Religion and faith are two extremely disputable issues as every person has a certain vision of their basic aspects. The Christian Church has passed a long way to formulate certain dogmas that should unite people with the same attitude to God and show them the right way to appraise him. However, there were multiple debates about such central phenomena as grace, predestination, belief, and relationship with the Lord. The traditional position presupposes that only religious people who believe in God and accept his existence can acquire his grace. At the same time, there are other visions of this aspect. For instance, Karl Rahner introduced the idea of anonymous Christians stating that not only individuals who profess faith can be loved by God.
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In his work devoted to the given issue, the philosopher assumes that any religion is a form of explanation of people’s existence, their nature, and the central purpose of their lives. If a person accepts Christianity, he/she becomes sure that salvation can be achieved only through the belief in Christ, the only God (Humphries, 2017). In such a way, people who profess this religion are convinced that this is the only way to live.
However, Rahner doubts this assumption by saying that faith and acceptance of God’s existence are not demanded absolutely as these are only some of the ways to find salvation and become free (Humphries, 2017). This idea contradicts the accepted dogmas of Christianity.
The given idea rests on the nature of God’s grace and his attitude toward all people. Rahner cites canonic scriptures, stating that the Lord wants everyone to be saved (Humphries, 2017). Contrary to this statement, the Church narrows this concept by saying that people should be its members as it is the only possible way to receive grace (Humphries, 2017). The thinker opposes this perspective by saying that there are so-called anonymous Christians.
These people may not accept the ideas of the Christian Church and even deny the existence of God. However, it does not mean that they are deprived of his grace (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, n.d.). At the same time, it does not emerge from the fact of being a human; a person should be capable of hearing the word of their God to be loved by him. This idea becomes central to Rahner’s cogitations.
Even though these ideas contradict the accepted Catholic dogmas and canons, the thinker is still sure that salvation is possible only if to accept Christ as the savior (Humphries, 2017). This act can be considered a step towards the acquisition of absolute perfection and the guarantee of the correct movement to God and his grace (Humphries, 2017). In other words, even defying religion and the church, a person who is ready to accept the idea of some supernatural power and spirit can count on salvation because of the nature of God and his love.
Regardless of a particular discrepancy of these ideas, they can still be considered related to the basics of the Christian Church. For instance, in the declaration Dominus Iesus it is stated that “the salvific action of Jesus Christ, with and through his Spirit, extends beyond the visible boundaries of the Church to all humanity” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, n.d., para. 12). This passage proves Rahner’s idea about grace and its provision to all people. Moreover, the doctrine states that Christ gives love to all regardless of their delusions and mistakes (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, n.d.). It justifies the idea of anonymous Christians who can also be provided with grace.
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Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (n.d.). The declaration “Dominus Iesus” on the unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the Church. Web.
Humphries, T. (2017). Many are called, but who is chosen? Winona, MN: PforessorsChoice.com.