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As a Christian I have a difficult time understanding... - Page 9

post #161 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
Really. Yet you seem so certain that the Catholic Church was in the right. How interesting.

I mean, I am aware of the two major issues on a surface level (papal submission and the filioque) but yes, it would seem that the Church is the one in the right when you have a group that is rejecting a part of Her dogma. I mean, that is the defintion of heresy (Greek - meaning 'to choose') and so if a group is 'choosing' then I think it would be better to stay with the Church, not separate.
post #162 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasL View Post
I am glad you brought up the visions or experiences of Hell. Yes it is true there are some very distressing NDEs involving a hellish enviroment but in all these cases they had a very negative state of mind and the power to manifest feelings or thoughts is very powerful there. The difference in these cases versus church doctrine was these people were rescued as soon as they called out for help. Read the case of Howard Storm by googling his name. Other NDERs who witnessed others suffering in Hell had the strong impression that all these souls had to do was choose not to be there. Basically it was a self created reality. As for the Devil if there is such as thing it was created collectively by thoughts. Thoughts are things. One question no one has been able to answer when I asked is if there really is a devil why was'nt the devil cast into some far away galaxy where it would have been all alone with his fellow trouble makers and have been unable to corrupt God's creation?

I want to add one more thing about NDEs and Hell. One experiencer who went to the light thought he deserved Hell. God told him there is no such place. The soul insisted that he need to fry himself because of his sins so the light told him to create his own Hell which the soul did. When he got tired of frying himself he said to the light that there really is no Hell is there? The light responded with humor and said that's right.
That story above was pretty funny.

I used to have books on NDE's and alien abductions and all sorts of New Age stuff back in my pre-Catholic days.

One of the hallmarks of New Age thought is the denial of absolute reality and absolute truth. There is no reality as far as the New Age theory goes, which is a denial of creation itself. Hell is just as much an actual place as the earth and the sun and the moon and the stars and everything else that God created. Why would it be so hard to grasp that He made Hell when He made everything else here? It is not "self"-created, but it is self-chosen, if you will, and Catholic theology has always been very clear about that. In other words, God doesn't "send" you to Hell - you literally "send" yourself there by choosing to reject Him and reject His word. Again, an aping of the original doctrine on the part of the New Age.

The devil himself is also a being created by God, not some mystical creation of collective thought - but, a real being. And he is a fallen creature that no longer has his original glory, because he (Lucifer) chose not to serve.

God did create a place where He sent the devil and his angels to be far away from the world (underneath, not above in the heavens - so, no galaxy far away) but He did not promise that the world would be purged from its fallen state until Christ's return. Hence, the reason why the devil and his demons are still here corrupting God's fallen world. The Bible calls him the prince of this world for that reason, but he is only allowed such actions as God wills it, and God promised there is a finite amount of time before the end of days for this to occur.
post #163 of 251
And I just have to comment on something...

If you don't believe what you believe is the full truth, why believe it?

Yes, I believe the Catholic Church is the ONE and ONLY true Church, or else why would I bother?

That doesn't mean I don't support and respect the right of others to find their own path and it doesn't mean that I look down on others who are not Catholic or pity those who don't believe what I do.

But it seems weird to think people should believe what they do, but then also believe that there way is not the right way.

Just as others here believe there are multiple ways, but believe saying ONE way is not right. It doesn't make sense.
post #164 of 251
Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to Hell?
post #165 of 251
Okay, so I'm only halfway through this thread now, but I can't read any more without posting.

First of all, and this might set me on fire - oh well, there is no reason to constantly use the pronouns "He" or "Him" when referring to God. There is no solid biblical reference to back up the privileging of the male aspect of God, just as there is no need to only refer to one of the God-heads (if you're a Trinitarian, that is).

Why is this important in this context, you ask? Because we Christians are SO BUSY setting up, reiterating, inventing BARRIERS to Christ and the life of Christ (i.e. "laws" on homosexuality, marriage, dress, AND gender privilege, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum) that we forget that the only things that God reveals about God's self in the Bible are 1) That God is the "I Am" (meaning, in my humble and fearful opinion, that God exists in a way so separate from our ability to know God's nature that we should just rest in the pure existence of its greatness), 2) that we are supposed to WALK LIKE JESUS - which means: feed the poor, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and in doing that, be ready to give an answer for the HOPE that is in you. And what does that HOPE look like? To me, HOPE looks something like a God that has mercy, not just on a reprobate like me, but on every other reprobate that has every kicked the dirt of this dusty planet. That's what I pray for. God have mercy.

