Another Sunday. Let’s keep up to speed. The next statement of belief from the Catholic education my son receives is the following.
“What is the revelation of God?
The revelation of God is the communication that He has made of Himself to men.“
Again, I’m impressed with such a compact answer to such a difficult theological question. It’s just really simple and easy to understand, and a relief for anyone who struggles with religious pondering. I would not dare to give any long and meaningful speech about what God’s revelation might be, but the short answer for sure opens up some questions. First of all, as with the previous statements, it makes a few assumtions:
Assumption 1: Obviously we must assume that God exist. No need to discuss this, because this is the basis for the religion
Assumption 2: We must assume that God communicates with us
Assumption 3: We must assume that Men can understand God’s communication (language, signs, symbols, visions, dreams, whatever)
Assumption 4: We must assume that people who write or speak about such revelations are reliable
My main concern is about the last two assumptions. Is a person who states that he/she has been in direct contact with God really realible, and how can we differ between a reliable spokesperson from a not reliable spokes person? This comes down to what is an important aspect from the early christianity as documented in the bible. The first Christians had authority. They were charismatic. It is clear that the attraction a charismatic person has, is the persuasive power of that person, which makes life much easier for the followers since they can just address their leader to make the arguments for their beliefs. Anyway, since communication with God, in those days, were much more than just interpretting scripture, but also performing healing and signs, we can’t witness these acts anymore from a charismatic leader, but only trust that the written report from that time was sincere and true. Today, although it seems like there are some charismatic religious leaders in many free-churches, a young catholic in school gets only served any religious statement as another fact together with science, math and history.
Another interesting thing is that these 8-9 year old boys, most of them who still believe that Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and other fantasy creaters really exist, have to trust that the revelations in one book are more true than any other revelation from any other religion at this age. This is the age when they do their first communion, and hence are introduced to the religious practice like confessing their sins to a priest and participating actively i mass.