by FR PETER KITCHEN
Truth and Dialogue: Studies in Philosophical Religion (2) edited by John Hick (Sheldon Press £3.25)
I have met many people who have said that one religion is as good as another since we are all trying to get to the same place. I doubt it being a coincidence that most of these had no religion to speak of. Normally a man of faith believes his faith to be the truth and perhaps the whole truth.
The contributors of Truth and Dialogue examine the relationships which exist between the great world religions. Comparative religion is a vast subject, but this collection of papers represents various approaches towards constructive dialogue between the major faiths.
The claims of Christianity are compared to Hinduism, Buddhism and the Islamic faith. The nature of religious truth is examined. Concern for the future of religion is manifest in several articles. A Christian look is given to Bhagavad-Gita as divine revelation,
There are interesting ideas in many of the articles, but from the viewpoint of a Catholic the most absorbing would be that written by W. C. Smith. He makes an appeal to the larger connotations of the words for truth in the non-Christian religions to show the limitations of our propositional notion of truth.
By and large, though, this book is disappointing, as are many publications of conference papers; but the most serious fault lies in the omission of some important aspects of truth. If one starts with the fact that God is Truth and that He has immediate knowledge and love of Himself, it is not difficult to realise the shortcomings of human truthfulness and awareness of truth.
Placing God as the totality of truth to be known and loved, the horizon of all our understanding and choice, then one can expect a variety of viespoints from the lowest to the highest. The higher the viewpoint, the more is included.
The problem remains of iden-. tifying the highest viewpoint and relating it to other beliefs. Thus, without denying the truths of other religions, the Catholic Church can claim that only in itself does the fullness of truth reside,
The scholars who have written the papers for Truth and Dialogue all show a belief in the value of comparing the different religions although it is obvious they do not share one viewpoint. Perhaps it is presumed that the reader will make a comparison between their viewpoints in his own search for the truth.