Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Can only one religion be right?

d.j. wrote at 9:47 a.m. Oct. 24 that "If you want to claim that all religions believe in the same God, you must throw out the beliefs of each of those religions ... ."

But that is only true if you take every teaching of every religion as literal fact, not as human attempts to explain a reality beyond human understanding. I believe that we can see God's hand in the world and experience God's presence in our lives without subscribing to the "right" dogma. That is the point of convergence for different religions.

It is the heart, not the brain, that matters. Love of God and neighbor, not statements of theology. Awareness of the sacred, not literal creeds.

I know that many disagree. Many will say that you can't be Christian without believing that all non-Christians are damned. But that is not the grace I see and experience in Scripture and in the lives of people I know, Christian and non-Christian. God is too big to fit in my pocket.

Yes, there is a solid, true reality behind all our grasping for truth. And we're not the only ones reaching out -- throughout history, God has revealed his nature. As a Christian, I believe that the clearest revelation was the Incarnation of Jesus. But that does not in any way mean (to me) that every dogma that has grown around Christianity is true or that every other revelation of God is utterly false.

Our descriptions differ, our liturgies differ, our theologies differ. The object of our longing is the same.

Other opinions welcome (and probable).

42 comments:

D.J. said...

Jane, I must respectfully but strongly disagree with many statements in your post (as I'm sure you've anticipated).

The heart and the brain both matter. Theology is of the utmost importance. Theology is the foundation on which practice is built. We seek to love our neighbor (and our enemies) as Christians because it is what Christ taught. The very fact that we call ourselves "Christians" is because we seek to follow Christ's teachings. Jane, you speak highly of the incarnation of Christ. Why do you beleive in the incarnation of Christ (that God took on humanity in the person of Jesus) if not because it is taught in Scripture. You speak highly of the grace you see (rightly so) in Scripture. Yet you cannot escape the fact that the same Jesus who said "Love your neighbor as yourself" also said, "No man comes to the Father but through me." On what basis do we reject one and accept the other? Because the latter makes us feel uncomfortable? Such an approach to Scripture may help make our faith more palatable to a pluralistic society, but it shows no regard for the Scripture. To say that we decide what parts of Scripture are divinely inspired and what parts are merely "human attempts to explain reality" is to elevate our wisdom above that of God. We essentially say, "I define Christianity."

It's not that all non-Christians are damned (as if Christians were saved from that fate because of something good or special about us) but that all humanity is damned because of our sin. I am a lousy sinner. A trip through the ten commandments reminds me all too uncomfortably of how far I fall short of God's perfect rightousness (even the "easy" ones like "do not murder" are troublesome in light of Christ's comments in Matthew 5-7). What Christianity teaches, and what Christ himself claimed, is that he came into the world to take our damnation upon his shoulders, that whoever trusts in him would be saved from the judgment of a holy God which rightly rests on all those who sin. Because only Christ can deal with sin, Acts 4:12 can say, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." If not for the truth of the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, my attempts to please God are worthless. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians (the same letter where he wrote the famous, "Love is patient, love is kind..." passage that hangs in so many homes), "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied."

Yes, Jane, the heart matters. Love is of paramount importance. But without the foundation of truth on which those teachings lie, they are but empty efforts to cover the gulf that Christ himself said lies between us and God (he did after all, call the people he taught "children of your Father the Devil"). To achieve the faith you describe, you must remove the foundational truth that Scripture teaches about who God is, who we are, and what Christ came to accomplish. Whatever remains when that is done, it is not Christianity.

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and rightousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand."

- Edward Mote

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Frankly, faith is nonsense if one's beliefs are considered nothing but metaphor.