Sistermamas, if we are Christians, or even if we are not, the story that's instructive is that of Christ on the cross. The last human act that Christ did was forgiveness. Forgiveness of a man who was a thief (and probably some other stuff too!).

Discussions like this, where language gets so harsh - primarily from the "side" that is supposedly representing the Compassionate Healer make me very sad. But I'll leave with this:

Micah 7:18-20

18 Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.

19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Peace be with you all.
post #166 of 251
Christ consistantly refered to God as His father. and He refered to himself as the bridegroom. all seems pretty gender specific to me. and this may be a bit of a stretch but when he created man in His image it was Adam. So I am not going to call God She and I am certainly not going to call God IT.

and I am not Catholic but I am pretty sure they (like the Orthodox) don't assure anyone of salvation or lack there of.
post #167 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by StacyL View Post
Because God Himself revealed this. He founded a Church, literally, physically - not "mystically" or metaphorically. He founded the One True Catholic Apostolic Church and assigned Her the task of protecting and spreading His Word throughout the world. BTW, this is why the universal language of the Church is Latin and why all documents are written by Her in Latin - to protect and be precise about the meaning of the words.
Um, actually, the New Testament was written in Greek and translated into Latin (the Vulgate) in the 4th Century (A.D.) by St. Jerome, and there is a fair amount of excellent scholarship on whether or not Jerome's methodology (though extremely erudite) was right-on. St. Augustine, Jerome's contemporary, challenged his methods, particularly with respect to the translation of the Old Testament (which, of course, was written in Hebrew). All that to say that there were about 370 years between the creation of the Vulgate and the original speaking of Christ's words. Lots of water under the bridge (culturally, historically, geographically, etc. etc. etc.). Words are MAN MADE, we must always remember that.
post #168 of 251

So don't use the pronoun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
Christ consistantly refered to God as His father. and He refered to himself as the bridegroom. all seems pretty gender specific to me. and this may be a bit of a stretch but when he created man in His image it was Adam. So I am not going to call God She and I am certainly not going to call God IT.
I think that Jesus, being FULLY HUMAN, used language of humans to explain a relationship with God - that of a parent and child - the most unconditionally loving of all relationships. I also do not agree that the image of God was fully realized in Adam - Adam was clearly incomplete. God knew that, but, I think, knew that Adam had to feel the need for Eve.

The gender issue is really, for me, about how we need, nay, insist upon putting God in box where we can comprehend God's nature. If God is God, we simply cannot. That's really the loveliness of the mystery. And, for lots of women in particular, God is not revealed as a man because men have not been good 'images of God.' I don't think it harms God's self-image if some people need to look at God as a mother. Why would it? Are we less than our husbands, or simply half of a wholeness created by God (according to your own words). God's not insecure. Finally, I choose not to use pronouns, you might have noticed. In a way, I think pausing to say - consider - just what I'm speaking about - God - every time I say the word or type it even, it causes me to reflect on God's unknowable nature and that God deigned to intervene into this world for me and all the other sinners like me.
post #169 of 251
To the OP:

I have been tossing and turning Christian doctrine that I was taught and sincerely believed in for the vast majority of my life around in my head for the past two years. I got to a point where I became very uncomfortable with Christian teachings because I had a hard time reconciling what Christian doctrine is and what I wanted it to be and admitting that they are two very different things.

After a lot of reading of the Bible and books by Christian writers, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to be actually be a Christian is if you accept the Christian doctrine, which is Christ was sent by God to be a sacrifice for humanity to cover our original sin. He is the ultimate sacrifice and because we all have original sin (darn Adam and Eve!) there is no other way to truly be in God's grace, I guess short of following all the Old Testament sacrifices, which honestly wouldn't work (per Christian belief) because Christians believe Christ's sacrifice relieved them of the old system.

The crux of it all is: Christ died for your sins, He alone covers them, there is no other way to be in God's grace unless you accept His son's sacrifice.

So. I have a very hard time accepting this is it, the only way, period. That 2/3 of the world is going to be toasty because they don't believe this. And I found that I felt rather arrogant believing in a doctrine that condemned them when I was completely ignorant of all the other major religious beliefs in the world. (No, I am not suggesting all Christians are arrogant, I just happened to feel that way about myself because my ignorance dawned on me). I no longer call myself a Christian because I can't honestly say that I accept that. And I am seriously perplexed by the many, many liberal denominations that fall under the Christian umbrella because if you read the Bible, even if you don't accept it literally, there is really no escaping that ONE thing that defines Christianity- Christ's sacrifice. Trust me, I've looked and looked hard because I don't want it to be that way. I would love to be able to get on board with a feel-good, modern, liberal form of Christianity but from my own personal reading and studies they are simply no longer Christians per the Biblical definition.

