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Old 04-03-2000, 01:34 PM   #1
Kurgan
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Arrow Cult/Creed/Ideology Poll:

Just for fun, and since we can't ever let the philosophical discussions die on this forum, I decided to take a poll of the members of these forums.

Question: What religion do you consider yourself a member of, or what creed, cult or ideology do you most closely identify yourself with? (if you consider yourself a Secular Humanist/FreeThinker/Atheist/Agnostic I'm still interested in hearing your answer)


Now without getting into any deep arguments (right away at least), or anything of that sort, or any judgements, I would simply like people, in a sentence or two (at most) to describe their category. I'm just curious as to what people here think about their own beliefs or ideals.

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Kurgan (edited April 03, 2000).]
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Old 04-03-2000, 02:33 PM   #2
Ikhnaton
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Roman Catholic
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Old 04-03-2000, 02:44 PM   #3
Vagabond
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I belong to the Cult of Personality.


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Old 04-03-2000, 03:21 PM   #4
Conor
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Thumbs up

Roman Catholic

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Old 04-03-2000, 04:10 PM   #5
theahnfahn
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Lightbulb

My decision will come shortly, with (believe it or not) an actual explanation. Until that time, may I add to this discussion Kurgan?

Who has kept the classification they grew up with? Who has followed in the steps their parents took/take? Who does more than follow behind and believe in their classification, but actually LIVES it? And foremost, why do you believe it, why would/do you live your life in that classification? I think it is fair to say all of these questions must be answered before you can call yourself a believer.

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Old 04-03-2000, 04:13 PM   #6
Vagabond
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Let me provide this small bit of advice to any would-be posters to this thread:

Quote:
Less is More
Heed these words, please. I implore you.



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Old 04-03-2000, 04:29 PM   #7
Ikhnaton
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Catholic from the cradle

still Catholic by choice.
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Old 04-03-2000, 04:44 PM   #8
theahnfahn
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Lightbulb

Vagabond:
"Less is more - Heed these words, please. I implore you."

I am not here to press my beliefs, if your statement was made to degrade my character. Kurgan was asking what classification we all go by, and I want to know the WHAT and WHY of that classification so that I too may make a choice not on what I believe but what my beliefs fit under. I admit I am ignorant when it comes to religious doctrine and creed. I can't tell the difference between Roman Catholics, Christians, Christian Scientists, etc., and is it a crime for me to pursue this knowledge? I won't post in this topic again, just so you can feel comfortable that my opinion won't ever be presented. But I still would like my questions answered, if you don't mind.

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Old 04-03-2000, 05:19 PM   #9
Vagabond
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TAF,

Quote:
...if your statement was made to degrade my character...
Not at all, man, chill. All I was doing was attempting to persuade you to not write the next revision of the Encyclopedia Brittanica in your response. Hence my statement "less is more". But hey if you must, knock yourself out. It's a free world/country.

By the way, you heard any good jokes lately?



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Old 04-03-2000, 05:35 PM   #10
theahnfahn
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Deal, I'll put my response, when it is ready, in another thread.

Ok, hopefully everyone can take this with a smile

A man who smelled like a distillery flopped on a subway seat next to a priest.
The man's tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, and a half empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket.

He opened his newspaper and began reading.

After a few minutes the disheveled guy turned to the priest and asked, "Say, Father, what causes arthritis?"

"Mister, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol and a contempt for your fellow man."

"Well, I'll be damned," the drunk muttered, returning to his paper.

The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized.

"I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong.

How long have you had arthritis?"

"I don't have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope does."


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Old 04-03-2000, 05:43 PM   #11
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LOL! That's a good one. You should post that in the Joke thread that I made. Hehe.


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Old 04-03-2000, 08:41 PM   #12
lightbulba
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Lightbulb

money ain't the only root of evil...

atheist, friend.
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...unless there's a religion that worships caffeine, technology, and obscure music. oh, i'm a geek.

[This message has been edited by lightbulba (edited April 03, 2000).]
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Old 04-03-2000, 08:51 PM   #13
Ikhnaton
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why am i not surprised?

actually the root of all evil is pride.
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Old 04-04-2000, 12:08 AM   #14
psyduck78
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So very true,

.........anyway, that Apocalypse Cult in Uganda was wierd huh? I wonder what the minister said to them?

