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Old 03-07-2004, 01:27 AM
 
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Dado:

You are right that all Christian Tradition is, at its source, oral. Could hardly be otherwise, since Christ left no writings, only oral teachings. You're also right that the Descent into Hell is a common story in several pre-Christian religions, and for pretty much the reason you cited: it's a really good story!

Your observation that the Bible is a "fallible list of infallible documents" is exactly what sola scriptura Protestants believe. (At least, that's exactly what Scott Hahn said his Protestant pastor taught him in Rome Sweet Home. I Googled the phrase, and got no hits.) At any rate, it is the logical deduction from the sola scriptura doctrine.

But Catholics believe that one "tradition has an infallible document listing the canon." Naturally, it's their own. The canon of Scripture was fixed in its current form by Pope Damasus I in 374 (it's sometimes called the "Damasan Canon" for that reason). Even so, it was not defined infallibly until the Council of Trent did so in 1546. Ever since that date, Catholics have what they believe to be an infallible list of infallible documents.

EDITING TO ADD: I found out the precise wording Protestants use is "fallible collection of infallible books." Do a Google search for "fallible collection of infallible books" and you get quite a few discussions of this issue, from both sides.
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Old 03-07-2004, 02:33 AM
 
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Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, but an important thing to keep in mind in discussions like this one is how very recent our level of literacy is. Most people who considered themselves to be Christians for most of history could not read or write at any meaningful level. How do you convert the illiterate? And even more to the point, how do the quasi-literate convert the illiterate? Not by sola scriptura, that's for sure. The whole concept of bringing every point of Christian belief back to something you can find in a text is a post-Reformation, post-printing press concept. It only makes sense in the context of both near-universal literacy and near universal availability of the sacred texts.
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Old 03-07-2004, 10:42 AM
 
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That is why we have had temples, synagogues, and churches. So those with learning could preach the message to the illiterate. Paintings and statues and stained glass also serve in this purpose as teaching tools.

Unfortunately, even now, when most of the Western world is literate, they still don't really read and understand their texts. Too unintelligent and lazy.

What percentage of "Christians" in this country have actually read the entire Book front to back, and sought different ways to make sense of its esoteric code?
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Old 03-07-2004, 12:33 PM
 
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Every now and again the Gallup organization polls Americans about not just religious profession (What religion do you say you believe?) but also religious knowledge (Have you read the Bible? Who preached the Sermon on the Mount?). The results are always pretty much in accord with DaryLLL's worst fears. In 1997, George Gallup said, "The stark fact is, most Americans don't know what they believe or why." I can't access the actual poll results on Gallup.com, because they're "subscriber only" pages. But I got some of the results from reports in the news media.

80 percent of Americans believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

20 percent of Americans have read the whole Bible.

17 percent of Americans read the Bible daily.

50 percent of Americans read the Bible rarely, or never.
Of those: 59 percent said they "didn't have time," and 40 percent said the Bible was "too hard to understand."
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Old 03-07-2004, 12:54 PM
 
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Agreed. Sometimes I can have better conversations about Christianity with non-believers than with believers--in spite of having to go away and have a good scream afterward :LOL. It seems that most church-people are content with being bottle fed the "formulas" rather than desiring the true milk and meat of the Word (if I may mix my metaphors and verses and things).

That is why, btw, I have no problems with things like icons and statues and stained glass windows depicting the life of Jesus and the saints. At the very least they spark the imagination. At most Iwould hope they make one think deeply about what they represent.

I've always thought that if you didn't know why you believed what you do (or not) then what you believe is rather pointless because it doesn't mean enough to you for you to ask hard questions of it and expect answers whether they are to your satisfaction or not.
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Old 03-07-2004, 01:08 PM
 
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Thanks for the stats, Sean.I know this is very OT, urklemama sending us down another rabbit hole... Actually I would question that 20% who claim to have read the entire Bible. Maybe they have read or heard a few verses preached about, but really read it all? They may say they have to save face or out of guilt.

My MIL who is a big fundie, told me recently she had never read the whole thing. She is about 70 yrs old and an ardent church goer, sunday and wednesday school goer too.