Anyway, my point in even replying is that I read through and saw the usual bickering back and forth from those who are Christians and those who aren't about the faith. Christianity is divisive, period. There is no middle ground, really. And, from what you wrote, I would say you are not a Christian based on the Biblical definition. I think a lot of people want to hang onto their Christian identity because it is easier than abandoning family traditions or even having to try and find God in some other faith system. This has been my own experience. It was PAINFUL for me the first time I admitted to myself that I wasn't a Christian - not painful because I think I am going to Hell, but painful because it is hard to leave behind something as integral and binding and culturally significant as a religion.

Best wishes and peace to you. I hope you find what you are looking for. I am still searching and sometimes I wonder if I will search forever. I hope not.
post #170 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB20005 View Post
To the OP:

There is no middle ground, really. And, from what you wrote, I would say you are not a Christian based on the Biblical definition. I think a lot of people want to hang onto their Christian identity because it is easier than abandoning family traditions or even having to try and find God in some other faith system. This has been my own experience. It was PAINFUL for me the first time I admitted to myself that I wasn't a Christian - not painful because I think I am going to Hell, but painful because it is hard to leave behind something as integral and binding and culturally significant as a religion.
FWIW I wanted to say that this is exactly where I am. I tried so hard to keep squeezing God into the Christian box, and the feeling of trepidation taking the step to say: "I'm not a Christian" after a lifetime of being a Believer - and quite some time of being a very conservative Christian (headcovering and all). I believe n God. I believe in Christ. I do NOT believe in Christianity.

But for anyone who is trying desperately to remain a Christian despite doubts and concerns, DO check out the books of John Shelby Spong. His perspective is awesome.
post #171 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB20005 View Post
The crux of it all is: Christ died for your sins, He alone covers them, there is no other way to be in God's grace unless you accept His son's sacrifice
Disclaimer: My DD's in ICU, so this is all I've got to do right now, please bear with me.

Jeb: I respect your thoughtfulness in seeking every source to retain your faith. I made that exact quest myself, and found something I can hold on to. I believe that Christ was murdered because he lived against the powers of sin, he died to conquer death in his resurrection. Here is a book, if you're up for one more, that might be interesting to you.

A quote:

For a careful theology of atonement, we might more precisely ask, How does Christ save us? From who or what does he save us? And what does “save” mean? Secondarily, “What part did his death play in that salvation?” From there, we ask in what sense Jesus’ death was (i.) necessary, (ii.) inevitable, and (iii.) intentional.

According to the apostolic tradition, Jesus knew that he would die,(2) and that it was necessary(3) in that it was the inevitable result of ultimate obedience to his Father and the wickedness of mankind. Anselm rightly identifies the atonement question as, “Why did God become man?” One reason the Word became flesh was in order to die.(4) In becoming fully human, Christ gained access to death so that he could confront death on our behalf and defeat the tyranny of death through his own death and resurrection.

In the physical realm, his death proves inevitable as he confronts imperial and religious systems with the nonviolent message of God. In the spiritual realm, his death is intentional in that he confronts the forces of death and hades and defeats them through his resurrection.
post #172 of 251
Lilyka,

You speak the truth. God's truth. Sadly though, I think there are many who will never understand, or will choose not to follow the clear path that Jesus laid out for all of us. Jesus didn't make exceptions for anyone. He said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' I would hate to be on the wrong side of that magnificient promise.
post #173 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalkiwendy View Post
Disclaimer: My DD's in ICU, so this is all I've got to do right now, please bear with me.

Jeb: I respect your thoughtfulness in seeking every source to retain your faith. I made that exact quest myself, and found something I can hold on to. I believe that Christ was murdered because he lived against the powers of sin, he died to conquer death in his resurrection. Here is a book, if you're up for one more, that might be interesting to you.
First, I hope your daughter's health improves rapidly. Positive thoughts for you and your family.