Quote:
Here let me put this gasoline on you, so you can slip into the afterlife.
My econ teacher is wierd.
Me?, I have no real true beliefs, but I do hold an interest for biblical stories based upon history.

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[This message has been edited by psyduck78 (edited April 03, 2000).]
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Old 04-04-2000, 12:48 AM   #15
Kurgan
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Arrow

The actual quote is
Quote:
"For the love of money is the root of all evils" (1 Timothy 6:10)
my sentimental infidel* friends. ; )

In other words "greed," or you could say selfishness, which ties into pride, is what leads to all of what we call "evil." It's all one.

So anybody else care to contribute?

Roman Catholic.

C'mon you Buddhists, Jews, Taoists, Protestants, Moonies, Confucianists, don't be shy! Spill your guts!

If you want my opinion, TAF, you sound most like an Agnostic (in the generic sense). Not a Freethinker, you're a bit too open-minded (Freethinkers feel free to flame me to heck), but only you know what you really think deep down.

Kurgan

* "unbeliever" (not meant as an insult)
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Old 04-04-2000, 04:32 AM   #16
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I was raised Protestant. I sifted through the beliefs I was taught, tested them relentlessly, maintained an open mind toward new data, kept some of my old beliefs, ejected others without mercy or a backward glance.

I have continually tried to distill my beliefs to a pure first century Christianity, stripping away overlays of distortion and dead tradition. I try to continually rediscover and practice the living Christianity of Christ.

It is a journey, not a destination.

--wiz

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Old 04-04-2000, 04:34 AM   #17
wizzywig
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Unhappy

caffeinolatry, lightbulba?

you make me sad

--wiz

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Old 04-04-2000, 04:52 AM   #18
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You are very close Kurgan, and thanks for taking interest in me. No, I am not Agnostic, and for good reason. Should I openly admit it is impossible to reach the how and why of our existence, then will I admit to being an Agnostic. I am far from this, and wouldn't spend the hours I do every day reading if I wasn't expecting an answer. Whether atheistic, agnostic, or theistic, I will make my choice when my knowledge of who we are and why we are here is focused to a crystal clear view of the facts and the interpretations thereof. I am closer to a decision than I have ever been in my life, and expect a well-founded post covering everything we have already encountered here in the past few months and everything I have encountered on my own to be presented within the next week and a half (I'm really pushing this, but it may take longer). My decision at that time should represent everything I hold as true, but until that time I would greatly appreciate everyone's thoughts and insight on this matter. A simple term such as "Roman Catholic" doesn't really help me in understanding how and why the universe is here, why we are here. For once there will be no criticism on my part, so everyone please unload it all :O)

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Old 04-04-2000, 01:34 PM   #19
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Well I'm not sure what you'd want me to say about Catholicism. It is my unwavering belief that it is the complete and unchanged way of life Christ founded roughly 2000 years ago. It is that original Christianity Wiz was talking about.

The Church doesn't really concern herself with the specifics of creation or the methods of how man got here. We are required to believe Adam existed and was the first 'ensouled' being, but the Church's main mission lies elsewhere.

Basically, the Catholic Church (and Christianity in general) is God telling us what He wants, the best way to have a relationship with Him.

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Old 04-04-2000, 02:15 PM   #20
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Okay fine, I'll be serious for a momment, but if anyone brings this up later I'll deny it.

I'm agnostic. Why? Because, in my opinion (and I don't want to debate my opinion with anyone), there exists no hard evidence, nor any experiment that can be conducted, which will either prove or disprove the existence of God. Therefore taking either a theistic or atheistic stance takes a leap of faith. A leap of faith I, personally, am not willing to take.