Yes, she thinks Gandhi and Mother Teresa are burning in hell as we speak. That New Agers have a big plan to wipe out all Xtianity inspired by a figure she imagines as Real called Satan.

Yet she never read the whole Bible straight thru, just in bits and pieces. So dangerous to take little verses out, out of context and get all het up about what they mean. Some kind of fear of annihilation usually.

So now she is finally reading it all, using some kind of computer plan that tells her how much to read each day...
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Old 03-07-2004, 07:19 PM
 
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Usually you have to convert people before they will build the church. Not always, but usually. But I'll just pop back down the rabbit hole.
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Old 03-08-2004, 11:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaryLLL
... and get all het up about what they mean.
Would you believe, I have never before heard of anyone being "all het up" about anything? I thought maybe it was a typo, but I looked it up, and found that 'het' really is a dialectical variant of 'heated.' But it didn't say what dialect. Is it Southern? I want to start working it into my own conversations.
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Old 03-08-2004, 12:44 PM
 
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Originally posted by Sean
Would you believe, I have never before heard of anyone being "all het up" about anything? I thought maybe it was a typo, but I looked it up, and found that 'het' really is a dialectical variant of 'heated.' But it didn't say what dialect. Is it Southern? I want to start working it into my own conversations.
I was thinking it was a New England thing - it's something my grandfather would have said

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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Old 03-08-2004, 01:46 PM
 
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Thanks for the stats Sean. It is interesting that so many Christians have not read the Bible, which proves that it is really much more of an oral tradition/religion than one might think.

I'm no theologian, but I have read the Bible through several times in a couple of versions. My dh and and my teenagers have also, yet we have had many a 'discussion' with those who haven't read it, over verses they have taken completely out of context! :

I guess if one is going to claim the Bible as a foundation to their faith, they ought to have read it.
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Old 03-08-2004, 02:08 PM
 
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Well, yeah! I mean, here you've got someone saying,

"My Creator and Lord gave me this book to instruct me about His plan for the world, and my part in it."

Great, what's it say?

"I dunno..."

As for me and my household, I've read the whole Bible. My wife hasn't yet, but then she's only been a Christian since 2001, and she's busy raising up all those arrows in my quiver. The kids aren't old enough to read anything, but the Scripture will certainly be part of their repertoire later.

T 'Het up' update: My wife read my previous post, and was amazed that I had never heard the phrase before, cuz she certainly knew it. (She's from Oklahoma.) She hinted that when the kids go to nap, I may 'find out' what it means. I hope it's good.
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Old 03-08-2004, 04:59 PM
 
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Catholicism places a huge importance on oral tradition. This is because we beleive in two sources of divine revalation instead of just one. God reveals Himself to humanity thru Sacred Scripture, but also thru Sacred Tradition. The two together are called the deposit of faith.

Okay that my Baltimore catechism talking there.

The nice thing about the Catholic liturgy is that the scriptures are worked into the Mass so that if you attend dailey mass for a certain period of time (I think its like five years or something) you will have heard the whole Bible.

The Liturgy of the Hours is also a beautiful way to pray the scriptures.

Dary LLL, your MIL's beleifs are shocking! We are not able to know for certainity if any soul is in hell. It is precisely that brand of Christianity which makes us all look so bad.
I will pray for her.
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:56 AM
 
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Wow, this thread sure has taken an interesting turn! But on the whole Catholic/Christian topic...

When I was attending university at a fundamentalist Christian school, I converted to Catholicism. I was in the process of conversion when Mother Teresa died. I lived in the dorms and didn't have my own TV, so I watched her funeral in the common room of the dorm. It was like 3 a.m. and there were a few other girls watching it with me; I didn't really know any of them. So during the funeral, many people from many different religions spoke or performed ceremonies or whathaveyou. I tried to explain to the other girls what all these religions were (try explaining Zoroastrianism to someone who's never even walked through the door of another denomination's church!) There were Orthodox Christians and I think there were even some Baptists there. So anyway, toward the end of the funeral, one girl asked in a very serious tone, "But who's representing the Christians?"

