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Christianity, The Fractured Faith


Elder

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I'm very curious. Why is it that, while we as Christians are taught to judge not, to be loving and kind to all, there is so much emnity between some religious sects. Openly calling other Churches cults is not necessarily what I call Christian behaviour. Many churches full of God-fearing people who wish only to come closer to Christ are accused of not being Christians.

I was once told by a virtuous, Southern Baptiste (please note, I am not speaking against the Baptiste Churches, for whom I have a great deal of respect as good Christians who try to come closer to God) girl who is my friend that she believed that I was not a Christian going to Hell because of my Faith (which teaches values like Faith, Hope and Charity, and that it is only through the atonement of Christ that one can be saved.) This friend is one of the best people I know, yet she said this. She and many of her friends would constantly slam my faith, Bible bashing me left and right, saying that I was no Christian. I wondered why. I learned that she was taught that my church was a cult, along with many things that are not true about my church. I learned that there was even a sunday-school class devoted to bashing my faith.

I have met this sort of thing many times. Constant Bible Bashing, accusations, and people trying to tear down my faith because it was different. However, anyone who looks, will see thousands of different Christian Faiths, with various translations of the Bible, and interpretations of those translations. My friend and I never did settle our religious disagreement. It was sometimes a source of strife between us. She still is my friend, and I respect her for her morals. She is not perfect. No Christian is perfect. That's why we are Christians. If we were perfect, we wouldn't need Christ to suffer for our sins, as we wouldn't have any. We must become more understanding of the flaws in those around us. If you believe that a Faith is wrong or misguided, I have no problems with simple, quiet non-forceful proselyting of good doctrine, however, animosity and Hatred for another faith is not what Christ would have wanted. He never once bashed the Roman Polytheistic rule, or any other faith of the time. He preached his word and answered the questions of those who would have tried to stop him. He never called the Pharisees a cult. We will have our flaws, but must a hatred for other Christian sects be one of them?

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Well if you look at the history of Christianity you'll find plenty of examples of Christians behaving in non-Christian behavior.

The reasons are far too complex to get into here but it all boils down to people believing they are custodians of the "one true faith" and wanting to harm those that aren't .

Fanaticism is another reason - religious belief when taken too far can be pretty scary.

I think Edward Gibbons, who famously wrote about Rome said, Christians have killed far more of each other than were ever persecuted by the Romans.

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Moderate Centrist is exactly right. once you belief you hold the absolute truth you no longer retain rational thought nor the abilty to learn. an oft cited pseudo definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior expecting a different result. well i would submit a unquestioned belief in ones infallibility is the reason why there is hatred even within christianity or any religion.

sirriff

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Elder, I'll admit I have never seen such flagrant abuse of Christianity, me being a Christian myself. I am utterly appalled. Of course, in Christianity, there are those who call themselves Christians, and those who actually are, just like any other religion.

I think that there needs to be a distinction between Protestant Christians and Catholicism. I personally view Catholicism as an extremely corrupt form of Christianity as it follows barely any of the teachings of the Bible. Take a look at its history and even its practices today. This is a great distinction that people on this forum tend not to make. Protestant Christians believe in something quite different than Catholics and it would be logical to realize that. You want more information, PM me.

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Hello Again Elder,

And now you can see a perfect example of the fracturing you speak of and where it can lead to trouble.

"I personally view Catholicism as an extremely corrupt form of Christianity as it follows barely any of the teachings of the Bible."
Mr. Farrius

Elder, let's see if can start a fight:

In fact let me pose this question to you Mr. Farrius - isn't it possible that you are wrong. Isn't it possible that Protestanism is a corrupt perversion of the Christian faith?

You see I hold the absolute truth and I declare this to be so. :)

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Moderate Centrist is exactly right. once you belief you hold the absolute truth you no longer retain rational thought nor the abilty to learn...i would submit a unquestioned belief in ones infallibility is the reason why there is hatred even within christianity or any religion.

We're talking about Christianity here, which basically states that human nature is fallen, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. So, anyone who rightfully believes in his Christian faith SHOULD always relate to others, Christian or not, from this humble perspective.

But fallen human beings that we are, we succumb to our desire to be right, to our self-righteousness, a form of pride, the father of all sins including hatred.

