According to a recent study conducted by Probe Ministries, almost 70% of Christian adults believe that people can attain salvation through another faith other than Christianity. Additionally, only 20% of religious Americans believe that their religion is the only way to reach heaven. This is essentially saying that only one-fifth of religious Americans believe in their religion because every faith holds that they are the full truth and the only way. That is a very unsettling statistic.
Recently on The Cale Clarke Show, Cale spent some time mulling over the ideas of relativism, pluralism, and our belief that there is no salvation except through Christ.
This study by Probe Ministries exposed a trend that has been in development for centuries. From the sophists to the pantheistic religions of today, relativism has infiltrated the minds and industries of our world, slowly eating away at the truth, even what other religions hold to be the truth. Relativism says that there is no definite truth, only “your truth” or “my truth”. It says that everything depends on perspective, not on factual information. Without truth, we can have no justice. We can have no logic. We can have no productive conversations and we can have no progress.
This pluralistic view that allows for the co-validation of multiple religions is an outright contention that no religion is telling the truth. Many hold this opinion because they don’t want to seem like they’re imposing their religion on others. So, they throw up their hands and admit that maybe their beliefs aren’t the only ones. Who are we to tell someone else that their religion is wrong? But we as Catholics don’t believe in imposing our Faith on others either. “We don’t impose anything on anybody. We propose this as being the truth. That’s how we evangelize.” We inform others and let them decide for themselves. It’s perfectly decent to disagree with someone if it means informing them of the truth, especially if it regards their salvation.
“And so obviously if you think [pluralistically], you’re not going to be too deep into sharing your faith,” said Cale. “And so, what do Catholics really think about this? Do we really think that there’s only one way to God? Actually, we do. Actually, we do.” If we intend on maintaining our stance as practicing, devout Catholics, we should be honest with ourselves and others about what Catholicism teaches. It teaches that Christ is the only way to get to heaven. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6) That quote says it all in no uncertain terms. Nobody gets to heaven except through Christ.
If Jesus Christ is not the only way into heaven, then what was it all for? Why did He become man, sacrifice Himself, die for our sins, and rise from the dead? Why did God give us the sacraments, grace, and the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit? Cale recalls Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus. “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” (John 3:13-14) Jesus is the door through which we enter the Kingdom of God, and there are no other doors. They say it again in the Acts of the Apostles that there is no other name by which we shall attain salvation.
It should be noted that this belief in the sole path of salvation does not exclude the concepts of “Baptism of Blood” or “Baptism of Desire”. Baptism of blood is when somebody who has not been baptized suffers martyrdom for the sake of Christ or some Christian virtue. This is a special exception to the necessity of baptism of water as it is the passionate imitation of the ultimate love Christ showed in His crucifixion. Baptism of desire is invoked when somebody who, by no fault of their own, has not been granted knowledge or awareness of the teachings of Christ. As long as that person lives a life dedicated to the fulfillment of God’s will in a righteous manner, they can be granted baptism of desire. These forms are not exceptions to the rule. They are still adherent to the idea that Christ is the necessary and sole key to eternal salvation.
So, we Catholics have no ground to stand on when we say that there are other ways to get to heaven. Jesus, His prophets, and His apostles will tell us again and again that there is no triumph except through Him. Let us find ways to be more honest with ourselves about our Faith. Do not recoil at the first sign of disagreement or confrontation. When we are baptized into Catholicism, we are called to be fervent defenders and servants of Christ, for God will vomit the lukewarm from His mouth (Revelation 3:16).
Listen to the full talk below:
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