Topic Description: Read and u will fidn out
Topic Description: Read and u will fidn out
-Doesn't the whole concept of Jesus dying to save us and forgiveness and confession and everything make being good redundant? Hypothetically, say I went out and trashed an orphanage or whatever. But then I have a think and I realize it was a shit thing to do, so I pray for forgiveness or go see a priest (or whatever your belief prescribes for such situations). Wouldn't my sins then be absolved? So as long as I have the capacity to feel regret for my actions in hindsight, why should I bother taking preventative action?
OK so I'm going to attempt to answer some of these questions, I'll admit some of them are a bit beyond what I know, however, I was brought up religious and have studied the bible... yes, studied being the word.
It doesn't make being good redundant at all really. The idea is that if you should sin (heaven forbid), you should feel regret, shame and want to repent for the sinning action. Seeking forgiveness is intended to mean that you have no intent on sinning again, you are truly remorseful for your actions, and are repulsed by your actions. It is not some easy oh, hey, I sinned...feel really bad, forgive me? Ok here's your penance. The idea is that once you have sought forgiveness for a sin, this sin would not repeat itself. But at the same time, it also acknowledges and follows the teachings of Jesus, that we are all human, and we will make mistakes. Those mistakes should not condemn us for eternity to hell, if we honestly feel remorse and shame, and we do not take pride in our sins.
-Why is being gay generally seen as a bad thing? I'm aware that the Bible says something about 'no men shall lie together as they would with a women' (sorry for butchering the text) but does it explain why this is forbidden? Also, premarital sex?
Leviticus 20:13 (RSV): "If a man lies with a male, as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them."
Basically the idea of a man having sex with another man is an abomination, not because God made Adam and Eve (although that does play some part) or because it is seen as unnatural, but mainly because they are having sex for pleasure. Having sex for pleasure, by most Christian and many other faiths, is seen as wrong. Sex is an unclean ritual, and the only reason sex should ever be engaged is for the purpose of reproduction. Only a man and a woman are capable of reproducing, thus lying with a man, as with a woman, is a sin because the purpose of the sexual act is not to reproduce.
Strictly speaking, and by the view of many followers and those who hold positions within the church, being 'gay' is not exactly a sin. They do hold that there is likely something wrong in the mind, but simply identifying as gay is not considered a sin to them. The modern view of the Catholic church at least, suggests that this is the case. The sin however, lies in being PROUD (one of the seven deadly sins) of being gay, as well as acting on your feelings in a sexual manner. That is the sin, not simply identifying as gay. Therefore, if you identified as gay, were ashamed of it, and never acted upon homosexual feelings with someone of the same sex, then you have not sinned. There are other passages in the bible that...for lack of a better word, imply being gay is a sin full stop. But like many other passages, we choose to ignore them with the aim of looking a little more friendly .
OK pre-marital sex is a big one. There is a lot more covering this than there is homosexuality... so I will take a verse from the Old and New Testament, and go from there. My choice is perhaps, the more succinct verse in the Old testament, the others are a little bit violent and they will undoubtedly lead to some misunderstanding of the moral they are merely trying to preach. So I'm avoiding trouble there, and doing a good old Catholic intentional oversight.
Proverbs 5:15-21 "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer - may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife? For a man's way are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths."
I'll start by explaining this. In the time the Old Testament was written, marriage was a contract between the Father and the potential Husband. The woman, as a result of her position given by Eve, her choice in the matter was extremely limited. As part of the marriage contract, the Father must be selling his daughter to the potential Husband, as pure. This is because the teachings of the time taught that if she is young, then she is your sister, if she is old, then she is your mother. Obviously not biologically speaking, but it goes to the concept of Lust (another of the seven deadly sins), unless you are married to her, she is like family, and must be treated with purity. It was a testament to the times, as such, that pre-marital sex was so frowned upon. It means that the contract was invalid, because essentially, the Father has deceived the potential Husband, because in marriage, your wife must be pure. It was merely a standard, and value of the time. The church views this as a standard that should be upheld now, because it prevents any acts of lust. Lust is a sin... so I hope that ties that together all nice and neatly!
