long rambling Bible question for Catholics - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 10-26-2002, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering what happened to boysrus? She started the questions about God thread and hasn't been back.

Anyway, I have an issue from the Bible I have been meditating on. It goes from more general to specific. I hope some Christians/Catholics will want to comment.

First of all, the law was given to Moses in the OT. I would say all Christians are familiar with part of them, namely, the 10 commandments. But of course, if you read Exodus, Leviticus, you will find many other laws the Israelites were required to follow, acc to God. Dietary laws, laws of how to sacrifice, how to dress, etc.

Moving on to the NT. When asked by a young man in Matt 19, Jesus reiterated 6 of the 10 commandments, and added two (eg: love thy neighbor as thyself, sell all you have and give to the poor).

Earlier in Matt, namely 5:17, Jesus says this: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Now, he says not one letter or dot of *the Law* should disappear until heaven and earth pass away. Why do Christians discount these words of Christ? Obviously, no Christians try to keep the laws of Moses, except for the 10 commandments. (in fact, i believe BB has told us, much of the Law does not even appear in our OT.) I understand Paul said something about us no longer being under the Law, but Grace. But Jesus himself said to keep the Law, so why do Christians listen to Paul over JC?

Final part of question/meditation: note that when Jesus reiterates the commandments for the rich young man, he does not list all 10 of them. To "enter life" he advises:

" 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,'[4] and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'[5] "

and:

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

So, to get specific, JC does not bother with the graven images commandment, namely:

Ex 20: 4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below"

Catholic churches are famous for their beautiful carvings and statues of JC, Mary, saints and martyrs. Can they get away with this, because they feel it wasn't important to JC that there be no graven images? In the Lutheran churches I attended as a child, we had a plain cross over the altar (not a crucifix), but we did have stained glass windows depicting various people and critters from the earth and sea.

So, my questions are: What about the law? JC said it should still be obeyed. What about graven images specifically? How do Catholics and others feel justified in having them in their churches?

thank you,
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#2 of 12 Old 10-27-2002, 01:33 AM
 
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hi, I am here! I have no real answers for these questions as I, too, am struggling with the old testament. I did not mean to "post and run" but I have three little boys and they keep me very busy!! most of my internet time is spent in read only mode while nursing or lying next to a sleeping toddler! SInce lifting my arm to type over him while he is sleeping is akward adn causes him to wake up and has been giving my carpal tunnel(!) I just dont have much time to say anything. TOnight I have been successful in moving next to him, thus freeing up my hands to type!

All I can say about your questions is that the graven images thing has been really bothering me lately. People explain it away by saying that he means not to build up other things as idols(I think that is the explanation I have received) but I think that is twisting scripture.
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#3 of 12 Old 10-27-2002, 05:39 PM
 
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Read your Joseph Campbell. He was Catholic and remained so.

The images are only a guide, a marker pointing to what is behind the image--the meaning. The statues, windows, etc are the Not the objects of worship. They point to that which is.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#4 of 12 Old 10-27-2002, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I know that, but I was wondering what church doctrine said. I guess you are telling me it (the Catholic Church)says the objects are not the god, just the markers. So, in the OT (again, 3rd hand translation of a part of Jewish teaching), it seems to be saying the Canaanites are thought, by God, to be worshipping the actual stone and metal, whereas , in the NT, JC understood the concept of the marker, the symbol.

To this day, as far as I know, Jewish synogogues and Muslim mosques too, for that matter, do not allow statues or depictions of humans in them. The mosques have geometric patterns, I believe, floral patterns, and calligraphy as decoration, but still no "graven images."

I did not know Jos Campbell remained a Catholic until he died. He seemed quite enamored of Eastern thought in the video series.
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#5 of 12 Old 10-27-2002, 10:18 PM
 
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The Catholic church views statues, etc. as reminders. Like if you have a grandfather you really loved and you kept a picture of him next to your bed after he passed away...you wouldn't love the picture, you would love your grandfather. But that picture would be there to make you think of him every day. We still honor the 10 commandments as in the OT. It would be against Catholic teaching to pray TO a statue. You pray TO God. But a statue can serve as a reminder. On that, we also do not pray TO saints, but Catholics can ask a saint to pray FOR us. Same way any other Christian might ask someone else to pray for them. And the Catholic church uses the image of Jesus on the cross to remind us of what is most important...that he DIED for us.

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#6 of 12 Old 10-27-2002, 10:42 PM
 
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I assume Jesus knew that nonjews are required only to keep the 7 noahide laws. Does anyone know where that idea got lost in Christian teaching? Do the actual words of the NT ignore this?
Sorry, Daryl for the thread hijack.

-BelovedBird

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#7 of 12 Old 10-28-2002, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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BB--

Never heard of the 7 noahide laws. Many early Christians were Jewish, so I don't know if Jesus made the distinction.
What are they? Not the same ones as I listed above? This is relevvant to the thread, b/c I also asked what people make of Jesus saying none of the law shall pass away.

So, Catholics, you are saying, and I agree, by the way, that you understand the statues in your churches are not there to be worshipped, but as markers. But, of course, the Protestant churches take it all more literally, don't they? Wonder why?
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#8 of 12 Old 10-28-2002, 08:47 AM
 
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The 7 noahide laws:

1.Idolatry is forbidden. Man is commanded to believe in the One G-d alone and worship only Him.

2.Incestuous and adulterous relations are forbidden. Human beings are not sexual objects, nor is pleasure the ultimate goal of life.

3.Murder is forbidden. The life of a human being, formed in G-d's image, is sacred.

4.Cursing the name of G-d is forbidden. Besides honoring and respecting G-d, we learn from this precept that our speech must be sanctified, as that is the distinctive sign which separated man from the animals.

5.Theft is forbidden. The world is not ours to do with as we please.

6.Eating the flesh of a living animal is forbidden. This teaches us to be sensitive to cruelty to animals. (This was commanded to Noah for the first time along with the permission of eating meat. The rest were already given to Adam in the Garden of Eden.)

7.Mankind is commanded to establish courts of justice and a just social order to enforce the first six laws and enact any other useful laws or customs

-BelovedBird

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#9 of 12 Old 10-28-2002, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi BB--

Well, I did a check to see if your noahide laws bore any resemblance to what Jesus taught were the requirements for mankind.

The only ones in common were: no murder, stealing and adultery.

Jesus adds: no lying, honoring mom and dad, loving your neighbor as yourself, and giving to the poor.

The noahides add: no cursing G-d, no idolatry (only one true G-d), no eating live animals, establishment of courts.

Interesting how one of the laws, for non-Jews, is to worship the one true G-d! That one gives me a headache. Oh well, I'm used to it.
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#10 of 12 Old 10-28-2002, 03:00 PM
 
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A minor point, DaryLLL, and not sure if I misread your post, but the love-your-neighbor thing is not a new JC teaching; it's in the "OT" too, ve'ahavta l'reyakha kamokha.

- Amy
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#11 of 12 Old 12-17-2002, 04:41 PM
 
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Bump For info on noahidism.

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#12 of 12 Old 12-18-2002, 07:53 AM
 
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Celestial. I am not sure what your point is. Mine is that the 613 mitzvos including the 10 dibros were given to jews alone. Gentiles are in no way commanded to uphold them. The 6 laws given to Adam and the additional 7th given to Noah as he left the ark are all that is binding on nonjews in our view.

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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