Our Religious Traditions

Our Religious Traditions

Our Religious Traditions

Our Religious Traditions

Excerpt

This book has as its purpose to promote understanding of the three great religious traditions of our western world -- Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism.

Understanding will not mean that the respective contributions of the three traditions to the religious life of mankind will become any less distinctive than they now are. It is certainly not here regarded as preliminary to, or a means for, unity of organization among Jews, Catholics, and Protestants. Unity of organization may in fact be undesirable. Unity of organization would indeed be undesirable, if it were furthered by abandonment of, or even by lessened emphasis upon, the central ideas around which the religious traditions have developed.

Understanding will mean, however, that the respective contributions of the three traditions can be effectively maintained without clashes of animosity among the adherents and opponents of the traditions. Clashes do now often occur and are one cause which limits the leavening influence of religion in our contemporary society. Responsibility for these clashes rests about equally upon adherents and opponents of the traditions. The advocates often stress points which involve separation and antagonism; the opponents fasten their chief attention upon minor matters of particular difficulty. Both alike thus tend to overlook the distinctive ideas and the vital aspirations which, embedded in each of the traditions, could in more favorable circumstances animate men's consciences and prove fruitful in their actions. A juster evaluation of the central ideas of Judaism and Catholicism and Protestantism might liberate the idealism of these traditions for further profitable de-

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