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01/15/2009 12:36:15 PM · #1
It has been a slow week at work and Rant has been quiet (actually that's been a good thing). I've toyed with starting a thread like this where people can basically ask whatever burning questions they have on their mind about Christianity. I've realized over the years in Rant and other conversations that lots of people never really have any real interaction with serious Christians and because of this uncertainties, stereotypes, or simple questions arise. It's possible I'm totally wrong and if so this thread can die in obscurity. OTOH, here is your chance to ask anything and everything. What's up with this belief? Why do you do this? Whatever. I not looking to launch into argument, so I may ignore purely antagonistic questions (eg. Why are you guys such idiots?)

Anyway, perhaps some good, constructive and even fun conversation can come from it. I started it in Rant just because of the religious nature of the thread.

Any takers?
01/15/2009 12:43:41 PM · #2
what do baptists have against catholics? serious question.

Message edited by author 2009-01-15 12:44:17.
01/15/2009 12:58:39 PM · #3
Originally posted by briantammy:

what do baptists have against catholics? serious question.


Not being a Baptist I can only answer this superficially, but a few of the differences I think Baptists don't like.

1) Protestants in general do not recognize the special significance of the Pope. According to Catholicism the Pope can be, at times, the more or less voice of God on earth. When the Pope speaks "ex cathedra" it is believed his words are the "infallible" words of God. Protestants (Baptists being among them) don't buy that.
2) Catholics, at various times and in various degrees, believe that the Sacraments (specifically Baptism and Communion) are "salvific", that is, they are required for salvation. Baptists believe the only thing required for salvation is a belief in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
3) I bet there are other differences and I bet some are no longer relevant but have fostered a distrust that is simply perpetuated by stereotype.

Sorry if that's all too technical. Some of the differences between denominations are technical and you can't avoid using jargon. Frankly I think some of it is silly. I think Christian infighting is a pretty poor example.

EDIT to add:
4) Most Protestant denominations believe in "sola scriptura", that is, Scripture is the only source for valid information about God and how to live. Catholicism would add to this the traditions of the Church over the centuries. So things said at important meetings in the past or views held for centuries carry some weight along with scripture although I would probably say Catholics still believe scripture is the most important source of information.

I could keep going as I keep thinking:
5) Many Protestants worry about the veneration of Mary. They believe Catholics worship Mary as an equal to Christ. The truth, however, likely comes from separate views of God. Baptists are very much into a "personal" relationship with God. He is approachable. Catholics, OTOH, view God as Holy (set apart) and much less approachable. Because of this they utilize such saints as Mary to intercede for them. The Catholic petitions Mary and she advocates their cause before God. It seems sorta silly, but it makes sense if you feel God is too holy to be approached.

Message edited by author 2009-01-15 13:05:43.
01/15/2009 01:08:20 PM · #4
Serious Question...

What's wrong with all of you bible followers?
01/15/2009 01:12:15 PM · #5
I've got one . . .

No disrespect intended.

I've never really understood the bit about constant praise and worship of God. I get all the faith, belief, salvation points.

But does God really require that we attribute all things to him? Being omnipotent as he is, does he need constant reassurance that we know all things possible come through him? I see people all the time thanking God for winning a football game, having a safe family, etc. Almost as if losing someone dear or losing a game is somehow Godís retribution for not acknowledging him.

I've even heard my more fundamentalist friends say that in heaven we spend eternity praising God. Does that sound like heaven to anyone?

I don't know if I am saying this quite right, but it appears to me that some people think God's ego is so fragile that if we do not constantly acknowledge and worship him, we are somehow doing him a disservice?

Make sense?

Message edited by author 2009-01-15 13:12:48.
01/15/2009 01:12:42 PM · #6
Originally posted by Chinabun:

Serious Question...

What's wrong with all of you bible followers?


Serious answer: The same thing that is wrong with everybody. We are sinners. We cannot live up the the expectations we have for ourselves and it shows in the same ways all people tend to show: hypocricy, infighting, prejudice, selfishness, etc.

