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7.7 Myth and ecumenism
We now question about the particular characteristics that have been handed down to us about the person of God, to whom we intend to address (or whose addressing to us we wish to welcome). That is how to say: who exactly is the person to whom I turn? How is it defined? How does it stand out from the others? Should I only think, generically, that it is God, or should I also bear in mind all the other elements of a doctrine, for example the fact that it is a matter of Father, Son and Holy Spirit? And how can these complications be integrated into my need for a relationship that should also be simple, spontaneous, direct? This type of problem can be defined as a problem of the mythological contents of each religion; here we keep a specific attention to the Christian religion. For a correction of the traditionally negative perspective towards myth, a good article is G. Betori, Mito in P. Rossano – G. Ravasi – A. Girlanda (edd.), Nuovo Dizionario di Teologia Biblica, Cinisello Balsamo (MI) 19893, p. 993-1012.
When a god is not only a generic celestial being, but something detailed is begun to be told of him, then we can say that a myth is being born. Any content of this kind in religion, as a descent into detail of the particular, cannot but appear to be no longer universal; on the other hand, however, a religion without mythological (or historical-divine) contents would be a vague feeling of the sacred, incapable of specifying anything. Therefore, there is a tension in religion due to the particular / universal relation, as to the contents.
Applying the Heraclitean perspective to the problem, we would arrive at this path: we start from the particular, in a path destined to widen and meet with the increasingly universal; as if to say: God leaves from Abraham to gradually reach the whole world. An ecumenical perspective reminds us, on the other hand, that the other religions as well are starting points. If this is the case, the religion I want to follow, whatever it may be, cannot but be thought, at least in part, as compromised with partial particularities, destined to leave room for the most universal, that is, for ecumenical dialogue. From this it follows that I cannot justify to myself my relationship with the religious “you” by telling myself that I live it because it is true: no religion is one hundred percent true; God is always greater than mine and any religion. Here too, then, the religious content will be adopted starting from a human experience and need, but its truth of involvement will be postponed to the specific unfolding of a spiritual history open to the prospects of dialogue and not to the need for a true being metaphysical. My thought, therefore, but also my whole person, must be capable of sincerely addressing a “you” not on the basis of metaphysical security, but on that of lived events and events that continue to occur. The initial choice itself will not act as a pivot, but as a starting point. An adhesion of faith must actually be renewed continuously. Therefore, what in moral theology is called “fundamental option” cannot actually be thought of if not simply as the first step. The goal to be reached with other religions will not be the uniformity of the contents on God, but the availability to a dialogue more and more capable of gathering also the non-universal truths that are offered to me from the other person, without having to deny mine.