Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Most Common Religion: Indifferentism

Basically, it's a new report on how lots of folks are convinced that there are bunches and bunches of ways to heaven, not just their religion of choice. A couple of noteworthy paragraphs courtesy of FoxNews:

By many measures, Americans are strongly religious: 92 percent believe in God, 74 percent believe in life after death and 63 percent say their respective scriptures are the word of God.

So lots of folks believe in God, so we got that going for us. However:

Nearly across the board, the majority of religious Americans believe many religions can lead to eternal life: mainline Protestants (83 percent), members of historic black Protestant churches (59 percent), Roman Catholics (79 percent), Jews (82 percent) and Muslims (56 percent).
By similar margins, people in those faith groups believe in multiple interpretations of their own traditions' teachings. Yet 44 percent of the religiously affiliated also said their religion should preserve its traditional beliefs and practices.

In other words, what we believe about God is fairly inconsequential. This is a shame.

So why are folks in the religions that they are in if it ultimately doesn't really count for much. Parents? Maybe. I'm more willing to bet that it's because the religion that they are in makes them feel really good, and they enjoy these subjective warm-and-fuzzies. It's a short step from such psychic narcotics to the idea that their salvation is assured by where they because where they are reinforces their own ideas.

In conclusion, as if nobody knew this was coming:

More than most groups, Catholics break with their church, and not just on issues like abortion and homosexuality. Only six in 10 Catholics described God as "a person with whom people can have a relationship" — which the church teaches — while three in 10 described God as an "impersonal force."

"The statistics show, more than anything else, that many who describe themselves as Catholics do not know or understand the teachings of their church," said Denver Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput. "Being Catholic means believing what the Catholic church teaches. It is a communion of faith, not simply of ancestry and family tradition. It also means that the church ought to work harder at evangelizing its own members."

I'm going to have to part ways with Archbishop Chaput here. Most of these people know exactly what the Church teaches and why. They just don't give a crap because, again, they feel their eternal destiny is secured.

Let's ask Pope Gregory XVI what he thought about these ideas. Pope Gregory, the floor is yours.

Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that "there is one God, one faith, one baptism" may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever.

Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos

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