Tony Antonellis talks about the diversity in religion in his book For the Love of God: An Approach to Peace, Coexistence, Community, and Truth. In a world marked and divided by countless religious sects in which differences are perceived as more important than similarities, this thought-provoking book calls for the people to come together under one thing that connects us all: God.
In this book, the author puts forth his theory of “God-centeredness” to open up an understanding of how religions work with their faith and how it plays an important role in connecting everyone. For the Love of God author Tony Antonellis sat with Kate Delaney to talk about his book on the latter’s syndicated radio program America Tonight with Kate Delaney.
Faith: The Essence of a Humble Orthodoxy
Tony Antonellis was raised a Roman Catholic. Half of his childhood was spent in Catholic day schools. Growing up, he also spent his time studying and growing up in a Catholic boarding school for three years.
“I enjoyed the religious involvement with my life. And of course, as a youngster, I had a good sense of my creator. And as I get older, I acquired more and more questions,” said Tony when asked about how he got the idea of writing his book. “It became somewhat skeptical, initially. I got to meet people from other religions, other Christian religions, and Judaism as well.”
“I couldn’t resolve the questions that I had. It’s somewhat perplexing. And then one day, probably maybe twenty years ago, I acquired a book written by a Catholic priest named Hans Kung,” said Tony, who then continued to talk about Hans Kung as an inspiration for his writing as he had the same existential anxiety as his. “As I really got familiar with his writings, I realized that I was not the only one with this existential anxiety. I recently came to the conclusion that it’s really impossible to live a full life without some kind of religion, but it’s not so much about being this religion or that religion, but it’s about being intellectually honest of yourself and being open-minded, and what I like to refer to as ‘humble orthodoxy.’”
Tony also opined on situations when people with different religions meet. “If I, the Christian, encounter a Muslim or a Buddhist who has different ideas, then I wanna entertain those ideas and see what measure of truth these people have to offer.
“In that way, we can share a common faith even though we’re not all the same. Not everybody has the same philosophy on diet or this or that. It’s important that we can respect one another and work together. That’s what my book is about.”
Superstitions of Ancient Religions Don’t Mean Evil
Kate Delaney pointed out an important keyword in Tony’s book – humble orthodoxy. This keyword opened up a discussion about the old or ancient religions that still believe in superstition. Tony Antonellis clears that superstitions are not evil, but these religions are just more in tune with nature.
He recounted an experience of being invited into a Sunday service where he met Rich Nickel, a rabbi who was overseeing Ruach Israel. “I was absolutely fascinated by the things he had to say. First of all, he wasn’t really a Christian, like most Christians are. He was a Jew. He celebrated the Sabbath on Friday night. They had a Sabbath service on Saturday. On Sundays, to honor the Christian aspect of his faith, they would get together for study and fellowship.”
It was the time when Tony had the opportunity to get connected with new friends from Judaism and share their faith together.
Faith Binds the Diversity in Religion
As a takeaway from his book, Tony shared his hopes that all people with a diversity of nationality, race, or religion would come to realize that the Creator desires everyone to live with one another in peace.
“All Jews are converts from paganism. Judaism did not evolve full-blown as it was today. It started somewhat polytheistic with ethical roots, and it developed over time. I think what a lot of people failed to realize is that Jesus of Nazareth had more in common with the Pharisees than he did with the early Church Fathers. That’s why we have to look at our religious roots and see them for what they are,” said Tony.
Theology is an Essential Part of Everybody’s Life
When Kate asked Tony how can people make life better, he said, “Theology is an essential part of everybody’s life whether one is an atheist or not because you have a philosophy to live by, and that philosophy defines us and the way we live.” Get a copy of For the Love of God: An Approach to Peace, Coexistence, Community, and Truth by Tony Antonellis on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.