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Dyson Heydon rightly states (‘Faith’s implacable enemies’, 4-5/11) that religion ‘looks for windows into another world.’ He is on less safe ground in claiming that Jesus ‘taught that all human beings were equal before God, and all could enter the kingdom of God.’ Much of the Gospel teaching asserts that the way to the kingdom is difficult and that few are able to find it. This accords with the wisdom of the other great sacred traditions, all of which differentiate between the life of piety (open to all people) and the way of gnosis or attainment (obtainable only by a few).
Why is it important to keep before human communities an awareness that there is a mysterious ‘other world’ of which saints and sages bear strange witness? It seems that from that world flows an ineffable quality - truth - which cannot be summed up or defined in any words or logical propositions, but which is essential for the continual renewing of society and the political order. Old-fashioned Christianity, such as Heydon expounds, has been steadily losing its power to open those windows. Damning the intolerance of atheistic elites is easy but does not confront the profound challenge Christianity faces to recover from its many past mistakes.
NJ, Belgrave, Vic