BY REV. PAUL KELLY - ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
In January I traveled to Peru to visit the sites of several Catholic saints such as Martin de Porres and Rose of Lima who lived in the 17th century. It was a wonderful experience being able to visit the great churches and museums of Peru and to appreciate their culture and history.
And of course no trip to Peru is complete without going to the famous Incan ruins at Machu Picchu. The ruins date back to the early 15th century and are quite impressive. Incan architecture is famous for using large stone blocks, and cutting them so perfectly that when fitted together, without using mortar, a blade of grass cannot be inserted into the seams.
While at Machu Picchu, I happened to pass by two young men who were foreign tourists. They were discussing religion. I heard the first give a brief summary of Christianity, e.g. that God sent his Son to the world to suffer, die, and thus save us from our sins. The second gave a very dismissive response to Christianity, saying something to the effect that Christianity is just like the Incan religion — just another attempt to make sense of the world and that in time will end up on the ash heap of history.
By this time, I am out of earshot and hear no more of the conversation. It seemed to me the second man was expressing a viewpoint that because all religions are culturally conditioned, they are all equally untrue, and that in time will all be discarded for something else.
Christians think otherwise. We believe there are eternal truths about God and about our relationship with him. I greatly enjoy visiting ancient cultures and learning about their religious practices, whether it be the Incas, the Egyptians, the Maya, or the Sumerians. For me, it reinforces the great distinctiveness and beauty of Christianity- that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).