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Old 04-04-2000, 03:28 PM   #21
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Conor--

I want to make a point of clarification--not to argue with you but to simply make a clear distinction. You say:

Quote:
Well I'm not sure what you'd want me to say about Catholicism. It is my unwavering belief that it is the complete and unchanged way of life Christ founded roughly 2000 years ago. It is that original Christianity Wiz was talking about.
I understand the point you are making, relative to your view that Catholicism is original Christianity. I recognize that as your view, I respect it, and I don't wish to argue that point at all. I believe that Christian faith, whether expressed in Catholicism or in some other variant, is true and validated by reason and evidence. In my view, Catholicism is not (to borrow C.S. Lewis' title) the "mere Christianity" of the first century. Rather, I see Catholicism as that original first-century Christianity plus the accretion of 2,000 years of tradition. This is not a criticism of Catholicism, because I do not in principle object to tradition. But that is my observation. I don't believe that the kind of Christianity that was practiced from home to home in the Book of Acts is exactly the same, in its form and rituals, as what is practiced in the Catholic mass today.

That does not invalidate Catholicism in any way. It is not a criticism of Catholicism. It is merely a distinction I felt I ought to make, in view of your statement that Catholicism is "that original Christianity Wiz was talking about." I don't want to seem to be expressing a view that I don't hold.

I think the fact that Christianity comes in so many "flavors" is confusing and frustrating to some. Personally, I think it is a tribute to the creative genius of God that Christianity has proved so adaptable to different times and cultures, taking many different forms from Catholic to Orthodox to Quaker to Presbyterian to Baptist to Pentecostal, yet in all of them the same Jesus is Lord. The rituals and traditions differ, the faith remains universal. A Catholic, an Anglican, or a Lutheran from Europe or America could go to a church service in a thatch-roofed house in a remote village in Africa or an underground house church in China, and would immediately sense a bond of Christian brotherhood, a oneness of faith, that transcends culture and language.

My reason for asserting that I seek a first century brand of Christianity is this: I do not reject tradition per se, since many traditions serve to embody truth and reality. However, I am wary of traditions and rituals that often arise over time which may tend to obscure the purity of an original truth. It is a human tendency for people to take a living truth and embalm it in tradition; Jesus fought that tendency when He went up against the Pharisees. It was the religious establishment of His day that crucified Him. It is something we must continually be on guard against in our own lives, and the way to guard against it, IMHO, is to continually return to the Source of truth for fresh inspiration.

--wiz

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Old 04-04-2000, 09:29 PM   #22
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I was pretty sure you hadn't come to the realization that the RCC is the original Christian Church yet. I am certain you will though, just as I am certain Lewis would have if he lived longer.

The early church fathers were Catholic (today's Catholic) in every way. I have seen this verified by many (mostly ex-protestant) scholars. The Dogmas of Christianity remain unchanged in the RCC. It is only some disciplines that have changed, which reflect the times and have no bearing on the eternal Word.

As for the thousands of Christian denominations, I don't think that is a good thing at all. The Bible states very clearly that there should not be any dissentions in Christ's Church (I'll find the verse when I get home). It is the work of men, not God.

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-St. Francis of Assisi
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Old 04-05-2000, 05:25 AM   #23
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Conor--

Re:
Quote:
I was pretty sure you hadn't come to the realization that the RCC is the original Christian Church yet.
Actually, I will not dispute that statement. Viewing all of Christendom as a tree with many branches, the RCC is doubtless the trunk. But to say that the RCC is the trunk does not invalidate any of the branches. The word "catholic" means universal, and I believe that the truly catholic church includes the RCC, the Protestant denominations, the nondenominational Christian communities and house churches, etc.

Quote:
The early church fathers were Catholic (today's Catholic) in every way.
I will not dispute this either. See how agreeable I am?

Quote:
As for the thousands of Christian denominations, I don't think that is a good thing at all. The Bible states very clearly that there should not be any dissentions in Christ's Church (I'll find the verse when I get home). It is the work of men, not God.
I think there is a subtle distinction here--perhaps even a paradox--that you may be missing. I agree with you that schism and dissension and discord in the church are terrible. But I do not think that diversity in the church is terrible at all. It is beautiful.

Some of the diversity we see today initially arose from schism, yet the old wounds were eventually healed and Christian brothers from different and diverse traditions now come together in unity. There is even growing rapprochement and dialogue between the RCC and Protestant denominations.

