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Thursday, January 10, 2019

To Coexist or Not to Coexist? That Is the Question

An article appeared in The Washington Post by Mike Groggin on December 7, 2018, titled:  Clark Lobenstine had a pioneering concept of interfaith.  Can it survive?
I would never have read this article because; first of all, I don’t read the Washington Post.  Furthermore, I loathe interfaith anything that doesn’t entail dragging earthquake victims from the rubble, and then, I am willing to make an exception.  The rest of the time “interfaith” is a word, in my opinion, that has the odor of a skunk.  It is so repellent you just know something HAS TO BE wrong with it before you ever lay eyes on it.
 Because this article was actually sent to me by an old acquaintance I read it, in spite of myself.  The person who sent it had worked for many years with Clark Lobenstine, a Presbyterian minister.  As he said in his accompanying email,

“As some of you know for many, many years I've helped stage the annual Washington DC Interfaith Council Concert, which happened this year the week after Thanksgiving.  In the past we've moved the concert from the Washington National Cathedral, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church and Cathedral, and the Washington Hebrew Congregation — where we presented the concert this November.  
Working each fall on the concert provides me a window into many areas of DC life and community both unique (to me) and meaningful, and has enabled me to meet some wonderful people in many diverse faith communities throughout the area.  This was certainly true this year with participation from the Baha'i, Buddhist, Muslim, LDS and Zoroastrian Communities — an over 6000 year panorama of traditions.”
I’m thinking to myself:  WHY???  Why was such a thing ever staged at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception?  Well, it was JUST a concert, you say.  Well, it wasn’t a “religious event” per se, you suggest.  This is true enough.   Mike Groggin had this to say about Lobenstine’s mission,
“When he arrived in 1979 as the first director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington---the umbrella group for the D.C. region---the typical Christian attitude was to put minority faiths into a Christian framework.  Lobenstine was a pioneer in saying to respect and accept, not simply ‘tolerate’ other faiths.
This meant also rejecting a common interfaith credo (then and now), that boils down to:  All faiths are really the same at their root.  Lobenstine pressed for the need for real pluralism.
Which is why his death this fall was so striking to those of us who work in the fields of interfaith, multifaith, pluralism.  In some ways the concept of pluralism he helped shape has become mainstream, even in the dominant American faith of Christianity.”  (My emphasis added.)
Religious Pluralism in a 
Global Age
Well gee, who wouldn’t want to be part of that big happy family.  Catholics, that’s who.  We stick to the fact that the Church Christ founded is NOT like any other religion.  This is made clear as a bell by G.K. Chesterton in his book, “The Everlasting Man.”  There is no comparing Christianity to any other faith because it is a standalone belief rooted in history and supported by truth.
So for us to throw in with people who endorse pluralism is to say we aren’t all that convinced our religion is any different from anyone else’s and furthermore, yours is just as good as mine as a pathway to God. 
The definition of pluralism is:

Answer: Religious pluralism generally refers to the belief in two or more religious worldviews as being equally valid or acceptable. More than mere tolerance, religious pluralism accepts multiple paths to God or gods as a possibility and is usually contrasted with “exclusivism,” the idea that there is only one true religion or way to know God.

Wikipedia defines it this way:

Religious pluralism is an attitude or policy regarding the diversity of religious belief systems co-existing in society. It can indicate one or more of the following: As the name of the worldview according to which one's own religion is not held to be the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus the acknowledgement that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions. As acceptance of the concept that two or more religions with mutually exclusive truth claims are equally valid,
This would mean as a Catholic I’d have to confess that the doctrine the Church teaches is only one of many various paths to heaven. 
So if you are wondering what these bumper stickers are all about.  Now you know.  It isn’t about tolerance.  It is propaganda to have you respect and accept other religions.  And not JUST the people who practice them, but the religions they profess. 
While it may appear to be innocent, I strongly believe Catholics shouldn’t get anywhere near organizations or events that hold these beliefs to be true. If there were many ways we would have been told of them. Catholics who participate in these pluralistic interfaith activities need to be reminded,
John 14:5-6
“Thomas said, to him, ‘Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?  Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’ 
 “Pluralism/multifaith/interfaith” is not giving you the chance to practice your faith while others practice their own.  It isn’t giving you anything.  It is taking away your well rooted convictions.   It is a lie we should easily recognize.  Stay away from it and be prepared to do battle with anyone who tells you it is now “mainstream” and the way of the future.  


Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Every time I see that COEXIST bumper sticker I think of the wiccans casting spells against Trump.

Susan Matthiesen said...

Every time I see the lying agenda COEXIST symbols I see Islam is first and Christianity is last. But then Christ said the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

How about we create another bumper sticker putting the Cross first and the Islamic symbol last where the crescent moon would be underneath the Blessed Mother's feet. Maybe TOXIC conveying the message that Islam is toxic.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I love that, Susan. Let's design one!

Sandpiper said...

Go to “Aka Catholic”. Louie Verrechio sells a bumper sticker employing all the symbols that spell “Convert” and in smaller letters “to Catholicism—the one, true faith”.

rohrbachs said...

I saw a prolife t-shirt with mother and in utero baby, saying "Coexist!"

Chriss Rainey said...

I wrote this article before I knew about the logo crated by Vatican for pope's upcoming trip to Morocco which features a "combination" of the crescent and the cross. Made me want to puke when I saw it.