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Ecumenical Jihad: Ecumenism and the Culture War Paperback – March, 1996

3.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; First edition (March 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898705797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898705799
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By Yalensian VINE VOICE on December 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
The "jihad" in the title is somewhat jarring at first, especially today when Islamic fundamentalism and its physical form of holy war are at the fore of discussion and concern. And yet its deeper meaning to Kreeft's argument soon becomes clear. Jihad--an inner pursuit of truth and the outward performance of holy deeds--is pursued by people of all faiths, if not by that name. Surely some common ground must exist.
Kreeft does not advocate surrendering principles; most believers simply are not going to do so. Catholics are not going to abandon the real presence in the Eucharist; Protestants will continue to reject the infallibility of the Pope. Muslims won't abandon Mohammed. Jews are not likely to accept Christ as Messiah. But yet there remain good reasons for these faiths to unite--in an alliance, while retaining their beliefs--against the common enemy that destroys our culture, that consumes decency and morality and faith, that kills the unborn.
No, this is not a book for the weak of heart or mind (or most liberals). Kreeft pulls no punches, and isn't afraid to call a spade a spade, to say things that will no doubt garner him the "fundamentalist" or "fanatic" or "extremist" label. But this, at root, is a work of hope, of a cautious optimism, of facing adversity with a smile. With the smile of assurance only faith can offer.
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Prof. Peter Kreeft teaches in the philosophy department at Boston College, an officially Roman Catholic institution. A convert to Roman Catholicism, he has written a number of books, many of which are (as is this) published by Ignatius Press, an ostensibly orthodox Roman Catholic publishing house.
Prof. Kreeft starts this strange book with a couple of points. First, the world is in a state of moral decay. Second, traditional believers in various religions share a fair amount in common concerning moral principles. Therefore, they should put their theological differences aside and work for a better world. If Prof. Kreeft had stopped there, he could have written an interesting book on how this might be accomplished. Instead, the book consists mostly of rambling discussions about the various branches of Christianity, and the dialogue between Christianity and non-Christian religions.
By way of background, Vatican II liberalized the Roman Catholic view of non-Christians religions. Pope John Paul II has liberalized that view further, with an almost entirely positive evaluation of world religions. Mr. Kreeft extends this pluralism by implying that sincere believers in any religion (or none) are in fact Christians. For example, "even atheists and agnostics, if they are of good will . . . perhaps . . . can be called 'anonymous Christians', as Karl Rahner suggested . . . " [p. 31] "Is there . . a `hidden Christ' of Hinduism? When a pious Moslem practices his islam, his submission, might this be taking place through Christ . . . . I think this is very likely. [p. 156] In fact, Mr. Kreeft speculates that the "ultimate reality" of Taoists, Buddhist, and Hindus might be the god of Christians. [p.
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Some of the stuff Peter Kreeft writes is pretty decent if not excellent ( Summa of the Summa and A Refutation of Moral Relativism to name two) but this gets the prize for being the worst of anything I have ever read that he has written. Although I think he understands that things are awry in the world, his false ecumenism with non Catholic religions is hardly a Catholic way of looking at things, and yet Mr. Kreeft considers himself Catholic. If we are to look at Vatican II in the light of tradition ( a tradition that soundly condemned "ecumenism", especially this false lowest common denominator kind; Pius XI's Mortalium Animos anyone?) than no Catholic in good standing could support the ideas built up in this book that make it seem like all religions and none are equal in the eyes of God. Books like this are exactly why us traditional Catholics look askance at the murky language of Vatican II documents; because people like Peter Kreeft just run with them and come up with bizarre and heretical stuff like this. What ever happened to the clear and concise language used in the Council of Trent?

I don't care what Kreeft says or how many degrees he has, this is not an orthodox Catholic book, instead it is a book full of false ecumenism and apologies for Luther and Mohammed. I agree that we should be fighting moral decay in society regardless of what religion we are but the false ecumenism Peter Kreeft suggests is not Catholic. Why does Ignatius carry this book is my question. In short, Kreeft is not a bad man and not a bad author, but if you want a book with a Catholic view to fighting moral corruption than this is NOT the one. Don't steer away from this author just based on this one book, but stay far away from this one.
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Personal experience of the value of Roman Catholic views from a convert. Good points on the value of the Eucharist for Catholics
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Peter Kreeft's "Ecumenical Jihad" is at once highly intriguing and well argued. The book is based on the quite reasonable (even obvious) fact that Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, evangelical Protestantism and Islam share a strong and uncompromising rejection of the tenants of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. All these religions have been extremely strong in demanding traditional roles for women (no religious authority), no permission for extramaritial sex or homosexuality, and a strong tendency to demand fidelity of loving partners. In addition, these religions share a general rejection of such countercultural trends as illicit drug use, freedom in artistic expression, and "new age" spirituality.

Kreeft is most effective in the manner in which he shows some very obvious facts, such as how the media and arts which influence our children are extremely biased against traditional religions. He indeed does this in a manner that ought to be capable of impresing anybody with an interest in religion.

However, the whole problem with every thesis done by any Catholic apologist like Peter Kreeft is the way in which they assume that the laws of the Church over the centuries are in any way natural. A look at secular sources, especially those of Marx or anarchist theorists, will show clearly how the laws that have governed and continue to govern the Catholic and Orthodox churches served to protect the power of the ruling classes. This was seen in the way the Church defended ruling classes in countries like Russia and Spain throughout the twentieth century, and may have contributed to their demise through the West (except in Australia and Red America where religion remains strong).
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