Father Richard McBrien’s recent column in The Catholic Messenger was quite interesting considering it was written by a clergyman.
In it he pointed out an obvious but often overlooked truth. Faith is belief, not scientific fact. From his essay, I discern that just because we believe in God and all the things outlined in the Apostles’ Creed, we can’t be absolutely sure. I guess that’s why we begin our prayer with “We believe …”
Other faiths may be as valid as or perhaps even more so than our own. We believe as we do but we just don’t know for certain; that’s why we call it faith. The Church teaches that faith is a gift from God; ergo it seems to me not something that should be second guessed when God doesn’t appear to bestow what we believe in upon others.
In that regard I find it disingenuous when Christians who should know better show disrespect for other people’s beliefs. Slamming all of Islam because of the actions of a few fanatical criminals seems to be in vogue these days. Historically the Catholic Church has had more than its share of over-zealous thugs who killed and tortured in the name of Jesus.
Being respectful of other folks’ beliefs does not diminish our own faith. I contend it actually strengthens it. After all, loving our neighbor as a manifestation of loving God is a central theme of Jesus’ Gospel message.