1 Thessalonians 4:2-8 "For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; for each of you should learn to acquire a wife in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this manner no one should cheat his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a Holy life. Therefore he who rejects this instructions does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit."
Ok this is straightforward, thanks to build up of the Old Testament. Jesus challenged many existant views from the OT, but one thing that was never compromised were the seven deadly sins. Pre-marital sex is considered here, as a response to lust, acting out of passion, not out of reason. Thus, if you want sex, and find yourself craving it, you should find a wife to avoid sexual sin. Your choice in wife should be solely determined with reason, and the voice of lust should not be heard. Simple, again its about lust... not so much about purity, so it goes to the same end that Christianity still maintain the pre-marital sex beliefs.
-From what I understand the Old Testament is very damning and harsh, and the New Testament has far more to do with peace and love; this is because Jesus came along with such messages, right? But if Jesus is the son of God and carries out his will, then can't it be deduced that God himself is into peace and love? So how come for the first however many years he was so judgmental?
This one is a little difficult to explain, and go into details, so I'll try and be concise. Basically, this is a very common, and completely acceptable misconception of the Bible. The God in the OT and NT are one and the same. God still strongly detests the same things, hence why Jesus is quoted Matthew 19:16-17 "Keep the Commandments". Nothing actually new or different about God changed until the last 72 hours of Jesus' life. Jesus was put on this earth, as the scripture goes, because the people were so incapable of leading a holy life in the image of God Himself. Jesus' role was to help people, particularly the sinners, 'see the light' so to speak. To correct the error of their ways!
It was God's action to try and maintain order...to maintain the sanctity of life if you will, because the time was corrupt and his Word so misconstrued and mistaken, that life was no longer in His image. Jesus' death merely revealed that he was dying for these sins, in essence, and I'll be shot down for this, it was kind of like Jesus was giving up, and so was God. It's like they realised, that these people were going to continue to Sin. Jesus provided the avenue for them to do so, so long as they realised they were doing something wrong, maintained their faith - and were repentant. There was nothing different about God, he still, and continues to, detest all these Sins strongly. Refer to the first point.
-How do you know you've chosen the right God/religion? From what people have said it's just something you intrinsically know... but people in other denominations obviously feel the same way. So... who is right? Or do you think the concept isn't as concrete as that?
This one is pretty simple for me to answer, and this won't require any quotes from scripture. The Christian branches of religion today believe in one God. They acknolwedge that most, or at least the predominant religions of the world, also worship the one God. Of those religions they all follow a very similar scripture, with very similar teachings, morals and values. Hence, the church today believe that most religions of the world are equally as valid, and respectable. Pope John Paul II was renowned for his peace-making so to speak, with the worlds religions, all on this one fact - we worship the ONE God, and based on the scriptures, there's every chance its the same. That's about the most this question can be explained, because for the most part, faith and belief are very intrinsic, as your question suggests...so obviously it's not very concrete, but its the best answer you'll get.
-Worshiping false idols is a sin. What about saints? How can anyone be sure that they were for real? And even if they were, wouldn't praying to them be worshiping a false idol as they are not God?
I asked this question once in my religion class in Year 10. Fortunately my teacher at the time was not just someone who was religious, but was more of a scholar in the area of biblical scriptures. His answer was simple, Saints are assessed by the institution that resides in the Vatican City...their assessment is to determine if these 'Saints' or potential Saints more accurately, lived their lives in His image. If they did, and were exemplary in this area, then they are deemed Saints. By worshipping Saints, you are essentially worshipping God, because they're life is a replica of His image, so it's seen as ...a messenger, a stop along the way kind of thing. If for some reason you were worshipping a Saint that didn't adhere to His image for the entirety of their lives, then it is not your sin. If indeed they were a Saint, then someone else has sinned along the way, otherwise they would not have been determined a Saint.
