The Christian faith, which carries within itself the great heritage of the religions and which opens up this heritage to the Logos, to true reason, could offer a new basis to them at the deepest level and could at the same time make possible a real synthesis of technological rationality and religion, something that can only come about, not by a flight into the irrational, but by opening up reason to its true height and breadth. Herein lie the great tasks of our contemporary historical moment. Christian mission will doubtless have to understand other religions far more profoundly and accept them at a deeper level than has been the case hitherto, but these religions, on the other hand, in order for their best elements to survive, need to recognize their own adventual character, the way they point forward to Christ. If in this sense we proceed on an intercultural search for traces of a path toward a common truth, then something unexpected will appear: Christianity has more in common with the ancient cultures of mankind than with the relativistic and rationalistic world that has cut loose from the fundamental insights of mankind and is thus leading man into a vacuum, devoid of meaning. (Truth and Tolerance, 78-79)I want to write like that! Don't hold your breath; just keep me in your prayers.
But let me add this. Jesus made it clear that the Gospel will scandalize, all the more reason not to compound that real scandal with any unnecessary and extraneous ones. But the real scandal of the Gospel is the one to which Cardinal Ratzinger has eluded here, and, however, shocking it is to contemporary sensibilities, it is precisely this scandal -- that Christianity is the truth toward which all that is healthy and emancipating in the great religious traditions are moving -- this scandal, the scandal of particularity -- is the one that is so powerfully corroborated by the work of René Girard.
"Christianity," Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, "has more in common with the ancient cultures of mankind than with the relativistic and rationalistic world that has cut loose from the fundamental insights of mankind and is thus leading man into a vacuum, devoid of meaning." To which Girard would simply say amen.
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