Winter 2007

“Face to Face”: The Difference Between Christian and Hindu Non-Dualism

Stratford Caldecott

“In the purity of that awareness of the radiance of being, purged of the constructions we normally place upon it, the doors of perception are cleansed and the things in the world may be seen as they are: infinite. This is not Christian faith, but a Christian need not deny its value, its attraction, or its integrity.”

“For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I am known.”
(1 Cor 13:2)

1. Introduction


As it developed, Christian theology incorporated elements from the Greek and Roman (not to mention Jewish and later Islamic) thought-worlds that surrounded it. Other elements were rejected, sometimes violently, and yet others tailored by the Church Fathers to fit the new religious perspective. This process of dialogue, critique, reaction, and creative incorporation was exceedingly complex, and has been well documented. Catholic believers regard it as no haphazard adventure through time, but rather as providentially
ordered by the Holy Spirit to enable the gestalt of Christian truth—the face of Christ—to emerge ever more clearly into view. An adventure perhaps, then, but hardly “haphazard,” because the sensus fidelium, like a homing instinct or sense of balance, enables the diversions and distractions of the journey to be integrated with the essential center of things, as revealed to the eyes of faith.


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