This is a direct quote. Now, what is it saying
about religious tolerance? Christ is the only way. The pope is
saying that we accept what is true in these religions, but we do not
accept them if they do not follow Jesus as the only way. We still
have to convert them. That is the message. This is not a message of
tolerance and live and let live. It is not a message of let Hindus
have their way and we have our and both are good. It is not a
statement that Buddha or Krishna is equal to Jesus.
It is a statement of
exclusivism and my contention is that such exclusivism must breed
intolerance. If I think that mine is the only way, how can I be
really tolerant and accepting of you, if you follow another way? And
such intolerance is going to end up causing conflict, division,
disharmony and poor communication.
is going to divide communities and cause problems. So, please bear
in mind that, in the Indian context, as Hindus, you have to deal
with these religions as the majority of the people in the world are
practicing and believing in them, and this conversion process is
I also think that we should have a free, open,
friendly dialogue and discussion on all religious matters, both in
terms of social interaction and relative to doctrinal matters. There
should be complete freedom of discussion, freedom of criticism and
freedom of debate just as we have in science.