There are many places in the New Testament that warn against dissension in the church, such as 2Cor. 12:20: "For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder." Fact is, the early church was filled with problems, and most of the letters of Paul were written to address one problem or another in the church, including the problem of dissension and factions. If the early church had not been so human and problematical at times, the New Testament would only be about half as long as it is!

Look at the story of Paul and Barnabas in Acts. Two Christian brothers, fellow missionaries, had an argument over a young man named John Mark (who is believed to be the author of the Gospel of Mark), because Mark had shown a lack of character and maturity on a previous missionary journey. Paul didn't trust Mark, Barnabas wanted to give him another chance. Paul and Barnabas argued and split up, and Paul took Silas as his missionary companion while Barnabas took Mark.

Now the dissension between Paul and Barnabas is certainly unfortunate. But the result is that Paul went one direction while Barnabas went another, and twice as many new churches were founded. So I believe God, in a paradoxical and profoundly beautiful way, takes our human frailty and mistakes and He manages to weave something grand and good from it for His own purposes.

Clearly, the RCC at the time of the Reformation was a flawed organization. The corruption in the church at that time was real. Equally clearly, Luther and his fellow reformers were flawed individuals. Whatever his flaws, Luther initially tried to reform the church from within, but when it became clear that it would not be possible, he chose the route of schism.

Who should we fault for the breakaway of the Reformation? Both sides share some blame. But the fact is that (like the Paul-Barnabas split) God was able to bring good out of the flawed conditions we human beings created. The schism of the Reformation is a bad thing, I'll grant you, but the resulting diversity is a good thing.

I realize that you may not think it a good thing that there are Christians who are not under the authority of the Vatican. Well, that's as may be. I see the good that is done in the Catholic Church and the good that is done in the Protestant denominations, and I have to believe that God is working out His plan wherever people are faithful to Him.

I don't mind if you disagree with the view I just expressed. I don't even mind if you say I'm wrong (I expect you to think so). I just wanted to better explain my view, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so.

--wiz


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Old 04-05-2000, 11:54 AM   #24
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Well, I tried. So much for that idea! lol

You guys. ; )

I guess Agnosticism is probably the "safest" route for a person to take, that is, a kind of theological fence ride. You don't have to make up your mind, because you CAN'T. I am not trying to diss on anyone who honestly believes in this system. If that's the best system you can come up with, that's your business.

However, for me, I tend to want to resolve things. Granted, in many ways there's a certain arrogance, implying I can find the "truth" that mankind has sought since the very beginning. However, I guess I am not content to simply "let it all go" and admit I have no chance of figuring even a bit of it out. So I try...

As to the "evidence" I suppose a theist and an atheist, based on their own private biases, will interpret the evidence to support their side. I tend to think that the evidence supports a theist more than an atheist position. Without endorsing any particular creed (okay, mabye the acknowledgment of a monocentric deity).

I have heard some atheists argue that "having a god or gods doesn't help you solve the problem of evil" which is them basically saying "if God exists, he isn't just" or "believing in God doesn't make you moral, and you can't trust God himself to be moral, so why bother?" So basically they don't know whether or not God exists, but they insist that if God did, there would be no reason to believe in him, other than out of fear (which, being our egos are what they are) we would be urged to oppose on the basis of some "intellectual stand." Or something like that. I'm still struggling to understand the mindset.

Anyway, I am examining a variety of faiths to see what "truth" if any I can glean from the history, tradition, practice, and example of its believers and teachers.

My personal faith in Christianity (and Catholicism) seems mainly to have been validated by my searches, but also to have been enriched, by the ways in which other faiths have attempted to discern the "hidden truths" (or the Mysteries or whatever you want to call the stuff in life and existence we only dream about).


That is not to say my beliefs are unchangable or unchanging. From day to day I think they change, at least in small ways. The question is, where does it all lead to?

Kurgan
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Old 04-05-2000, 11:57 AM   #25
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What I mean to say is that, I wish to be right, primarily for the sake of the truth, not for some personal wish-fulfillment.

If I have an obligation to honor a Deity, then I want to uphold that. If an objective morality exists, I want to try to follow it. If there is an afterlife, I need to take that into account in my life.