We also have a difficulty balancing this with Jesus' command to go out and preach the good news to all nations. Often, we end up moralizing before evangelizing, and that does not sound like good news to many people.

The point is: Christianity is not easy to follow. Jesus compared it to the eye of the needle through which a camel can only pass by getting down on its knees and unloading all its worldly goods. He also called it the narrow path, and we're always gonna be slipping off first on the right, and then on the left. But we need to take His hand of forgiveness and clamber back on.

Christianity is difficult, impossible to humans, that's why it is symbolized by the cross of crucifixion. It is only made possible by the strength of Jesus Christ.

Hence, when you meet a sincere professing Christian, you have to recognize that he is holding the most beautiful diamond with leprous hands. Don't let his human disease get in the way of accepting this divine treasure for yourself.

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Elder, let's see if can start a fight:

In fact let me pose this question to you Mr. Farrius - isn't it possible that you are wrong. Isn't it possible that Protestanism is a corrupt perversion of the Christian faith?

You see I hold the absolute truth and I declare this to be so. :)

Well, if you look at the history of Christianity, a group of people started questioning the Catholic church. Especially with practices like granting eternal life through cash, which is not Biblical at all and even outrageous. Also, Catholicism emphasizes so much on the pope, a mere man, where as Protestanism is totally about Christ, like it's supposed to be. The Pope has no Biblical foundation; of course, Catholics may have distorted their Bible. It has been known for Catholics to openly declare that they have the right to change the Bible. In Christianity, where the Bible is such a sacred text, is changing it not corruption? Once again, take a look at history; Catholicism has always been about power.

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where as Protestanism is totally about Christ, like it's supposed to be.

You will find that most Protestant denominations have their own hierarchy, for instance, the Anglican church replaces the Pope with the Archbishop of Canterbury. In that regard, they are basically the same as the Catholic Church.

The real difference between Orthodox churches such as the Catholic and Protestant churches is that Orthodoxy emphasises rightness in worship, whereas Protestantism tends to play more towards rightness of thought. This is to a varying degree, of course, while the High Church of England is pretty much Catholicism with a different name, Puritanism is anything but.

The Pope has no Biblical foundation

The Pope is the successor of Peter.

It has been known for Catholics to openly declare that they have the right to change the Bible.

Give examples. The fact is that the Bible needs no changes, it is highly ambiguous anyway. The reason for this is that the Bible is not an historical or a scientific document as many atheists suppose it should be, it is a spiritual document, intended to assist in man's relationship with the divine rather than to give concrete answers to any specific questions.

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Show me anywhere in the Bible that emphasizes the need for a Pope, or as you call it, "the successor of Peter."

Jesus picked the disciples to follow in his footsteps. Do you find it incomprehensible that these disciples, too, would have picked successors? Given that, why do you feel that the Bible forbids a successor to Peter?

Here is a site contrasting Catholicism with the Bible.

The site either deliberately or accidentally misses the purpose of Catholicism and organised religion in general. I shall illustrate.

"Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

This, they say, is why Mass, Pilgrimage etc. are wrong and unnecessary. However, they miss two points: 1) that these things may well help you believe and 2) there is more to spiritual comfort than merely salvation, as there is more to human existence than bodily functions.

And it goes on, with linguistic games, misinterpretations and misunderstanding of the concepts behind Catholicism. What basically happened, Farrius, is that you came upon this website, read it and thought "cool" without bothering to cross-reference or question what you were reading. In future, try to read critically.

What is certain is that the path to salvation does not lie with Catholic-bashing, and I do not see why people such as yourself have such a huge issue with the Catholic Church and the "pursuit of worldly power", when you do not have any problem with Planned Parenthood encouraging kids to keep secrets from their parents and deliberately withholding information about the medical consequences of abortion so that they can sell more abortions and make more money, for example.

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Jesus picked the disciples to follow in his footsteps. Do you find it incomprehensible that these disciples, too, would have picked successors? Given that, why do you feel that the Bible forbids a successor to Peter?

No. I do not find it incomprehensible that the disciples would have picked successors to carry on their humble work of ministry. I do find it incomprehensible that one of their "successors" had to become head of the entire Catholic church with the authority to change the Bible. Somehow I don't think someone with so much power and authority (who some even worship and consider divine) is what Jesus or His disciples had in mind.