I was flabbergasted. It took me a minute to reply, "Um...Catholics *are* Christians."

She just said, "Huh," and asked no more questions. Keep in mind, this was the same campus where I heard comments like, "Mother Teresa was a good person. Too bad she's burning in hell." And they said it so darn casually, too.
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Old 03-10-2004, 02:51 AM
 
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Back to th eOP...Of course Catholics are Christians!
It never occurred to me that someone would think otherwise until I moved to the US and met fundie Christians... I couldn't believe it!

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Old 03-10-2004, 01:08 PM
 
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I gotta ask....what's the deal with Mother Theresa burning in hell? I've never heard this before......why would someone think this?
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Old 03-10-2004, 01:27 PM
 
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Because a lot of evangelicals don't know anything about catholicism they listen to half-truth and assume catholics don't know Jesus and therefore will be going to hell. It's ignorance, sometimes willful sometimes not.
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Old 04-26-2004, 09:40 AM
 
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Old 04-26-2004, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was in a Catholic bookstore Saturday & saw a book called something like -Did Adam have a Belly Button & other questions teens might ask--
I turned a few pages & saw ARE CATHOLICS CONSIDERED CHRISTIANS?

It said --Yes,Catholics are Christian BUT Not all Christians are Catholic!


Love that quote!

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momma to 4
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Old 04-26-2004, 05:00 PM
 
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Anyone that believes Jesus Christ is our saviour is a christian. Religions have different ways of doing things. But if you believe that Jesus Christ is your saviour, your religion rules and ways are different but it all leads to that one important factor.
Alot of chriatians are forgeting this important factor. If you are a christian you are not to judge no one. Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for WHATEVER point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans2:3 So when you, a mere man pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? SORRy, when I say something I have to back up with scripture. And I felt I had to say the bit about judging, I don't know why But I did.
My DH is catholic christain and I am christian. LOl if you want to put it that way.

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Yes,Catholics are Christian BUT Not all Christians are Catholic!
I like this saying too!!

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Old 05-04-2004, 12:51 PM
 
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Some of the best examples I've seen of Christians are Catholic. They clearly show God's love to others and aren't afraid to talk about Jesus. The Catholic and Orthodox churches are the original Christian churches, all others split off from them (I won't even start on who split from whom when it comes to Catholic and Orthodox, hard to say and best to stay out of it). I went to a church for a little while that believed all Catholics were going to hell, that's a major reason I left. My Godmother is Catholic and if she's not going to make it to heaven, we're all doomed! I believe faith in Christ is the key to being Christian.

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Old 05-04-2004, 01:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hilary122
The Catholic and Orthodox churches are the original Christian churches, all others split off from them.

This is incorrect. The original churches (followers of The Christ or his Way, of the type Paul wrote to) were loosely organized groups of people, who each had differing gospels (many of which were eventually left out of the final Xtian canon), met in private homes and had widely diverging beliefs.

The attempt to catholocize (universalize) the religion, or to claim orthodoxy ("straight thinking," thereby rendering others crooked) started very late in the first centruy CE but didn't really get going until the 2nd-4th centuries. And this struggle continues til this day. It was led by bishops and Roman Emperors and involved land and power grabbing.
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Old 05-04-2004, 02:01 PM
 
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Some of the best examples I've seen of Christians are Catholic.
Same here, and one of the worst too. Same for most of the rest of the denominations I've run across.

IME, people who are loving and kind use their religion to strengthen themselves in being that way. IME, people who are bigoted and hateful do the same thing.

The religion either type is expressing or twisting is almost beside the point.

"What will you do once you know?"
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Old 05-09-2004, 11:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DaryLLL
This is incorrect. The original churches (followers of The Christ or his Way, of the type Paul wrote to) were loosely organized groups of people, who each had differing gospels (many of which were eventually left out of the final Xtian canon), met in private homes and had widely diverging beliefs.