Christianity is utterly incomprehensible if certain basic beliefs are not taken literally. Clearly, some parts of scripture are meant as literature; but if one does not believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead, then the Gospels cannot be understood as anything other than a whimsical fairy tale interspersed with self-improvement advice. In fact, I would go so far as to say that one cannot rightfully be called "Christian" unless one believes that Jesus was really, actually the son of God, and that he really, actually was executed and rose from the dead in order to fulfill an actual, literal covenant with God regarding our eternal fate.

I say this not to be exclusive of "New Age" Christians who take all this metaphorically -- I don't doubt their good intentions and would gladly welcome them into the spiritual dialogue in which we are called to be engaged -- but frankly none of the rest of Christianity makes any sense unless you believe in these fundamental truths (and no, I'm NOT a fundamentalist by any stretch of the imagination!). The Gospels, and the rest of scripture, are explicit about the spiritual urgency of these points and never at any time give even the slightest impression that they are simply putting universal experiences into metaphorical terms.

I would imagine that all major religions function this way -- certainly, Judaism and Islam make definite claims about God. While people of different faiths may find common ground in their general ethical principles, they are inevitably committed to certain unbreakable beliefs... at least, they should be if they want to avoid a very extreme form of hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

The post by anonymous, is an excellent example of an individual expressing opinion as fact. I would like to recommend that anonymous read the book, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist" by Norman Geisler & Frank Turek.

All worldviews, including atheism,-require faith. Some belief systems are more reasonable than others! This book makes the case that Christianity requires the least faith of all because so much evidence points toward the existence of God and the reliability of Scripture.

Our beliefs should be made on fact and/or experience. Belief in God is not based on the church we attend, but on the word of God and Jesus Christ through scripture.

Anonymous said...

"To say that we decide what parts of Scripture are divinely inspired and what parts are merely "human attempts to explain reality" is to elevate our wisdom above that of God. We essentially say, "I define Christianity."
d.j. I agree with you completely. I think most, if not ALL "Christians" pick and chose what parts of the Bible to accept as fact and what parts are "just a story" a metaphor meant to teach a lesson.
This inevitably is the answer i get when i ask my Christian friends if they believe in giants i.e. Goliath or that men can live to be over 900 years old i.e.Methusula. O well those are just stories meant to convey a message and the message is the important part, you are getting too caught up in the details.
More over the Christians i know pick and chose what rules from the bible they want to follow.
Ask your average Christian why homosexuality is "wrong" and a "sin" and they will tell you because the bible (and by extension God) says so. I would wager that most of not all people who make this argument haven't read Leviticus for themselves. Leviticus if fraught with prohibitions that i know for a fact most christians conveniently chose to ignore. here a few examples
"You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard."
Not may christians i know walk around looking like hasidic jews.
"All who curse father or mother shall be put to death; having cursed father or mother, their blood is upon them."
What child at some point in their life has not cursed their parents. Don't get caught though. The Bible says the penalty is DEATH.

"If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death."
I agree that adultery is terrible and as far as i'm concerned you can institute the death penalty for it, but why don't i see a lot of christians clamoring for it? It says it in the Bible.
The Bible itself says it is "the word of God". It doesn't say part of it is the word of God and some parts are just methaphorical stories.
And if you are going to reply with an argument to the effect of, "well thats the old testament, it doesn't really count anymore after JC" then please explain why some rules from the Old Testament (the ten commandments for example) are followed and others (i.e.my examples) aren't. Also please include an example of scripture that states "the old testament doesn't count anymore"

North Carolina Mortgage said...

the kingdom of God is not in word but power.

I dont many religions that can offer true healings or miracles. This is one of the reasons why Jesus mentioned this. Theology, beliefs, and opinions all aside. Elijah basically spoke about this when going against the prophets of Baal.

Everyone can speak of God but if they dont show the power, love, hope, faith, etc..in their own lives then He isnt real. Bear fruits....and others will follow

Anonymous said...

Jane, I think your question is simply wrong. It misses the option of all religions being wrong.

Re: Atheism requires faith. That is utterly nonsense. It is like "what color is bald?" Atheism is lack of faith itself. We are all born atheist.