What is certain is that the path to salvation does not lie with Catholic-bashing

I agree Hugo. It is merely from the frustration in seeing a religion with so much power and authority use even the Bible to their advantage. You seem to know a lot about history. Was the Church not extremely corrupt? Did they not buy souls into Heaven? Explain that to me.

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"The Pope has no Biblical foundation..."

Mr. Farrius

"Show me anywhere in the Bible that emphasizes the need for a Pope, or as you call it, "the successor of Peter."
Mr. Farrius

Try this,

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church..."
Jesus

Anyway I have no interest in debating religion as it's a waste of time. I think you can now see Elder how such fragmantation and intollerance occurs.

Mr. Farrius' comments are extremely offensive to practicing Catholics and many of them would say the exact same about the Protestant faith which they would maintain broke away from the True Church. Don't forget the Catholic Church came first.

In any case Mr. Farrius has painted Catholics in a negative light. Many Catholics paint Protestants in a negative light. On and on it goes.

I say you worship your God and I'll worship mine.

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I am aware of the history of the Catholic Church. I know something of the history of Protestantism. I have read of both the bloody Catholic Inquisitions and the persecutions against Catholics in England and Ireland under the Puritan Regime of Oliver Cromwel, which the Anglican Church allowed to stay in place long after his reign ended (My history is a little sketchy. If anyone would like to correct me on these points, by all means.) These acts are both extreme examples of the fractures which I have spoken of. However, these days, we don't kill eachother, but we certainly are a far way from what Christ would have wanted. Religious history has always been of great interest to me. However, my friends trying to argue with me about religion has taught me something. When it comes to religion, you can not change someones opinion with arguments. You can not change it with facts. Any progress you do make will simply be blown away by the next person with a citation from a book or website, and I've seen a lot of those. You have to leave these things to both your conscience and the spirit. Arguing about it won't help with that, and never once has it changed my mind or the mind of anyone that I know of.

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"When it comes to religion, you can not change someones opinion with arguments. You can not change it with facts. Any progress you do make will simply be blown away by the next person with a citation from a book or website..."
Elder

This is 100% absolutely correct. You can not change religious views. Energy would be much better spent somewhere else.

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"Show me anywhere in the Bible that emphasizes the need for a Pope, or as you call it, "the successor of Peter."
Mr. Farrius

Try this,

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church..."
Jesus

Total misconception of the verse.

Anyways, just as long as the distinction is made on this forum, I'm satisfied. I wasn't trying to convert anyone, merely to explain.

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Was the Church not extremely corrupt? Did they not buy souls into Heaven? Explain that to me.

At one point the Church was as interested in secular power as it was in the spiritual. This reached a peak under Innocent III. However, what you must bear in mind is, firstly, that the established power structure in Europe was a system of hereditary autocracies. It was not like the Church was trampling social progress and democracy - there was no social progress and democracy to be trampled. Secondly, realise that in a society where your opportunites hinged entirely on your birth, the Church offered an opportunity for men with intelligence and skill to rise to the top regardless of their bloodline.

Furthermore, note that the Pope convened the Council of Trent to address the problems you are talking about in 1545. So, when you say "Catholicism has always been about power" you are either making a deliberately erroneous sweeping statement or you know very little about Christian history. Which is it?

I do find it incomprehensible that one of their "successors" had to become head of the entire Catholic church with the authority to change the Bible.

Do you believe that the Bible was direct from the mouth of God and cannot be altered? Christians don't agree with you. The Bible is a collection of texts and those that were to be included in the New Testament were not settled on until around 250 AD. If "changing the Bible" (and I have yet to see an example from you of a Pope who has done this, I should add) is wrong I find it odd that you would pick upon the Catholic Church and not upon the religious leaders who followed Paul and, in essence, defined the key Christian scriptures by themselves.

And that effectively sums up your position: blind Catholic-bashing without much understanding of history.

I say you worship your God and I'll worship mine.

All denominations and methods of worship are paths to God. Which path to tread is up to the individual.

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Secondly, realise that in a society where your opportunites hinged entirely on your birth, the Church offered an opportunity for men with intelligence and skill to rise to the top regardless of their bloodline.

That's irrelevant.

Furthermore, note that the Pope convened the Council of Trent to address the problems you are talking about in 1545.

