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The Theology of Religion

            Some form of religion is something every culture has in common. Although we all share the general idea of religion, our religious beliefs differ drastically. We maintain peace with others that have different beliefs through an academic understanding. The key for this academic understanding, at least from a Catholic point of view, is through Christian interreligious dialogue and the Catholic Theology of Religion. The academic study of religion seems like a very cut and dry topic, but in entails a great deal of detail and understanding to comprehend. I can speak from personal experience that after 12 years of Catholic teachings in primary and high school and even physically visiting and studying in the Vatican, that I continue to struggle with the topic of studying merely Catholicism. The essence of the academic approach is broken into four main parts according to scholars: to define, to compare, to analyze, and to explain. Giving generalized definitions and comparing and contrasting isn't necessarily the difficult task. The problem arises in analyzing and explaining religion from an unbiased point of view. In order to articulate from an unbiased point of view as a Christian, or any religion for that matter, you must be able to utilize interreligious dialogue to its fullest extent. The essential points of interreligious dialogue are to be true and open-minded to the beliefs and religions of other cultures. Another key point is to not judge or avoid taboo topics that may conflict with your beliefs. You must fully envelop yourself in the other person's perspective, just as you would want them to do. Although it may seem like a difficult task to undergo, not utilizing interreligious dialogue to understand other's beliefs is like putting together a puzzle in the dark with no edge pieces. .
             Aside from utilizing inter-religious dialogue, as Catholic it is important to consider the Catholic Theology of Religion when opening our minds to the idea of other religions.

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