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

Thanks DJ, you did such a lovely job of saying exactly what I was thinking as well. Yes, God's grace is very abundant but because He is a holy God, He cannot let sin go unpunished. Scripture IS about love and God's grace for us, but it also warns about Jesus being the ONLY way to get to heaven. So, in that sense, Scripture is saying that Christianity *is* the only right religion. Let's not get all legalistic, it doesn't matter what sect of Christianity you are involved with - the most important thing is that you trust in Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross to save you from your sins. Very simple. Without that, there is nothing, and you will perish. God doesnt wish for ANY to perish, as it says in the Bible, but because He's holy, there must be judgment, because we are ALL sinners. (DJ - and it's funny how you mentioned the "easy" commandment of not murdering, I heard a sermon one time on the ten commandments and apparently somewhere in the Bible it says that hating your neighbor is just as bad as murder, so we all at one time have probably committed that sin as well, even when we thought we hadnt!

Gamecock said...

Jane, given the limits of what you actually said, rathe than what some of the replies to same assumed you said, I think I totally agree with you. Shocked?

There is no doubt in my mind, and which is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in Scripture, that God speaks to all men. And given that, is it any surprise that there are so many points of convergence in the moral teachings of the various religions.

We, of course, agree on Christ.

I have never been one to presume whether one is saved or not. As my pastor/phd theology professor brother says, we don't have a "saved" meter with which to know the hearts of others.

But I also remember a quote my now deceased pastor of my home church used to say when I would ask him if so and so were a Christian. He would often say: "Well, they say so, but I doubt there is enough evidence for ajury to convict them of being one!"

I beleive that God wants to create creatures that want to live with him forever, and that to make that possible, he had to become one of us and die, shed blood to infect all of humanity. I beleive that Jesus is the way. I beleive that people who consciously reject him as lord and insist upon being their own god, will be damned.

Beyond that, I leave this in God's hands. I simply "go ye" and bear witness. Knowing alos that God reckons salvation those that have faith, and respond to hat still small voice. Those that want to let God be God and want to love him and live with him forever, will get their wish.

Anonymous said...

anon, "Yes, God's grace is very abundant but because He is a holy God, He cannot let sin go unpunished. "

Is this why we see a rise in AIDS in Africa and South America? Is this God's punishment to hm... wait... those are predominantly Christian and Muslim countries... gasp... punishment to religious people?

Is that why we only see about 0.2% of prison population in US being atheist (vs. about 10% of atheists in general population outside the prison)?

I thought your God give us the dominion over rest of the animals (Genesis 1:26-28)? Do we? Is this broken promise? Last time I've checked HIV and MRSA have dominion over us not the other way around (just two examples). Is this perhaps part of the (just) punishment?

Where do unsaved babies go? Catholics in the past were telling us that they would end up in limbo. Now Pope says that is not true. And he is ready to be infallible again? Is limbo a just punishment?

Is it just for a sinner of a minor sin to spend life in hell as a punishment? Is this love?

Why he can't let sin go unpunished? After all he created everything and has a plan for everything? Do we just confess and admit he is our savior and that Jesus died for us and we are saved? I am reasonably sure that Hitler, being Christian and all did just that. Do you expect him to see him in heaven? If not, why not? He probably did ask God for forgiveness for his sins, plus he was sure that he was doing Lord's work when "smoking" millions of people. Catholic church never ex-communicated Hitler and ordered to the last day to celebrate his birthday every year. Goebbels on the other was ex-communicated for the "sin" of marring a protestant. I guess Catholic church has to have their standards after all!

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

As a long time atheist, I take exception to Iztok's opinions on occasion.

Atheism requires a different kind of belief, faith if you will. It requires a belief there is no outside other, which leaves only one's self.

It is a religion, just as others are, but not the same.

Anonymous said...