Great. I applaud that decision.

Do you believe that the Bible was direct from the mouth of God and cannot be altered? Christians don't agree with you.

The Bible was not direct from the mouth of God. It is believed that its writers were divinely inspired. As for your 2nd assertion, I'm assuming you mean Catholics. Otherwise, show me the proof.

If "changing the Bible" (and I have yet to see an example from you of a Pope who has done this, I should add) is wrong I find it odd that you would pick upon the Catholic Church and not upon the religious leaders who followed Paul and, in essence, defined the key Christian scriptures by themselves.

I speak not upon the religious leaders who followed Paul because at that time, Christianity was in its very original form (like it's supposed to be) and definitely not in a Catholic one. Ever since Constantine and all these Roman emperors started taking power over the Church, and declaring themselves with the authority to change the Bible, things started to change. As for my proof of the way the Bible has been changed, I believe I have already posted a link exposing the contrasts.

And that effectively sums up your position: blind Catholic-bashing without much understanding of history.

It surprises me that you say this without knowing the history yourself. At several points in history, the pope had power to dictate even secular affairs such as politics, and was even more powerful than the kings.

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As for your 2nd assertion, I'm assuming you mean Catholics. Otherwise, show me the proof.

"the words of the Bible should not be taken as the final revelation of God."

-- Ted Hoare, from Quaker.org

The Bible was written by men under divine influence, but nonetheless, mere men.

That's irrelevant.

Why, because it disproves your ignorant prejudices about Catholicism?

I speak not upon the religious leaders who followed Paul because at that time, Christianity was in its very original form (like it's supposed to be) and definitely not in a Catholic one.

The term "Catholic" as we understand it was in wide use by the 2nd Century, which is exactly the time period we are discussing. "Catholic" merely means "orthodox."

Ever since Constantine and all these Roman emperors started taking power over the Church

When did Constantine ever do this? Constantine was a convert, not a priest. Give an example.

It surprises me that you say this without knowing the history yourself.

Farrius, until I corrected you:

1) You had never heard of the Council of Trent

2) You did not know what "catholic" meant

3) You did not know at what date the Catholic Church originated

4) You believed that the Emperor Constantine had power over the Church

5) You asserted that the Catholic Church had "always been about power"

6) You believed that the Papacy re-wrote the Bible (still waiting for some examples of this, the site you gave has none)

Now, until you can even get the basic facts and terminology straight I would be careful before levelling accusations of ignorance, if I were you. Please, go read some books on Christian history and get back to us when you have a rough outline of events.

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I repeat, when it comes to religion, you cannot change one's opinion with facts or arguments. Mr. Farrius sees what he believes to be corruption and speaks against it. However, his arguments will only enrage a Catholic who will only argue with him. Hugo hears an accusation against his church and stands to defend his faith. However, his statements will only enrage the protestant, who will then simply argue all the more against him. Each side is trying to do something good, whether it be to try to destroy corruption that he sees, or to defend the faith he believes in. However, both sides are merely angering the other. Each side has been ready to stop the bickering at various times, but then the other side was quick to step in and perpetuate the argument. Now I'm not going to argue for or against the Catholic Church, or for or against Protestantism. I have my own beliefs in this matter, but that's not what I want to discuss right now. I only wish both sides would be far more tolerant of the other.

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Hugo hears an accusation against his church and stands to defend his faith.

I'm not a Catholic. I simply do not bear a grudge against them for things they have not done! What we are discussing here is not spirituality but history, and Farrius simply has it all wrong.

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Hugo, My apologies. I thought you were a Catholic. My point does still stand, that while Hugo may not be a Catholic, he still is trying to do something good, although it may not have the best results. In these arguements, both sides usually have good intentions, whether it be to fight what one sees as corruption, or to defend a faith from what one believes to be an un-just accusation. However, the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Most of the time, these arguements do far more harm than help. As for your comment on us discussing history, not spirituality, I did not start this discussion to talk about history, I started this discussion to talk about hate between religions and what can be done about it.

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In these arguements, both sides usually have good intentions, whether it be to fight what one sees as corruption, or to defend a faith from what one believes to be an un-just accusation.  However, the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  Most of the time, these arguements do far more harm than help.  As for your comment on us discussing history, not spirituality, I did not start this discussion to talk about history, I started this discussion to talk about hate between religions and what can be done about it.