Second, thanks for the book recommendation, I will add it to my library list. Have you read Crossan? He has some very interesting ideas about Christianity, didn't he write a book with Borg, an author that was listed as a contributor to the book you linked?
post #174 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalkiwendy View Post
Um, actually, the New Testament was written in Greek and translated into Latin (the Vulgate) in the 4th Century (A.D.) by St. Jerome, and there is a fair amount of excellent scholarship on whether or not Jerome's methodology (though extremely erudite) was right-on. St. Augustine, Jerome's contemporary, challenged his methods, particularly with respect to the translation of the Old Testament (which, of course, was written in Hebrew). All that to say that there were about 370 years between the creation of the Vulgate and the original speaking of Christ's words. Lots of water under the bridge (culturally, historically, geographically, etc. etc. etc.). Words are MAN MADE, we must always remember that.
Words are man-made, but DIVINELY inspired. We must always remember that.
post #175 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaLuvsHerBabies View Post
Lilyka,

You speak the truth. God's truth. Sadly though, I think there are many who will never understand, or will choose not to follow the clear path that Jesus laid out for all of us. Jesus didn't make exceptions for anyone. He said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' I would hate to be on the wrong side of that magnificient promise.
She writes of the truth that the books of the New Testament in the Bible claim to have. The gnostic gospels sure have a very different Jesus inside of them, though. Some might even say that things He was credited in those books to have taught were "New Age" , and at the very least mirror eastern religious teachings. Have you read any of those gospels? Sure, I know the gnostic gospels were claimed heretical by the early Christians who later became the Catholics but I wonder if their version "won" simply because they had more resources, more powerful leaders? Will we ever know? Christianity was awfully diverse in the first two centuries following Christ's death and it is easy now 2,000 years later to discount those other versions simply because their memberships were oppressed and they didn't have material resources that survived to pass them along. The early orthodox (note the lowercase "o") church waged a very successful campaign to stamp out any version of Christianity that didn't agree with their own, save for the large cache of texts at Nag Hammadi that were hidden there are almost no other original sources of these variations left.
post #176 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by StacyL View Post
That is the purpose of the Church - to be the protector of sound doctrine.
nope. I have to disagree. The purpose of the church is to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world (the Body of Christ).
post #177 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva View Post
While looking for a definition of Luciferianism I found this:

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

2 Timothy 4:3


Kinda eerie.
'kinda eerie'??...no, it's kinda TRUE! We just have to look around at all the jumbled mass of ideas/opinions/beliefs out there to see that there are many out there living in the biggest of deceptions.
post #178 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB20005 View Post
First, I hope your daughter's health improves rapidly. Positive thoughts for you and your family.

Second, thanks for the book recommendation, I will add it to my library list. Have you read Crossan? He has some very interesting ideas about Christianity, didn't he write a book with Borg, an author that was listed as a contributor to the book you linked?
Thanks! I'm hoping we'll be moved to a regular room tomorrow morning. :

I haven't read any books by him, but he does tours, or pilgrimages, with Borg, doesn't he? That would be interesting! Doesn't he do the Dead Sea pilgrimages? I'll have to look that up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB20005 View Post
Have you read any of those gospels? Sure, I know the gnostic gospels were claimed heretical by the early Christians who later became the Catholics but I wonder if their version "won" simply because they had more resources, more powerful leaders? Will we ever know? Christianity was awfully diverse in the first two centuries following Christ's death and it is easy now 2,000 years later to discount those other versions simply because they didn't have practitioners who survived to pass them along.
I think you're dead on here. While I'm not so into the gnostic view of Jesus' divinity, I do think there are some interesting parts.
post #179 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalkiwendy View Post

I haven't read any books by him, but he does tours, or pilgrimages, with Borg, doesn't he? That would be interesting! Doesn't he do the Dead Sea pilgrimages? I'll have to look that up.



I think you're dead on here. While I'm not so into the gnostic view of Jesus' divinity, I do think there are some interesting parts.
First, now that I think about it I think Crossan and Borg are both part of the Jesus Seminar? Maybe both founding members? I don't know for sure, though.

I don't subscribe to the gnostic version of Jesus either, I just think it is important to point out that the Christianity that I wrote about in my first post in this thread is the version that survived.
post #180 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB20005 View Post
First, now that I think about it I think Crossan and Borg are both part of the Jesus Seminar? Maybe both founding members? I don't know for sure, though.

I don't subscribe to the gnostic version of Jesus either, I just think it is important to point out that the Christianity that I wrote about in my first post in this thread is the version that survived.
Crossan was, I don't think Borg was (he was on Star Trek, right? ), but I could be wrong. Now, you're getting me all excited. I'm going to have to go back to look at my notes on the Jesus Seminar. Fun, fun! I really like a lot of their ideas, though I think they've fallen out of "fashion" with contemporary theologians. I'm pretty interested in their work as it intersects with liberation theology.

Anyhow, sorry OP - I got WAY off topic.
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