Fr Andrzej Przybylski
I think that all religions, even primitive beliefs, contain some truths about God. I think that all religious practices people have used can help us in our spiritual lives. I sometimes see that Catholics have closed themselves to spiritual experiences of other denominations. I have no problems to participate in Holy Mass and at the same time to practice yoga and other methods of Eastern meditation. I think they can enrich my spirituality. I am also keen on reading Buddhist texts and recently I have tried to understand some practices of primitive peoples and I discover great power which God put in some minerals and phenomena of nature. Is this anything wrong that I am enriching my Christian faith with elements from other beliefs that are often older?
Sometimes it is worth remembering that early Christians did not only give their lives because they believed in Christ but also because they proclaimed with power that 'for all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved'. If they had accepted some compromise, if they had agreed to write the name of Christ into the pantheon of pagan deities and had acknowledged him to be another god they would have had no problems. The matter was obvious for them: Jesus is real and only Son of God. Naturally, people have sought God for ages using their own ways and they have seen the traces of his actions in natural experiences. Certainly, even sects are some signs of people's spiritual needs and some sign of the truth, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls 'man's openness to God'. This natural disposition made people grope for the need to have a relationship with God. However, God revealed himself fully in his Son Jesus Christ. That's why Jesus convinces us that 'to have seen me is to have seen the Father'. Since that revelation we have known that Christ's name is enough and all search for God that has been carried out so far is not necessary and can be very misleading. That concerns religious practices as well. In the Book of Acts the disciples of Christ sometimes face the dilemma which old customs they are to observe in order to worship God. Among other things they discuss the value of circumcision, the value of clean and unclean meals. But the conclusion of all these discussions is that Christ alone is enough since our salvation is in him. This is the first answer to your question: Christ alone is enough for our salvation and we cannot seek any other means of salvation apart from him. If we did not believe so we would proclaim 'non-fullness' of Christ. Moreover, when we introduce many elements of other religions, especially pagan customs, into our faith, we commit sin and open ourselves to evil spirit. It is sin because man seeks salvation apart from Christ in various kinds of energy, meditation, trees of happiness, talismans, witchcraft and precious stones. These are sins because they are cases of idolatry, i.e. ascribing God's value to things and phenomena. Furthermore, these practices are fuel for evil spirit since he is much interested in these matters: they draw us away from the only and irreplaceable power of Christ. So I do not approve this type of openness to all possible religious practices because they may contain spiritual poison. It reminds me of the practice of homeopathy which adds a little of poison in order to cure people of illnesses. One may take poison while trying to recover. The way you suggest looks like spiritual homeopathy in which for the sake of spiritual development you want to use some mean, which is actually poison. There is no need to risk. The Church gives so many fantastic forms of spirituality, which Christ has revealed, that there is no need to use unknown practices. Since you are a Catholic or you are someone who believes in everything and in the end you will lose your faith. I wish that you might discover what the Apostles did: our salvation is only in the name of Christ and he alone is enough!
We encourage our readers to share their doubts and questions concerning faith. We will try to respond to some of them. You may wish to write to us: email@example.com