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Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions Paperback – July 18, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

On April 19, 2005, CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER was elected POPE BENEDICT XVI and became the 264th successor to Peter as the "Vicar of Jesus Christ." He may well be the most accomplished theologian to be elected Pope in modern times. Beginning in 1981 he spent over 20 years as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a role often depicted as the "defender of the faith." Cardinal Ratzinger was also President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the Preparatory Commission that codified the new "Catechism of the Catholic Church," published in 1994.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; 1St Edition edition (July 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158617035X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586170356
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. C. Phelan on August 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an exceptional and exceptionally clear work that covers a complex and sensitive topic: The Truth of Christianity. Of course, as then Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it was his job to defend the Truth of the Church. One would understandably question whether or not he would be able to approach such a controversial topic as the history of religion with any sense of objectivity.

Then Cardinal Ratzinger not only treats a huge and extremely diverse collection of works (Ranging from Hindu writers to Muslim and Jewish scholars, to dissenting and Orthodox Christian theologians) with more charity and respect than readers of "the Catholic Church's Rottweiller" might expect, but he weaves them into a strong narrative as to what really separates the great religions of history - their dogma, their impact with other cultures, their approach to Reason as well as their fruits. What seems to be his arch-enemy, Relativism, is left limbless and defeated, and those who would defend this lie are left intact, but chastened.

In the end, one is left with the sense that the new Pope has put a tremendous amount of work and thought into these complex issues, and has a gift to be able to communicate them clearly and charitably. He disproves as utter nonsense any presumption the reader may have of a closed-minded doctrinaire theologian forcing his viewpoint.

Truth communicated with charity is devastating to the Culture of Lies. I love JPII and miss him dearly, but like many others often had trouble reading his work, and felt rewarded for making the effort. I found no such trouble following Pope Benedict in this work. I can't wait for his first encyclical.
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Format: Paperback
I bought "Truth and Tolerance Christian Belief and World Religions," because I thought that since it was written by Cardinal Ratzinger, who is Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome, that it would be an articulation of the Catholic Church's position in regards to the relevancy of other religions for helping people along the path of salvation. If that is what you are looking for, don't buy this book, because it does not focus on this type of doctrine and will not help you. Franicis Sullivan's book "Salvation Outside the Church," is probably still the best book on that subject, even though it is mor than ten years old and many papers have been presented by the Vatican since its publication. This book instead explores the role of what an individual's concept of truth should play in society.

By "truth," Ratzinger refers to the values that an individual holds as reference when making decisions. He states that "heaven begins on Earth." And he does not confine the people who are able to realize "truth" to Christians, nor even only believers in any sort of Divinity; agnostics and atheists are capable of this discernment to a degree too.

Being Christian, he believes that Christianity embodies truth in the fullest sense; that God is love and we are all called to know God as love and to spread His love. But he admits that no approach is perfect, since only God is capable of perfect knowledge of truth and love, and people are unable to understand God perfeclty. He concedes that Christianity has been susceptible to "diseases" in the past, such as the mentality that allowed to Crusaders to shed so much blood in Jerusalem.

The book is not an easy read.
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Format: Paperback
This book by Cardinal Ratzinger, the new pope Benedict XVI, is an exploration of the philosophy of religion. As such, it is an important guide to the philosophical underpinnings of the theological statements made by Ratzinger while he was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (one of the 'high offices' of the cardinals in the Vatican), and the kinds of philosophical guidelines he is likely to follow in the future.

He explores the construct of religion and religious truth from an historical perspective, drawing from three primary strands - ancient mysticism, the development of monotheism, and the Enlightenment. What we in the West live in today is a post-Enlightenment world, with monotheistic tendency in religion, with continuing strands of mysticism that often impact society in unpredictable and uncomfortable ways.

With regard to monotheism, he explores through different religious traditions the way in which this concept can be played out in culture. In terms of the Enlightenment, he explores philosophical antecedents in Plato and Aristotle carrying forward through the Phenomenologists of the early twentieth century. This is where Ratzinger's academic strength lies - in philosophy and theology.

Ratzinger also looks at the different ways in which Christian perspectives of the idea of philosophical and theological truth are seen in other religions, including perspectives can lead to the idea of the anonymous Christian (a Rahner-ian concept, often termed inclusive or pluralistic, depending upon the details), as well as an exclusivity standpoint - this is not where Ratzinger ultimately comes down in terms of philosophy.

This book is derived from lectures and sermons, it is clear.
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