Anon, you must not be an atheist then :) atheism is LACK of belief. It is not religion for the same reason bald is not a hair color.

Perhaps you should read the definition.

Atheism is not a religion either.

It is like saying non-racist is racism as any other except different. Just because we have a special name (we don't have a special name for non-racist, non-nacist etc...) it doesn't make it true on what you say.

We are all born atheists, some of us remain such, some change but it is a natural state of mind.

Sincerely,
Iztok

D.J. said...

Anon (10/24/07, 4:01 PM),

For me to sufficiently address your concerns about Christianity's application of the Old Testament law here would be to take this post off-topic. However, your concerns are important and worth addressing. If you're interested in understanding this interpretation, and why it does not amount to "picking and choosing which rules we want to follow," check out this article. It's a good, brief treatment of viewing the OT law through the lens of Christ.

http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_law.html

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

catholics arent christians. they believe in other factors of christianity that is not even written in the bible. South America is predominantly catholics not christians.....

Christians dont believe in praying to the dead...and only pray to Jesus. They dont believe in having graven images in their homes or at churches.

Anonymous said...

DJ,

The way I see is that Christians are entitled to take their holy writ "ala carte". And practice shows it in the modern world.

Sincerely,
Iztok

D.J. said...

Iztok,

"The way I see is that Christians are entitled to take their holy writ "ala carte"."

No offense (seriously), Iztok, but since you've made it quite clear that you think all religion is silly and wrong, how are you qualified to tell us the proper way for a Christian to view Scripture?

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Anon (10/24/07, 4:01 PM) continued...
d.j.
Thanks for the link. It was an interesting read. First a quote from the article.
Jesus said that He had not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfil it (Matt. 5:17-18)
Again your answer and this article site no scripture that says, "the old testament doesn't count anymore, and you only have to follow some of what it says not all of what it says". The New Covenant thru Jesus is the exact argument i tried to preempt in my previous post because i've heard it 100 times but no where does the Bible state that this new covenant voids any old covenants. (and even if it did Christians often still cherry pick form the rules in the old testament when making moral arguments). The article seems to me to say that the previous covenant was technically with the Isrealites and we now think what God really meant to say was this... So now Christians are in the business of interpreting what an INFALLIBLE, OMNISCIENT God meant to say.
My bigger point is this. Either the Bible is the word of God as it says it is (I think most Christians would agree that the "word of God" in not to be questioned or "interpreted")or it is a book written by fallible men, full good lessons to live by and examples of morality and virtue but open to interpritation.
Once one decides that parts of the Bible can be "interpreted" or aren't 100% true as the Bible says it is you are on a very slippery slope.
Who then gets to decide (or who could ever know) what parts of the Bible are not 100% true and or open to interpritation. Is it 1% or 20% or 50% or 90% etc.

D.J. said...

Anon,

A couple points of further clarification.

"The New Covenant thru Jesus is the exact argument i tried to preempt in my previous post because i've heard it 100 times but no where does the Bible state that this new covenant voids any old covenants."

Actually, read Hebrews chapter 8. You'll find that's exactly what it states, plain as day. The chapter talks about the new covenant God established through Christ with the church (the true "house of Israel," both Jew and Gentile - cross-reference Romans 9:6-8).

"The article seems to me to say that the previous covenant was technically with the Isrealites and we now think what God really meant to say was this..."

In light of Hebrews 8, the previous covenant was with the Israelite nation - a shadow, a type of the covenant to come through Christ. God really meant to say everything he said in the Old Testament, and he meant it largely as a picture of the better covenant to come through Christ - as the book of Hebrews so beautifully explains.

"My bigger point is this. Either the Bible is the word of God as it says it is (I think most Christians would agree that the "word of God" in not to be questioned or "interpreted")or it is a book written by fallible men, full good lessons to live by and examples of morality and virtue but open to interpritation."