The Christian hopes the redemptive work of God in their life will help change that, but it's a lifelong process. The lighthearted way to answer all this is the saying, "Perfect people need not apply".
01/15/2009 01:15:00 PM · #7
i guess i already knew that much. it's just that yesterday my sister explained to me how she now is devoting herself to the catholic way and regrets that she doesn't feel very welcome by the rest of the family (mostly baptists). I have been a little of everywhere faith-wise, but i'm really out of touch with the baptists.
01/15/2009 01:15:33 PM · #8
Originally posted by DrAchoo:


I could keep going as I keep thinking:
5) Many Protestants worry about the veneration of Mary. They believe Catholics worship Mary as an equal to Christ. The truth, however, likely comes from separate views of God. Baptists are very much into a "personal" relationship with God. He is approachable. Catholics, OTOH, view God as Holy (set apart) and much less approachable. Because of this they utilize such saints as Mary to intercede for them. The Catholic petitions Mary and she advocates their cause before God. It seems sorta silly, but it makes sense if you feel God is too holy to be approached.


Being a life long Catholic, I've never been taught or told the God or Jesus is unapprachable, quite the contrary.
01/15/2009 01:20:17 PM · #9
Originally posted by scarbrd:

I've got one . . .

No disrespect intended.

I've never really understood the bit about constant praise and worship of God. I get all the faith, belief, salvation points.

But does God really require that we attribute all things to him? Being omnipotent as he is, does he need constant reassurance that we know all things possible come through him? I see people all the time thanking God for winning a football game, having a safe family, etc. Almost as if losing someone dear or losing a game is somehow Godís retribution for not acknowledging him.

I've even heard my more fundamentalist friends say that in heaven we spend eternity praising God. Does that sound like heaven to anyone?

I don't know if I am saying this quite right, but it appears to me that some people think God's ego is so fragile that if we do not constantly acknowledge and worship him, we are somehow doing him a disservice?

Make sense?


Good one. I have lots of the same questions. Frankly God does not need our praise although the Bible says he delights in it. The breakdown probably comes in trying to describe God in human terms. God is to us as we are to an ant. How does an ant describe the workings of man, something far more complex than it? It's impossible. Still, we do our best and often wind up using human adjectives or human analogies. God is described as a "father" which tries to indicate some qualities of a relationship, but is obviously not literally true.

I've heard the eternity praising God thing too. I can't quite imagine this is literally true either, but I would think that living in the actual presence of God would invoke awe, praise, joy and all sorts of positive emotions. I think as far as Scripture says (and I could be wrong on this), the Angels are the ones Praising God forever, not us. Revelation, however, is a very hard book to understand and is full of imagery and poetry.
01/15/2009 01:25:43 PM · #10
But I don't understand why people need approval from someone they don't even know exists. I believe in God but i'm not going to dedicate my life and follow the rules of some book just because someone told me to or taught me that's what was right. I've heard some people feel like they need someone of higher power to look up to, which is understandable. I just don't get all of the other drama that comes along with it. I wish people would just believe in the higher power and that's it. Leave the rules out of it.

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by Chinabun:

Serious Question...

What's wrong with all of you bible followers?


Serious answer: The same thing that is wrong with everybody. We are sinners. We cannot live up the the expectations we have for ourselves and it shows in the same ways all people tend to show: hypocricy, infighting, prejudice, selfishness, etc.

The Christian hopes the redemptive work of God in their life will help change that, but it's a lifelong process. The lighthearted way to answer all this is the saying, "Perfect people need not apply".
01/15/2009 01:47:01 PM · #11
Originally posted by Chinabun:

But I don't understand why people need approval from someone they don't even know exists. I believe in God but i'm not going to dedicate my life and follow the rules of some book just because someone told me to or taught me that's what was right. I've heard some people feel like they need someone of higher power to look up to, which is understandable. I just don't get all of the other drama that comes along with it. I wish people would just believe in the higher power and that's it. Leave the rules out of it.


I don't want to offend you, but isn't that sorta like eating your cake and wanting it too? You want the emotional comfort of knowing God is in control, but don't want any of the responsibility? It sounds sorta like a "Pocket God". You pull him out when you are in danger or are having a bad day, but put him away the rest of the time so he doesn't bother you.

If the God you believe in is not worth "dedicating your life and following rules", what kind of God is he? Honest questions...
01/15/2009 01:50:38 PM · #12
Have you ever read 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins?
01/15/2009 01:55:00 PM · #13
Originally posted by JH:

Have you ever read 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins?


I've read the Cliff Notes. You can ask Louis, but I think Dawkins has far too big an ax to grind to be a reasonable read. He's an expert in evolution, not religion. "The Selfish Gene", OTOH, is a good read.