Kurgan
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Old 04-05-2000, 01:15 PM   #26
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I'm sure God did use the reformation and other schisms to bring people to Christianity.

However, the fact that God can bring good out of bad does not mean the bad should not be corrected where possible.

If The RCC is Christ's original Church, it would stand to reason that the dissents should be cleared up eventually and everyone brought back to the fold. Besides, most of the Protestent Churches are in serious error on some things. Luther threw out books of the Old Testament because he didn't like what they said, and most Protestant groups reject the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which is a pretty central point to Christianity.

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Old 04-05-2000, 02:58 PM   #27
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Grrrrrrrrrr....


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Old 04-05-2000, 03:45 PM   #28
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Conor--

You say:
Quote:
The fact that God can bring good out of bad does not mean the bad should not be corrected where possible.
I agree with that statement, but would apply it differently than you would. The RCC at the time of the Reformation was steeped in corruption, and the Reformation movement was a conscientious attempt to correct the bad. I think the principles you state are correct, but sometimes you miss the larger picture. I see all of Christendom as the church, the catholic (universal) church, whereas you seem to view everything outside the RCC as false or in error. If that is your view, fine, I accept that. But I want you to be aware that we have no disagreement on these principles, just on where we apply them.

Quote:
If The RCC is Christ's original Church, it would stand to reason that the dissents should be cleared up eventually and everyone brought back to the fold.
To be "original" does not mean to be right in all matters. The original must be continually renewed in order to remain true (and I do see many positive signs of ongoing renewal in the Catholic church today).

The idea that "dissents should be cleared up eventually and everyone brought back to the fold" assumes that the RCC is 100 percent correct and everyone else is in error. If it is the so-called "fold" that is in error, then those outside the "fold" are wise to remain where they are. I know you don't see it that way; I'm just trying to get you to see that there is another point of view (I don't expect you to agree with it).

But perhaps I was too hasty in agreeing that the RCC is "original," at least in the sense you intend it. In an even deeper historical sense, the church of Acts was the only original church--everything after the close of the first century, you might say, was add-on and outgrowth. There were churches planted in remote regions during the first century that never came under RCC authority, did not break off from the RCC, and had just as much claim to be "original" (if not moreso) than the RCC. An example is the Axumite community in Ethiopia (which may have been planted by Phillip when he converted the Ethiopian eunuch in the desert); Axum was a non-RCC Christian community that flourished until the spread of Islam in the 7th century. There are other examples.

If you read through the book of Acts you see that minor "reformations" took place from time to time within the primitive church of Acts because it is simply human nature to stray from the truth and add human error into the mix. The RCC and the Protestant denominations are in continual need of renewal and reformation, because human error continually creeps in. Our tendency is to take a pure relationship with God and turn it into religion, which is manmade. So we must go back to the Source, again and again.

Quote:
Besides, most of the Protestent Churches are in serious error on some things. Luther threw out books of the Old Testament because he didn't like what they said.
I have already stated that Protestant denominations are imperfect. No human system is perfect. No human being is perfect. I have already said that Luther was flawed; but he acted according to his conscience, taking considerable personal risk in order to reform a corrupt system, and I deeply respect that.

Quote:
Most Protestant groups reject the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which is a pretty central point to Christianity.
Transubstantiation is a central point in RCCdom, not in Christianity as a whole. I'm glad you raise that as an example because it is a perfect example of a late accretion to original Christianity. The doctrine of transubstantiation was formulated in the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. There is no rationale for it in Scripture. It was not a doctrine of the church in Acts, nor is there any reference to it in any of the letters of Paul, Peter, James, etc. To you it is central; to the rest of Christendom, it is a non-issue. The rest of the church practices Communion, but without the 11th century overlay of transubstantiation.

I know how committed you are to Catholic doctrine and I would not attempt to persuade you that you are wrong. I have no argument with you on this matter. I merely point out that there is another viewpoint, and it is based on the validity of Scripture.

--wiz



[This message has been edited by wizzywig (edited April 05, 2000).]
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Old 04-05-2000, 03:50 PM   #29
wizzywig
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Wink

Quote:
Grrrrrrrrrr....
Careful, Vagabond. You can crack your molars doing that...