The Bible is the Word of God as it claims to be, but it was written through men, communicated using personality, style, and literary genre. It must be interpreted (just like all communication must be interpreted by its hearer - just as you are right now interpreting what I intend to communicate by what words I use, etc.) - the key is interpreting it correctly. That is why many men and women devote their lives to study of ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek, to best understand the meaning of each word of Scripture. It is why we study the culture of the ancient near-eastern world, to better understand the context in which God gave us the text of Scripture. Biblical interpretation is all about seeking to determine what the text means (exegesis), not impose on it what we want it to mean (eisegesis). I think it will be helpful for you to check out the Chicago Statement on Biblica Inerrancy, an explaination of what exactly we claim when we say that the Bible is the Word of God.

http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/icbi.html

You are correct when you say that when we begin to pick and choose what is true in Scripture the Christian faith begins to unravel. However, interpretation is not the enemy, misinterpretation is. Interpretation is an essential to communication, and it is the difficult yet rewarding task of every Christian. As Paul admonished his young student Timothy, we must "rightly divide the Word of Truth."

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but Iztok, you speak as if there are no atheist (past or present) that have ever done anything as massive as some religious fundamentalists. You say Hitler was a Christian, yet Hitler was raised in a Catholic family (not all Catholics are Christian) and as he grew up was very interested and studied Darwinism. He used his beliefs in Darwinism with the Holocaust...he wanted to make a supreme race...that was his purpose. It is not commonplace for a Christian to believe the studies of Darwin. But I guess you know what true belief was in Hitler's heart when he ruled. Regardless if you believe Hitler was a Christian, Lenin, Stalin and many others were atheist and did horrible acts against massive amounts of people. It really doesn't matter what you believe or say you believe, it matters how you act. Anyone can claim they are a Christian, Muslim, Buddist, etc...but doesn't necessarily mean that they are true to their beliefs. I have a hard time believing that if you truly believe in a loving God (keyword here is "truly") that you would go out of your way to do evil things. Furthermore, you claim that only .2% of the prision population is atheist. Well, that kind of goes along with the fact that there isn't a high percentage of atheist in the US. Last I read, 86% of the population believes in God (not necessarily Christian, but believe in God). If there is not many atheist in the US then there aren't many atheist to commit crimes, thus the low percentage rate in prison among atheists. The problem I have with your reasoning (trying very hard to downgrade people who believe in God) is that you try very hard to state how much better atheists live their lives...very little commit crimes, very few in prison, atheists don't commit acts like that of 9/11 when in reality, atheists are in small percentage and some do commit these acts just as any other human being regardless of faith.

I am a Christian that has accepted Christ in my heart (that is the only way to be a Christian). I don't judge others for their beliefs (even if I don't accept their beliefs)...I still love them for who they are as a person. I just have a hard time with your views when you constantly berate people who believe in God and make the assumption that atheists are near perfect (maybe you don't feel that way but your messages sure seem that way). No human is perfect...all make mistakes...even atheists and Christians. God loves every single person on this earth...He created them whether they accept Him or not. He doesn't love me anymore than He loves you. We just have differences in our beliefs. My belief is that anyone who accepts Christ in their heart will spend eternity in God's presence while those who deny Him will spend eternity in the absence of His presence.

KJ

Anonymous said...

"(not all Catholics are Christian)"

Which Catholics are not Christian?

Anonymous said...

There are differences between Christianity and Catholicism even though there are many similiarities. Once difference is the fact that Catholics believe that the way to get to heaven is through acceptance of Christ and the good works you do. Christianity is based on the fact that you go to heaven on accepting Christ (knowing he is son of God, that he died on the cross for our sins, that he was resurrected and that he is a living God). It is all through God's grace that we can have eternal life with Him...nothing to do with good works...that is what it says in the Bible. Catholics have a heirarchy within the church...each level is closer to God. Christians believe that you can go to the Father individually with no confession to a priest...just a straight confession to God. Catholics usually pray to saints. Again, Christian go straight to God. Even the Catholic Bible has things added into it. Catholics believe in Pergotory (a place somewhere between heaven and hell) where Christians believe you go to heaven or hell and there is nothing in between.