Have you read "The Dawkins Delusion"? ;)

Message edited by author 2009-01-15 13:55:41.
01/15/2009 02:00:24 PM · #14
The greatest commandment--"Love the Lord with all your heart" is followed by "Love your neighbor as yourself". Jesus also commanded his followers to "Love their enemies".

Can service in the armed forces be reconciled with this teaching?

I suspect you've thought this one through...
01/15/2009 02:10:23 PM · #15
But that still doesnt make sense because baptists, christians, catholics, mormons etc all follow different rules. Why should I be made to choose any of their rules? Why cant I have my own? I don't pray to God so I don't know what you mean by using him when I need to. I said I believe but I just don't believe what everyone else does.

Originally posted by DrAchoo:


I don't want to offend you, but isn't that sorta like eating your cake and wanting it too? You want the emotional comfort of knowing God is in control, but don't want any of the responsibility? It sounds sorta like a "Pocket God". You pull him out when you are in danger or are having a bad day, but put him away the rest of the time so he doesn't bother you.

If the God you believe in is not worth "dedicating your life and following rules", what kind of God is he? Honest questions...


Message edited by author 2009-01-15 14:10:44.
01/15/2009 02:14:33 PM · #16
Originally posted by Chinabun:

But that still doesnt make sense because baptists, christians, catholics, mormons etc all follow different rules. Why should I be made to choose any of their rules? Why cant I have my own? I don't pray to God so I don't know what you mean by using him when I need to. I said I believe but I just don't believe what everyone else does.


Certainly your perogative. One note is you will be either correct or incorrect (or some shade inbetween). The notion that "we are all correct" is silly.
01/15/2009 02:18:02 PM · #17
Originally posted by mpeters:

The greatest commandment--"Love the Lord with all your heart" is followed by "Love your neighbor as yourself". Jesus also commanded his followers to "Love their enemies".

Can service in the armed forces be reconciled with this teaching?

I suspect you've thought this one through...


Another good question. Certainly there are pacifist branches of Christianity. As you may know, this is actually my family background (Mennonite) (although I'm not a full-blooded pacifist). Let's just say there are probably very few "justified" wars. OTOH, "evil" is real in the Christian worldview and does deserve to be repelled. Leaving aside the huge risk of using that title simply for everything you disagree with, fighting "evil" is justified and necessary.
01/15/2009 02:37:37 PM · #18
One thing that always bothered me. How can we have 'Free Will' if everything is done by the 'Will of gwad'?
01/15/2009 02:42:02 PM · #19
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by mpeters:

The greatest commandment--"Love the Lord with all your heart" is followed by "Love your neighbor as yourself". Jesus also commanded his followers to "Love their enemies".

Can service in the armed forces be reconciled with this teaching?

I suspect you've thought this one through...


Another good question. Certainly there are pacifist branches of Christianity. As you may know, this is actually my family background (Mennonite) (although I'm not a full-blooded pacifist). Let's just say there are probably very few "justified" wars. OTOH, "evil" is real in the Christian worldview and does deserve to be repelled. Leaving aside the huge risk of using that title simply for everything you disagree with, fighting "evil" is justified and necessary.


Has any army gone into battle without being assured that God is on thier side?
01/15/2009 02:42:17 PM · #20
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

OTOH, "evil" is real in the Christian worldview and does deserve to be repelled. Leaving aside the huge risk of using that title simply for everything you disagree with, fighting "evil" is justified and necessary.


...and therein lies the problem, the definitiion of evil.

Would you agree that we have witnessed instances where the mere fact that people were different was considered "evil" and that they were in dire need of salvation.

Ray
01/15/2009 02:48:59 PM · #21
Originally posted by littlegett:

One thing that always bothered me. How can we have 'Free Will' if everything is done by the 'Will of gwad'?


THAT question is probably the single most important split in Christianity. One side is called "Calvinism" and basically says everything occurs by either the direct will of God or at the least his allowance. The other side "Arminianism" (both sides are named after their founders) asserts that God has granted man "free will" to choose his destiny. All denominations will likely fall into one side or the other. The majority of American denominations are Armenian.

