- 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 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions Paperback – July 18, 2005
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About the Author
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) is widely recognized as one of the most brilliant theologians and spiritual leaders of our age. As Pope he authored the best-selling Jesus of Nazareth; and prior to his pontificate, he wrote many influential books that continue to remain important for the contemporary Church, such as Introduction to Christianity and The Spirit of the Liturgy.
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Here, Pope Benedict XVI does not so much argue for the Truth of Christianity here, as he does argues for the capacity of the human mind. It is a call for a return to original spirit of Philosophy as inspired by Plato: that man can know Truth. Wielding his vast theological, philosophical, and historical erudition, he makes a compelling case that the primary problem facing this age is the notion that reason, and hence truth, is limited to what is quantifiable, i.e., to what science alone can tell us. From such an understanding has stemmed the worldview that what belongs in the realm of the objective is the empirical, the testable, the scientific; while what belongs in realm of the subjective is the sentimental, the emotional, and the aesthetic. As such, truth and reason are relegated to the realm of the empirical; it has no say in questions of value, beauty, and religion--truth cannot be predicated of such areas.
Using this as a hermeneutic key to unlock the problems facing belief today, Pope Benedict XVI spends the majority of the book working to implode this mindset from the inside and expand the scope of truth and reason to once again encapsulate all of human existence. Of particular interest is the way in which he shows:
a.) how the rise of eastern mysticism in the west and the the predominance of pluralistic theologians such as John Hick depends particularly on the assumption that reason has no say in questions of religion,
b.) how Newton, Francis Bacon, and natural science actually presupposes the Platonic notion of reason that he [Pope Benedict XVI] argues for,
c.) how Truth and Goodness are necessarily related to each other, AND
d.) how the Mosaic Distinction of Truth and falsity (think of the 1st commandment) in the realm of religion has a historical parallel in the Greek philosophy via Socratic dialectic (Plato's Euthyphro) and how both were synthesized in the Patristic era (Augustine's City of God).
This book is excellent. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
"Truth and Tolerance" is a collection of essays and speeches addressing this problem. In them, Cardinal Ratzinger explores a variety of approaches - anthropological, philosophical, and theological - but his essential point is that religion cannot prescind from the criterion of truth. Pontius Pilate may have asked it sarcastically, but the person of faith must sincerely pose the question "What is truth?" because truth is an irreplaceable good. The goodness of the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Atonement, for example, depends on their being true.
Cardinal Ratzinger argues persuasively that our postmodern awareness of cultural diversity does not prove the superiority of relativism. Instead, the mass media, the global economy, and other current realities can be seen as signs pointing to our common humanity and our need for universal truths. The truth is that, in the face of contemporary pluralism, the Christian faith offers meaning of universal value.