I am not saying being Catholic is a bad thing...I have friends that are Catholic that consider themselves Christians. They only use the Holy Bible and not the Catholic Bible and they also believe that you are saved by the grace of God and not by your works, which is not what they are taught in the Catholic church. So, when I stated that not all Catholics are Christians, I meant that not all Catholics believe the same as Christians do. Both religions believe Jesus was the son of God and believe in the Trinity but there are some major differences. So, I wasn't saying that to offend anyone, just pointing out that not all Catholics are Christians because of the differences in both religions.

KJ

Anonymous said...

RE: Catholic / Christian

Absolutely no offense taken. I've just never seen that particular hair split so finely.

I've always kind of defined Christianity as anyone who accepts Christ as their savior, but whatever. We're all free to think what we like.

Anonymous said...

KJ,

about 10% of US population is atheist, yet only 0.2% of prison population in US is atheistic.

Can you guess what percentage of members of National Academy of Sciences is atheist? These people represent the crop of US intelligence and wast majority is not religious.

More then 25% of the college professors are atheists.

BTW: Non-religious (atheist/agnostic...) population is the third largest group on the planet if we base it on the religious classification. (3 groups are over 1 billion of people, rest are smaller.)

You get the trend here?

Hitler was Christian (you don't consider Catholics Christians but that is your personal statement that doesn't fit the facts. Catholics are the big majority when it comes to Christianity), RCC was celebrating his birthday every year for the past few years of his life, there are many photos of him in front of the churches etc. Have you read his Mein Kampf? He did state he believed he was doing Lord's work! What more do you want? (Granted he also worshiped some Nordic gods apparently at one time.)

Stalin? For centuries russian people were told that head of the state was more then just a mere human, this was perpetuated by Christian Orthodox church there as well. One wouldn't be in dictatorship business if you wouldn't be capable of taking advantage of servility ingrained by the religious past of these people.

While I agree that some atheists were doing bad deeds they didn't do them because they were atheists. On the other hand many religious people did atrocities because of their religious beliefs and convictions. 9/11 didn't happen despite religion it happened because of religion. See the difference?

As far as religious people doing good. Name me one good thing/deed/action that religious person did and non-religious wouldn't. Can you? I can't think of anything. Now if I would ask the audience to name one bad thing that religious person would do and non-religious wouldn't I bet it wouldn't take long to get an answer, would it?

But back to the original topic of "Can only one religion be right?" My answer is that: At most one religion can be right.

Sincerely,
Iztok

D.J. said...

Iztok,

"Hitler was Christian (you don't consider Catholics Christians but that is your personal statement that doesn't fit the facts. Catholics are the big majority when it comes to Christianity), RCC was celebrating his birthday every year for the past few years of his life, there are many photos of him in front of the churches etc. Have you read his Mein Kampf? He did state he believed he was doing Lord's work! What more do you want? (Granted he also worshiped some Nordic gods apparently at one time.)"

I think you greatly misunderstand what it is to be Christian. Standing in front of churches and using religious propaganda does not a Christian make. For a more complete look at Hitler's personal philosophy, see this article...

http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/ca_hitler.html

Granted, this is off-topic, but this ridiculous identification of Hitler as a Christian has got to put to rest.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Catholics aren't Christians?

What are the core doctrines of Christianity:

1. One God in Three Persons--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--who created and sustains the universe.

2. That the Second Person became human in the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth. (The Incarnation.)

3. That this was done without the aid of any human father. (The Virgin Birth.)

4. That human beings are flawed, sinful creatures, and utterly incapable of bringing themselves into right relationship with God.