The original question really came up concerning Salvation and not the day-to-day choices of living. Interestingly, both can be correct, although they seem paradoxical. They are two ways of looking at the same coin. One is Qualitative and the other is Quantitative. The Arminians ask, "What do I bring to the table of salvation? (table being figurative for a "transaction") The answer is, "Myself". To them, this is important. The Calvinists ask, "Compared to God, what do I bring to the table of salvation?" The answer is, "Nothing". To them, this is important.

OTOH, I don't know if there is a real answer to the question of whether God controls the minutae of daily life. Does He care who wins a football game? Does he turn that light green so you get to work on time? Personally I'm sorta doubtful. However, I would assert that God COULD alter these things and perhaps at times he does. One would never really know, but if applied correctly a small amount of force can move a large object. Perhaps God controls the world with a light touch knowing where the lightest force needs to be applied.
01/15/2009 02:49:28 PM · #22
Originally posted by RayEthier:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

OTOH, "evil" is real in the Christian worldview and does deserve to be repelled. Leaving aside the huge risk of using that title simply for everything you disagree with, fighting "evil" is justified and necessary.


...and therein lies the problem, the definitiion of evil.

Would you agree that we have witnessed instances where the mere fact that people were different was considered "evil" and that they were in dire need of salvation.

Ray


I think you can refer to other threads for my answer on that.
01/15/2009 02:53:57 PM · #23
Do you believe that God is Omniscient including the ability to see past, present and future completely?
01/15/2009 03:07:49 PM · #24
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by littlegett:

One thing that always bothered me. How can we have 'Free Will' if everything is done by the 'Will of gwad'?


THAT question is probably the single most important split in Christianity. One side is called "Calvinism" and basically says everything occurs by either the direct will of God or at the least his allowance. The other side "Arminianism" (both sides are named after their founders) asserts that God has granted man "free will" to choose his destiny. All denominations will likely fall into one side or the other. The majority of American denominations are Armenian.

The original question really came up concerning Salvation and not the day-to-day choices of living. Interestingly, both can be correct, although they seem paradoxical. They are two ways of looking at the same coin. One is Qualitative and the other is Quantitative. The Arminians ask, "What do I bring to the table of salvation? (table being figurative for a "transaction") The answer is, "Myself". To them, this is important. The Calvinists ask, "Compared to God, what do I bring to the table of salvation?" The answer is, "Nothing". To them, this is important.

OTOH, I don't know if there is a real answer to the question of whether God controls the minutae of daily life. Does He care who wins a football game? Does he turn that light green so you get to work on time? Personally I'm sorta doubtful. However, I would assert that God COULD alter these things and perhaps at times he does. One would never really know, but if applied correctly a small amount of force can move a large object. Perhaps God controls the world with a light touch knowing where the lightest force needs to be applied.


Wow, I did not know that. Well I may have heard it before, but never remember so its always the first time L()L.

So you are saying 'perhaps' this entity is creating a ripple affect in their actions. Because as we know many actions are interconnected with each other. If the correct action is poked it would create a ripple that affects many actions. Say that light turns green right when you need it. Is it because of timing? your timing or someone elses? Most street lights are on timers and change at a preset predetermined rate. So if that rate was altered to affect you, what made it so special for you? Maybe it gave you an extra second to smile at the coffee lady, who unbeknownst to you was having a bad day but is getting better because of a friendly smile. Than her smile is shared by some kid, who unbeknownst to both of you was gonna kill himself, but now because of that extra second isn't?

We never know. But even if the light was altered by other powers, it would still be up to us to smile. Maybe the will of gwad is in affect to effect the material environment around us. However, our free will is still within our individual actions. Or maybe... just maybe... L()L.

So, I see Trevytev ask a question about the Omniscient of gwad.

This goes into my next question, which is said that jesus died for our sins. Yet, this happen 2000 years ago, so how did he die for 'MY' sins? How did he know that I was going to be here and that I would sin? (Not saying I have done anything sinful, just saying for argument sake) Now, also, how can I put my faith, my 'blind' faith into an entity that does not put its faith in me? That believes 2000 years before I even come into existence that I would need to be saved, that I would mess up that I would need him?

Lastly, why is Pagan such a bad word?

Side note, I was raised roman catholic, baptized against my misses (as a babe) forced to do the whole alter boy thing and sunday school stichc.
01/15/2009 03:33:02 PM · #25
Hey Doc, I forgot what flavor xtian you adhere. Personally the religious compartment in my mind is a partially lapsed Methodist. :)
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