The attempt to catholocize (universalize) the religion, or to claim orthodoxy ("straight thinking," thereby rendering others crooked) started very late in the first centruy CE but didn't really get going until the 2nd-4th centuries. And this struggle continues til this day. It was led by bishops and Roman Emperors and involved land and power grabbing.
There are differing historical takes on this.

The early Christians met in houses largley to avoid persecution. There are actually secret chapels built into early Christian homes complete with alters for the celebration of the sacrifice of the mass.

Also let's keep in mind that second century Christian are still living within the parameters of the living memory of the followers of Christ. One of the requirements for historically accurate information is that the information be organized by those who have contact with people who have living memory of the events. The Gospels are actually not that far removed from the actual events. The organization of Christ's teachings is within a highly tracable short line of oral tradition, in my opinion much more reliable than historians who are out there pulling stuff out of a hat from a handful of archeological mishaps.

The great English literary figure, G.K. Chesterton once made the interesting point that people immedieatly assume from Cave drawings that "primitive" man was making some pitiful attempt at evolving into artistic and spiritual dimensions. Nobody ever looks at the ancient cave paintings and thinks that perhaps the painter was simply entertaining his child, or sitting around waiting for a deer to pass by and got bored. We forget that human nature is universal and much as modern historians love to complexify things, the reality of much history is simply the drama of human nature.
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Old 05-10-2004, 12:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Paxetbonum
There are differing historical takes on this.

The early Christians met in houses largley to avoid persecution. There are actually secret chapels built into early Christian homes complete with alters for the celebration of the sacrifice of the mass.
Actually the early Xtians spoke Greek and shared entire meals, called agapes, (mass being a Latin word) or love feasts, as Paul attests. They met in private homes b/c they were seen as off-center Jews not welcome at the Temple. After the Temple was destroyed, they dispersed as well, to places like Alexandria. The gospel spread from the Jews to the Greeks. Their persecution is highly exaggerated, it was sporadic. Before Constantine's stamp of approval, they were sometimes persecuted as rebels against the Roman gov't, not for their religious views. Their refusal to acknowledge the Roman state gods was seen as treason.


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Also let's keep in mind that second century Christian are still living within the parameters of the living memory of the followers of Christ.
This assumes a HJ and the Catholic idea of apostolic tradition, which is in question. The canonical gospels were 4 chosen out of dozens, which had differing ideas of Christ. The gospels themselves differ on many points, and were not meant ever to be seen as accurate history as we see it today. They were tracts meant to exhort about the good news of the Jewish/pagan dying and rising godman. They were also highly redacted by men with political aims in the Roman gov't.

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The organization of Christ's teachings is within a highly tracable short line of oral tradition, in my opinion much more reliable than historians who are out there pulling stuff out of a hat from a handful of archeological mishaps.
Please name your sources.

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The great English literary figure, G.K. Chesterton once made the interesting point that people immedieatly assume from Cave drawings that "primitive" man was making some pitiful attempt at evolving into artistic and spiritual dimensions. Nobody ever looks at the ancient cave paintings and thinks that perhaps the painter was simply entertaining his child, or sitting around waiting for a deer to pass by and got bored. We forget that human nature is universal and much as modern historians love to complexify things, the reality of much history is simply the drama of human nature.
I do not understand where you are going with this.
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Old 05-10-2004, 01:01 PM
 
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Nobody ever looks at the ancient cave paintings and thinks that perhaps the painter was simply entertaining his child, or sitting around waiting for a deer to pass by and got bored. We forget that human nature is universal and much as modern historians love to complexify things, the reality of much history is simply the drama of human nature.
"Nobody ever"?? wrong.

But maybe that's not the theory one hears most about because so many of the cave paintings are so deep in the cave, inaccessable except by crawling and/or climbing, that that deer could pass 10 times over, mate or have a fawn in the time it'd take that doodling "while waiting for a deer to pass by" hunter to crawl back out!:LOL Obviously not the case with all paintings, but with enough that this suggestion for all is ludicrous. Location, location, location.

Everything we do is not complex, but everything we do is not simple either.

"What will you do once you know?"
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Old 05-13-2004, 03:19 PM
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i am Catholic and Christian thank you very much!!!
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