos mentions “great sages,” there is one religious founder to whom that term glaringly does not apply. As both The Everlasting Man and Mere Christianity argue convincingly, Jesus simply cannot be considered a “wise man‚” equivalent to Confucius or the Buddha. The “Lord, liar, or lunatic‚” argument may be commonplace, but that does not make it unsound.

I wish Ronderos the very best in his search for truth; as you graduate from Notre Dame, please bear in mind that He who said “seek and you shall find” also said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Brian BoydsophomoreKeough HallApril 27