-w

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Old 04-05-2000, 05:12 PM   #30
Vagabond
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wizzywig,

Although I don't share you faith, allow me to compliment you on your superb response to Conor. You were polite, while presenting your differing point of view, and without delcaring either of you as having a right or wrong belief. Excellent!


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Old 04-05-2000, 08:08 PM   #31
Conor
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Well I certainly took it like he is telling me I am wrong. I don't mind though.

I certainly don't exclude Protestants or Orthodox from Christianity. All Christians are members of the mystical body of Christ.

It is my belief that the RCC is 100% correct. Members of the Church have taught things that contradict the Church itself, even high-ranking members, but Church Doctrine has not changed no matter how corrupt those in power were. In fact, Christ's true Church must be 100% correct, as He said the gates of hell would never prevail against it. That implies, at least to me, that only one of the Christian denominations can be correct. I think it is also safe to say that one particular denomination must have been static since Christ's founding of it.

I totally agree on the Reformation. The idiocy going on in that time almost invited it.

As for the Real Presence, you are seriously incorrect if you think it isn't supported by the Bible or wasn't believed from the very beginning. I am certain the writings of Scott Hahn would convince you of this. I haven't read as much of his stuff as I would like, but I am sure I can forward you the applicable titles.

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-St. Francis of Assisi
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Old 04-05-2000, 09:06 PM   #32
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Thanks, Vagabond--

And Conor--

Quote:
All Christians are members of the mystical body of Christ.
Thanks for that statement. That's helpful clarification.

Quote:
In fact, Christ's true Church must be 100% correct, as He said the gates of hell would never prevail against it. That implies, at least to me, that only one of the Christian denominations can be correct.
To me, who's correct and who's not is not even at issue.

On transubstantiation (or the Real Presence)--as you can see, I'm already very familiar with the issue. I do not have time or resources (or intense inclination) to reinvestigate it now. But if you have any arguments to offer or quotes by Hahn, I will certainly read them.

--wiz

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Old 04-06-2000, 03:00 AM   #33
Conor
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I don't have a lot from Hahn at the moment, but you can look for yourself.
http://members.tripod.com/ka_johnson...ach/rhahn.html

These seem to be full transcripts of some of his talks. the Eucharist one works anyway (I've got to do some reading myself).

The early Church Fathers on the Real Presence:

St. Ignatius(110 AD):"[heretics] abstain from Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ..." Letter to Smyrnaeans 6,2.

St. Justin Martyr (150 AD):"...not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but ... as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and Blood of that incarnated Jesus." First Apology 66,20.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (195 AD): "He [Jesus] has declared the cup, a part of his creation, to be His own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies." Against Heresies 5,2,2.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (350 AD): "He himself, therefore, having declared and said of the Bread, 'This is My Body,' who will dare any longer to doubt? And when He Himself has affirmed and said 'This is My Blood,' who can ever hesitate and say it is not His Blood?" Catechetical Lectures: Mystagogic 4,22,1.

Also Cyril: "Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy by the Body and Blood of Christ." ibid 4,22,6.

I will do a little reading and try to defend it from a purely bibilical point of view soon, but probably not tonight.



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Old 04-06-2000, 03:48 AM   #34
Conor
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I think I will try.

The following argument is outlined (i.e. telling what to say and in which order) in Beginning Apologetics 1, How to explain and Defend the Catholic Faith by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham. San Juan Catholic Seminars. I basically just said what they said. I also got the quotes of the Church Fathers above from them.

In Jn 4:31-34 the disciples urge Jesus to have something to eat. He says "I have food to eat you do not know about." The disciples ask one another, "Has someone been bringing Him food?". Jesus says, "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to complete his work."

Mt 16:5-12 goes:

The disciples, having crossed to the other shore, had forgotten to take any food. Jesus said to them, "Keep your eyes open, and be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." And they said to themselves, "It is because we have not brought any bread." Jesus knew it, and he said, "Men of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you not yet understand? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand and the number of baskets you collected? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand and the number of baskets you collected? How could you fail to understand that I was not talking about bread? What I said was: Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that he was telling them to be on their guard, not against the yeast for making bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

In these two examples Jesus talks about food, and the disciples interpret Him literally. Jesus corrects them that in no uncertain terms He is speaking figuratively.

