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Mia Maher

Mrs. Bouch

Honors English 11—Period 2

2 October 2017

The Church and Other Religions

“Society says, ‘Look out for yourself,’ but God says, ‘Look out for others and I will look

out for you,’” (unknown). God’s love is truly given to every human, and he reveals Himself to

others to prove this. Every person is loved equally by God, no matter their religion. While all

religions may differ in beliefs, they are all still one in God’s eyes. For example, the Catholic

Church teaches that everyone should be treated the same regardless of their religious beliefs. The

Catholic Church helps to outline the ways to approach other religions and beliefs, including the

Native American and Puritan cultures.

Through reading the Vatican II documents, it becomes evident that the Truth about God

is revealed through the Church, along with those who desire to find it. Much of this Truth comes

from Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father. Although Christ came to earth to save the human

race from their sins, he came also to preach this Truth and spread God’s name throughout all

nations. Lumen Gentium, a church document from Vatican II, explains Jesus Christ’s role in

preaching the Truth about God saying, "For the Church is compelled by the Holy Spirit to do her

part that God's plan may be fully realized, whereby He has constituted Christ as the source of

Salvation for the whole world" (para. 17). This specifically shows the importance of Christ and

the Church spreading God’s salvation and Truth amongst the world. However, some may choose

not to listen to or believe the Truth of God, have not heard it, or choose not to believe it. For

those who do choose to believe God’s Truth and are willing to find it, they are able to receive the
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Truth. They can receive this through following in the ways of Christ and living out their life in a

holy and respectful way. This includes non-Catholics as well. While they may not be able to

obtain the entirety of the Truth, they will still be able to enter Heaven if they seek out God’s

Truth.

Catholics and non-Catholics share many aspects and contain many similarities proving

that all religions are one community in the eyes of God. One of the major ways Catholics and

non-Catholics are related is through Baptism. While the non-Catholics may not have the entirety

of faith that Catholics have, Baptism can connect the two through the Holy Spirit’s presence

(The Second Vatican Council para. 15). This also helps to explain why non-Catholics can also

enter Heaven. If they live a good life and desire to learn more of God and His truth, they are able

to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Some of these non-Catholics can include the Puritans and

Native Americans, along with their religious beliefs. Their origin stories prove great examples as

to why their religions share many similarities to the Catholic religion.

Throughout Native American literature, some similarities can be seen to the creation

story the Catholic Church teaches and believes. This can be seen specifically in “The Walam

Olum,” the traditional story of creation told and written by the Delaware tribe. “The Walam

Olum” begins saying, "At first, in that place, at all times, above the earth, On the earth, [was] an

extended fog, and there the great Manito was” (Delaware). This implies that the Delaware

believed in a higher power and creator. The book of Genesis states, "In the beginning, when God

created the heavens and the earth- and the earth was without a form or shape, with darkness over

the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters-" (1:1-2). This shows how the abyss was

before God created the world, which is similar to how the Delaware describe the beginning of

time. Both creation stories also demonstrate how evil was believed to be brought into the world;
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however their ideas differ. The Delaware believed there was an evil Manito who created the evil

in the world, while the Catholic Church believe it was the actions of Adam and Eve, the first

humans, that brought about evil (Genesis). Even though the ideas of creation of Native

Americans do not match up identically to the Catholic Church’s teachings, it is still evident that

God had revealed Himself to the Native American people through this particular story.

The Puritans have a very stern yet strong understanding of God. Because Puritans are of

the Protestant religion, they are very religious and are very strict in their teachings about God.

The Puritans also see God in a stern way. This can be seen through “Sinners in the Hands of an

Angry God,” a sermon given by Jonathan Edwards. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

demonstrates many beliefs that are similar to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. This sermon

shows the Puritans believe in Heaven and Hell just as Catholics do. They also share in the beliefs

of the Old Testament stories (Puritan Beliefs). With these similarities, however, Jonathan

Edwards expresses God’s view on humanity much differently than the Catholic Church sees

God’s view. Jonathan Edwards speaks much of God’s harshness toward the human race. He

states, "God had laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of

hell one moment" (Edwards para. 10). This quote shows God to be harsh, saying that God does

not need nor want to keep humans out of Hell. Edwards also says, "There is nothing that keeps

wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God" (para. 4). This also

shows God to be harsh, which Catholics do not see in Him. Edwards continues his sermon to say

that people must be converted to enter Heaven, which is not the Catholic Church’s teaching

either (Edwards). The Catholic Church teaches that if you are a good person, you can enter into

the Kingdom of Heaven. While the two religions share some beliefs, not all correspond exactly

with one another.


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Every person is equal and loved in God’s eyes, which is why He finds a way to reveal

Himself to various religions. All of these religions are interconnected through God’s eternal love

for each person in every religion. The Catholic Church helps to identify the ways in which to

interact with these other religions, as well as how to approach them. With this information,

people are able to see similarities and differences between their religions and determine how to

communicate with them.