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A Guide in an Age of Religious Pluralism

10/24/2006 - 6:00 AM PST

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Interview With Father José Galindo Rodrigo

VALENCIA, Spain, OCT. 24, 2006 (Zenit) - Christianity does not belong to Christians, but rather is the property of Christ, "who wills to save everyone," says the author of a book on religious pluralism.

Father José Galindo Rodrigo, an Augustinian Recollect, wrote "The Powerful Saving Force of Christ: A Guide for Christians Given the Present Religious Pluralism," published by the Trinitarian Secretariat of Salamanca.

The priest, who teaches theological anthropology at the University of Valencia, shared some of his insights with us.

Q: Does present-day religious pluralism blur the saving power of Christ?

Father Galindo: Present-day religious pluralism exactly as it is often conceived, indeed blurs the saving power of Christ. If one thinks that all religions save, then Christ is diminished. But to equate, when things are not equal, is an injustice and an error.

Q: Other religions are also God's instruments of salvation. How are they reconciled with Jesus Christ, sole personal cause of salvation of the whole of humanity?

Father Galindo: Other religions are also God's instruments of salvation, because having truths and values, according to several documents of the Church, they can serve, and in fact serve so that God can save faithful of those religions though always through the merits of Christ, who is the only Savior of all.

The founders of the great religions are teachers, and in a certain measure, models for humanity -- Lao-tzu, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, etc.

But solely and exclusively, Christ, in addition to supreme teacher and perfect model, is the savior of the whole of humanity in general and of each and all human beings in particular.

Religions, no matter which they are, and Christ are not on the same plane. Religions, including the Christian, are means or instruments, whereas Christ is the personal cause of salvation. It is the individual, the person whom he saves -- salvation is the action of a personal being -- making use of those means or instruments which religions are.

The one who saves is unique, Christ, while the means of which he makes us, some better than others, can be and are several and different, and the different religions are these means. Both truths are reconciled if we speak of religions and of Christ with precision.

Religions don't save -- none of them -- but rather are instruments of which the only personal agent, Christ, makes use to save. However, it is not correct either to say that religions are foreign to the event of the salvation of human beings, as they are means or instruments of it, given their truths and values.

Q: An equalitarian religious pluralism -- "All religions are valid" -- is as dangerous as an absolute exclusivity -- "Only Christianity is right and other religions don't contribute anything." How do you think a balance can be found?

Father Galindo: An equalitarian or undifferentiated pluralism is erroneous, as it is obvious that not all religions are equal.

Moreover, this would imply falling into the error that Christ, being the Son of God, has not founded a religion that is superior to the others, which implies that Christ either was not serious in founding Christianity or that he is not God. The former is absurd, while the latter is a heresy for a Christian.

Absolutism is not correct either in affirming that only Christianity is right, because the great religions coincide in some things -- truths and values -- with Christianity. …

Q: Might the new name of "interreligious dialogue" be to consider other religions as "valid" in promoting values?

Father Galindo: As Benedict XVI is highlighting, and John Paul II also did, religions must be allies in many important things for the good of humanity.

In time, I hope that Christ will be ever more known by very many people who will end by being better followers of his then those of us who now say we are Christians.

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Keywords

Religion, Pluralism, Rodrigo, Christ

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