Now take John 6. In Jn 6:51 it says, "I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world."

In Jn 6:52-56, the Jews interpret Him literally, "Then the Jews started arguing with one another: 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' they said. Jesus replied: 'I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him." This is not the language of symbolism.

In verse 60 the Jews say, "This is intolerable language. how could anyone accept it?" In my first examples Jesus corrected his disciples when they interpreted his words literally when he was speaking figuratively. If He was speaking so in this case he would have corrected those who left Him over this, but He didn't.

NEXT POST...

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Old 04-06-2000, 04:42 AM   #35
Conor
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CONTINUED...

Many Protestants claim that, in Jn 6:60-70 Jesus claims He was being symbolic. I.e. in verse 63, Jesus says, "It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."

What one must realize is that:

1) Jesus' Eucharistic talk ends with verse 58. The next versus talk about faith, not the Eucharist.

2) 'Spirit' is nowhere used in the Bible to mean 'symbolic.' The spiritual is just as real as the material.

3) In verse 63 Jesus is contrasting carnal man, i.e. 'the flesh,' with the 'spiritual' or faith-filled man. 1 Cor 2:14-3:4 offers a good explanation of what is meant by 'the flesh.' Jesus says 'my flesh' when discussing the Eucharist and says 'the flesh when discussing carnal man who will not believe anything beyond his senses and reason. Jesus' flesh is certainly not 'of no avail' as it was the means of our salvation.

4)The unbelievers leave after verse 63. They would not have left Him if He was only speaking symbolically. This is the only recorded time in the NT where any of Jesus' disciples left Him because they found a doctrine of His too hard to accept. Of the twelve Apostles, apparently only Judas rejected the Eucharist (Jn 6:70-71).

Now to other passages in the Bible. Note 1 Cor 11:27, when it says, "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the body and blood of the Lord."

In Aramaic to symbolically "eat the flesh" or "drink the blood" of someone meant to persecute and assault him. See Ps 27:2, Isaiah 9:18-20, Isaiah 49:26, Micah 3:3, 2 Sam 23:15-17 and Rev 17:6, 16. So if Jesus was only speaking symbolically in Jn 6 about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, then what He actually meant was "whoever persecutes me and assaults me will have eternal life." This makes the passage nonsense of course.

In all four last supper accounts (Mt 26:26-28, Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25) Jesus says plainly that, "This is my body" and "this is my blood." There is no hint of symbolism. Any symbols would have been clearly explained.

Some non-Catholics will insist that we engage in cannibalism and violate the Biblical prohibition of drinking blood. This is the same misunderstanding that led some to reject Jesus when He spoke about the need to eat His body and drink His blood. At the Last Supper, Jesus revealed to them that they would receive His body and blood in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, not in the bloody cannibalistic way the unbelievers had imagined.

All the early Church Fathers believed in the real presence (see way above ). Until the Reformation, all Christianity accepted the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist except for a few heresies. Even Martin Luther confirmed it. See below:

"Who, but the devil, hath granted such a license of wrestling the words of the holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposeth upon us by these fanatical men...Not one of the Fathers, though so numerous, ever spoke as the Sacramentarians: not one of them ever said, It is only bread and wine; or, the body and blood of Christ is not there present. Surely it is not credible not possible, since they often speak, and repeat their sentiments, that they should never (if they thought so) not so much as once, say, or let slip these words: It is bread only; or the body of Christ is not there, especially it being of great importance, that men should not be deceived. Certainly in so many Fathers, and in so many writings, the negative might at least be found in one of them, had they thought the body and blood of Christ were not really present: but they are all of them unanimous." (Luther's Collected Works, Wittenburg Edition, no. 7, p. 391).

Lastly, there are many scientifically verified Eucharistic miracles that confrim the Real Presence. A good suggestion is Joan Cruz's Eucharistic Miracles (Rockford, Ill.: TAN Books, 1988).