-How come Mary was chosen to be Jesus' mother? I get that she was pure and all, but I doubt she was the only pure women in the whole world. Did she have some defining characteristic?
Ok...this kind of goes to the geneology of Mary. So if I stuff this up, I apologise. There wasn't something about Mary (hah, pun!), or characteristic of her personality as such that made her the ideal candidate of bearing God's child. No, no, no...it was her family!
Mary was of Davidic descent, as the Gospel of Luke would tell you... Anne and Joachim were her parents. Joachim belonged to the royal family of David, while Anne (or Anna) was descendant of the priestly family of Aaron. Joseph, the stand-in father of Jesus, was supposed to be as the Gospel of Luke tells it, of the house and family of David... see what's happening?
This means that Christ, as the son of Mary and Joseph, who was born without intervention of man, would be the Eternal King and Priest from and royal and priestly family. Basically, it was about legitimate power, given the family's ancestry, there could be no question, or at least should be no question, to the legitimacy of Jesus. Bearing in mind, he wasn't the actual son of Joseph... there is something I should be saying here about the angel Gabriel, but I've completely forgotten it, but I think you get the point.
I also have a question to add (which I've stolen from someone else, but I'm still interested to hear the answer). It's a little more about prayer but anyway: Why won't God heal amputees?
Haha Luke! I love it... The problem with this question is that it views being an amputee as a bad thing... I need to quote scripture again.
Matthew 5:29-30 "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell..."
There is reasoning in there, that removing a limb or body part, prevents the spread of virus, disease etc. Your whole body has not been consumed, so you can be saved. If you are an amputee, you have been healed. That's the logic behind God not healing amputees, because they have been healed, that is why they are amputees. Rather than condemn the whole body, remove a part, and deal with it basically
Dec 4 2008, 10:10 PM
So, if I wanted to twist that statement a little, amputated limbs will burn in hell...
But seriously, I didn't even have a question and that helped me understand the bible better.
Seriously, wow. You guys are absolutely awesome. Thank you so much for those responses I really feel like a lot of stuff has been cleared up for me about the Bible and Christianity in general. Thanks a heap for explaining those Biblical passages for me, and putting so much thought into it. I think I understand it all a fair bit better now, and I'm definitely going to check out the suggested books. Guess I know where to go next time I have some theological queries Talking of which...
*super ignorance time* What're the differences between the various types (I know there's a much better word but you get my drift) of Christianity? (Like Catholic, Baptist, Anglican etc).
And just to throw something out for people who aren't interested in all the above stuff: what do you think of religions/spiritual practices that are pagan and/or relatively new and/or polytheistic etc? (Just to clarify: I know that paganism as such can hardly be considered "relatively new", I guess that's definitely an "or". I'm sort of talking about belief systems like Wicca, Satanism etc.)
Once again, thanks so much for those incredible, detailed responses <3
Most of the different groups (sects?) of Christianity are things that occured when a political figure decided that the current situation was wrong. For example, the first (I think) major break-off group was the Lutherans, which is basically what started protestant Christianity. Basically, Martin Luther, a german, decided that the catholic church was doing a whole lot of things wrong - foremost among them, letting people "buy" their way out of sins. So, he took a look at the Good Book, decided how he should interpret it, and worked based on those principles.
So, back to the question;
Most of the sections are just different interpretations of the Bible, some of them by people who felt that we needed more freedoms, and others by people who felt that the current church(es) of their time were wrong. So they are all still following the same God, just following a little differently.
As to specifics, I can't give too much detail, but wikipedia probably can...
Fridgemagnet is right... most sects under the branch of Christianity merely have a different Head of Church, and sometimes a slightly different view of things. It's usually pretty insignificant differences...for example, the Anglican Church (aka Church of England) is headed by the Crown. The main difference, at least these days, is one extra line on the Our Father prayer, and they're a little more open to things like homosexuality, and females in the 'priesthood' so to speak, although they're Reverends in the Anglican church. Divorce is also a less frowned upon, that was because the entire institution of the Anglican Church was practically founded for that purpose, go Henry you good thing!
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