As Jesus said, He came with a sword that divides even families, so it should not surprise us that Christians are divided among themselves. Historically, this was already the case even while Christ still walked this earth, as factionalism reared its ugly head even among His disciples. It's human nature.

I do agree that these divisions and argumentations do a lot of harm for the Christian cause, and people who are so inclined will take advantage of it for their purposes. It certainly weakens the Christian message of peace and love and brotherhood, and I have wondered like you why God would allow such setbacks to the spread of the Gospel.

I have come to believe that when God allows evil to happen, it is only because He is able to redeem it by drawing a greater good. When it comes to these divisions among Christian sects, I do see one upside: it has spurred the more sincere denominations to dig deeper and look farther. Natural human competitiveness works to refuel evangelical fervor. Argumentation serves to purify and extend our beliefs, as God is so pure and infinite that we can never quite plumb the extent of His truths till the end of time. Questioning and challenges encourage us to revisit and renew our heritage for each generation. Otherwise, complacency will kick in, and perhaps stagnation.

But we also gain comfort from Jesus' prayer for unity before He ascended into heaven, which we are sure is answered by His father. We just need to cooperate to make it happen. This means first recognizing that what unites us (Jesus Christ) is way greater than what divides us, so we need to fix our eyes on Him. And then recognizing the giftedness of each other and appreciating what each brings to the table. For Catholics, their Eucharistic centering. For Bible Christians, their Scriptural focus. And so on.

Just like the world's resources are geographically spread so that we can meet everyone's needs by trade and aid, I think God makes a point of not letting one person have a monopoly on the whole of truth, lest anyone be tempted to boast or set himself up as God, and so we can all come together humbly in need to piece this awesome puzzle together.

I don't think we need to distinguish between history and spirituality here, as God also speaks through history. We just need to make sure it is history based on best available facts, in full context, not the revisionist rehashings that prop up many current prejudices.

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Good post. Was Jesus real ? Did he live ? If so why no proof of his existence ? Is he a Christian invention akin to Roman and Greek idealism of their gods as men ? Was he the world's first marxist and communist ? Is Christianity not fractured because Christ and the 1000 years of biblical writing to form the bible are so contradictory and at times incomprehensible? Was Christ not a nationalist looking to invert his world in which the poor would control society ?

Is this not the lesson of Christianity - the fact that a universal truth does not exist and that debate and conjecture lead to some firm realisation of what the world is really about ? In this light is not the Church another instrument of control and power centralisation ?

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Good post. Was Jesus real ? Did he live ? If so why no proof of his existence ? Is he a Christian invention akin to Roman and Greek idealism of their gods as men ?

I think there is some historical proof of his existence. If I'm not mistaken, a Roman wrote of his crucifiction.

Google search....

Catholic Study Page

Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian (37-97 AD), writes: "At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders."

Was he the world's first marxist and communist ?

He certainly criticized materialism, and encouraged giving to the poor and lived a communal lifestyle.

Is Christianity not fractured because Christ and the 1000 years of biblical writing to form the bible are so contradictory and at times incomprehensible? Was Christ not a nationalist looking to invert his world in which the poor would control society ?

The inital fracture happened with Luther... very complicated topic.

Is this not the lesson of Christianity - the fact that a universal truth does not exist and that debate and conjecture lead to some firm realisation of what the world is really about ? In this light is not the Church another instrument of control and power centralisation ?

Wow. I'd say the lesson is that humans are born into sin, and it's up to each individual to be the best person they can. Summed up in the Golden Rule:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you," Jesus said, "do ye even so to them…" (Matt. 7: 12)

It's a great cornerstone upon which to build a civil society. Jesus, I think, evolved this idea from Rabbi Hillel who said:

"That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow."

But Jesus' words are more positive, imploring people to go beyond "not doing despicable things" and to treat people as you would have them treat you.

I'm not any kind of biblical scholar, but I believe that this is how the Christian philosophy evolved. The degree to which it was adopted in day-to-day life in Europe is probably unknown, but it still stands today as a common understanding of decent behavior.

Thus, even atheists and agnostics such as myself can call themselves Christian if they profess to follow Jesus' central message.

Christian Atheism. It is possible.

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