Monday, February 18, 2008

Ratzinger on Truth

I have just posted this in Wikipedia:

Philosopher and theologian Joseph Ratzinger, before his election as Benedict XVI, explored the relationship of truth with tolerance, conscience, freedom, and religion. For him, "beyond all particular questions, the real problem lies in the question of truth."

In consonance with Aristotle and Aquinas, Ratzinger affirms that human reason has the power to know reality and arrive at the truth, and for this he alludes to the achievement of the natural sciences. He sees that "the modern self-limitation of reason" rooted in Kant which views itself incapable of knowing religion and the human sciences such as ethics leads to dangerous pathologies of religion (terrorism) and pathologies of science (ecological disasters and destruction of humans). He thinks that this self-limitation, which "amputates" the mind's capacity to answer fundamental questions such as man's origin and purpose, dishonors reason and is contradictory to the modern acclamation of science, whose basis is the power of reason.

While he states that relativism is acceptable in political options, he warned of a relativism without limits, a "dictatorship of relativism," and he traced the past century's violent ideologies to a totalitarianism which "absolutizes what is not absolute but relative," converting partial points of view into absolute guides.

For Ratzinger, truth and love are identical. And if well understood, according to him, this is "the surest guarantee of tolerance."

See: Wikipedia on Truth

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