5. That the Son's purpose in becoming human was to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

6. That this was accomplished through Jesus' death and return from death.

7. That after the events of #6, He returned to the Father, and sent the Holy Spirit to guide his followers.

8. That all believers are united in an eternal and worldwide fellowship called the Church.

Would you say that these are the core doctrines of Christianity? And that anyone who believes these is a Christian?

Well, I have news for you--Catholics belileve all these things.

Premise 1. If you believe these things, you are a Christian;
Premise 2. Catholics believe these things;
Conclusion--therefore, Catholics are Christians.

That is what is called LOGIC.

Anonymous said...

it's not 'logic'. Catholics believe in Mary which Christians believe that this is idol worship. Catholics have statues of the saints, and pray to them for guidance. Again, Christians believe this is idol worship, and is against the will of God. Christians believe there's only ONE WAY to heaven and that's Jesus. Catholics believe there's MANY ways to heaven through praying to the saints, praying for the dead while they're in purgatory, praying to Mary, etc.

HUGE DIFFERENCE. Christian is Christlike...Catholics may as well be called Marians for those who follow Mary....or Poptians...for those who follow the Pope.


Catholics ARE NOT Christians...especially when they change the sound doctrine to include 'theirs' then later change it when it's covenant to their 'mother church'.

Protestants are the majority of Christians...any school will teach you this..as most religious schools teach that Catholics ARE NOT CHRISTIANS.

in South America...you're either Catholic or Evangelical....these ppl never went to school but they know that Catholics arent Christians. If these Evangelicals believe that they are the same then why are they always preaching to the Catholics to get saved?

Anonymous said...

DJ,

OK, Hitler never repudiated his Christianity really, he was a standing member of Catholic church (church celebrated his birthday to the last), he was never ex-communicated by the church was he?

Do you know what his army wore on the belt buckle? "God With Us"

http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

Perhaps pictures say thousand words?

http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

His private property (Eagle's Nest) had a big Christian cross.

At least we can all agree that Hitler was heavily influenced by Christianity. We can also agree that he was definitely not an atheist.

". . . the luxury, the perversion, the iniquity, the wanton display and the Jewish materialism disgusted me so thoroughly that I was almost beside myself. I nearly imagined myself to be Jesus Christ when he came to his Father's Temple and found the money changers."

The evidence shows that:

Hitler was born and baptized into Catholicism

His Jewish antisemitism came from his Christian background.

His early personal notes shows his interest in religion and Biblical views.

He believed that the Bible represented the history of mankind.

His Nazi party platform (their version of a constitution) included a section on Positive Christianity, and he never removed it.

He confessed his Christianity.

He tried to establish a united Reich German Church.

Hitler allowed the destruction of Jewish synagogues and temples, but not Christian churches.

He encouraged Nazis to worship in Christian churches.

He spoke of his Christian beliefs in his speeches and proclamations.

His contemporaries, friends, Protestant ministers and Catholics priests, including the Vatican, thought of Hitler as a Christian.

The Catholic Church never excommunicated Hitler. He died a Catholic.

Sincerely,
Iztok

D.J. said...

Anon (10/26/07, 9:41 AM),

In your exploration of core doctrines, you leave off the essential teaching of Scripture that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 4:13-16, Romans 3:21-31). The Catholic church denies this on the basis of their traditions. This is why we would say that the Catholic church is not Christianity as defined by the Bible.

Iztok,

I think my comments and the linked article (from a more balanced study, not a site with a blatant agenda like "nobeliefs.com") on Hitler stand up quite well. Let the informed reader decide.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

dj ...thank you...Catholics believe they are saved through the 'church'.

Excellent point

Anonymous said...