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"Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."
-St. Francis of Assisi

[This message has been edited by Conor (edited April 06, 2000).]
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Old 04-06-2000, 02:40 PM   #36
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Thank you, Conor.

Fascinating presentation. I don't find opinions of church fathers in any way persuasive, but the biblical arguments are interesting and well-reasoned, and I'm copying your message into a reference file I keep on religious matters.

This is not to say that I find the biblical arguments persuasive. You make a good reasoned case in support of beliefs you already hold as a result of church authority. But every conclusion you make is an inference from inconclusive and highly ambiguous evidence that, in my mind, is more reasonably understood as metaphor.

Jesus continually spoke in metaphor and images. He told Nicodemus, "You must be born again," prompting Nicodemus to wonder how he could re-enter his mother's womb. He spoke of His body as a temple that would torn down and rebuilt in three days, prompting His hearers to think He referred to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The passage in Luke 22 reads:

Quote:
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my
body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new
covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Here, He clearly states the purpose of Communion--it is a remembrance symbolizing His broken body on the cross. The cup is the new covenant, symbolizing His blood--not His literal blood.

Sometimes, when Jesus used difficult metaphors, He corrected people's misimpressions right away, sometimes He allowed the confusion to stand in people's minds, knowing it would become clear after events unfolded. He often spoke cryptically about His upcoming death and resurrection, and people didn't understand what He had meant until after the resurrection.

Conclusion: I really appreciate the work you did to educate me in this regard, and I find it very instructive. I think you have ample biblical support for your belief, but not sufficient to persuade me to change my belief, which concerns a matter that I consider peripheral rather than central to faith. I always approach Communion with a deep sense of respect and gratitude for what Jesus Christ went through for me; I do it, as Jesus said, in remembrance of Him.

And that, I think, is enough.

--wiz

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Old 04-06-2000, 02:42 PM   #37
wizzywig
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P.S.--

I find that the term "scientifically verified" becomes highly elastic in reference to miracles.


-w

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Old 04-06-2000, 03:24 PM   #38
Conor
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Scott Hahn deals with the term 'remembrance' somewhere in his writings, maybe on that website.

Either the actual word used or the way it is used means more than simple memory. It means literally a 're-living' of the event. He elaborates on how this is supported in the Bible and how Jesus literally meant us to re-live the Sacrafice at each mass.

As for the Church Fathers not being given as much weight...they were the direct successors of the Apostles, often trained by the Apostles themselves. If they don't know what they are talking about, the Church went off the rails very quickly.

BTW, I don't think the evidence is ambiguous at all, and I think Jesus made it very clear the metaphor route does not apply in this situation. I also think it is very, very important.

P.S. If Jesus actually did mean a metaphor and was just waiting for it to become 'clear' He made a mistake. It would only have become 'clear' 1500 years after He founded His Church. I find it impossible to believe Jesus would have deliberately made something fuzzy enough that it fooled everyone for 3/4 of Christian history.

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-St. Francis of Assisi

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Old 04-06-2000, 03:43 PM   #39
Conor
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You will probably want to especially look these parts of the site: The Eucharist: Holy Meal, as well as The Fourth Cup: The Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Of course, the rest of the stuff is interesting too.

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"Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."
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Old 04-07-2000, 12:02 AM   #40
Conor
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I have to say something else. I honestly don't think you realize just how important this issue is, wizzywig.

I wasn't entirely accurate before when I said the Eucharist is a central tenet of Catholicism. It would be better to say it is the central, focal point of Catholicism and Christianity. Any and all dissensions to the Real Presence were considered heresies by the Church for 1500 years, and in fact they still are.

The Eucharist is the central point of the Catholic Mass, which is the focus of our Christian life. It is where we come (sometimes once a week, sometimes daily) to go back to what you are so fond of calling 'the source'. The source, ultimately, is not the Bible. The source is Jesus Christ, who makes Himself physically present every day in countless places across the world. It is the eternal sacrifice of the Passover Lamb, which must be eaten. He commands us to do so.

I think that to deny the Eucharist is to miss out on Christianity in a very real way.

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"Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."
-St. Francis of Assisi

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