DJ,

to your salvation through faith alone lines, here are some that claim differently:

Psalm 62:12
Proverbs 10:16
Jeremiah 17:10
Ezekiel 18:27
Matthew 5:20
Matthew 12:37
Matthew 16:27
Matthew 19:17
Matthew 25:41-46
Luke 10:26-28
John 5:29
Romans 2:6, 13
2 Corinthians 5:10
2 Corinthians 11:15
Philippians 2:12
James 2:14
James 2:17
James 2:21-25
1 Peter 1:17
Revelation 2:23
Revelation 20:12-13
Revelation 22:14

Sincerely,
Iztok

North Carolina Mortgage said...

faith w/out works is dead.

you are saved by grace through faith

Nick said...

Jane. I do have some concerns with what you've said.

First off, you say that God is too big to fit in your pocket. What exactly do you mean? Do you mean perchance that God cannot be confined to one religion? Very well. Let me ask you some questions.

Can God claim something is true that isn't true? Can God claim Jesus is the only way and that Jesus isn't the only way? Can God say torturing babies for fun is morally right and is morally wrong? I think I'm sure how you'd answer those questions. (At least I hope I am!)

However, to say so is to limit God to what is true. Do you have a problem with that? Should we not attribute to God that which is true?

Yes. It is not us who limit God. It is God who sets himself against what is false and stands by what is true. If God has chosen to reveal himself in Jesus of Nazareth and say he's the only way, then we'd best agree rather than simply try to claim political correctness.

Now you also say it's a matter of the heart and not the head. Yet isn't that a claim of the head? Are you not making a knowledge claim that the heart is what matters the most? Without the head, that statement is useless.

You also then have this idea developed if that is the case that salvation is something that is worked for. By that standard, it would not matter what you believed about Jesus and his relationship to the Father so long as your heart was in the right place.

But Jane, the problem is that if Christianity is true, our hearts are definitely in the wrong place. If our hearts are already in the right place, why do I need Jesus?

Finally though on this point, Christianity is a matter of the head. Go through the book of Acts. Count how many times you see the word "love" show up. I think you'll be surprised. Then count how many times you see the references to the resurrection show up. One is far greater than the other.

I do hope you'll consider this. I'd enjoy dialogue on this point if you desire.

Anonymous said...

The posts saying that Catholics are not Christian are highly offensive and inaccurate.

Just because they don't go to YOUR church doesn't mean that they lack Christianity. What a completely medieval way of thinking about your neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Roman Catholic Church

NOUN:

The Christian church characterized by an episcopal hierarchy with the pope as its head and belief in seven sacraments and the authority of tradition.


It's hard to beleive that in 2007 there are still people who want to continue the age-old tradition of declaring other religions "not TRUE Christians". How many people have to die before we stop doing this?

Anonymous said...

As a child I lived in Europe (military family) and was once told that there were people in America who believed that Catholics were not Christian. I always thought that this was a ridiculous rumor (like the many myths about Germans still hating Jews) because it was so silly... how could anyone believe that Catholics, who read the Gospels and carry crucifixes, do not worship Christ?

I was shocked when I came to this area and found that there are actually people who do exclude Catholics from their definition of Christianity. The ignorance of this is appalling, especially in light of the MANY opposing (and often quite bizarre) denominations that are not accordingly considered non-Christian. To be honest, I find it a little amusing that 50-year-old "Protestant" (I hesitate to call them that) denomintations who follow untrained charismatic leaders are accusing a global, 2000-year-old church of basically not knowing their own faith well enough to know who they are worshipping. It's the same characteristically-American arrogance that leads us to claim to have invented democracy and lead the world in "freedom", despite the many countries who have a longer and richer history of such things.

I don't really know where I'm going with this point, other than to say this: ignorance is no excuse for prejudice. People around the world read these forums and I'm sure many have laughed out loud at the absurd things that have been said in this thread so far.

Anonymous said...

DJ,

"I think my comments and the linked article (from a more balanced study, not a site with a blatant agenda like "nobeliefs.com") on Hitler stand up quite well. Let the informed reader decide."

Oh, just in case you didn't read the page you actually sent us the link to (http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/)

"My name is Dean Mischewski. I'm a Catholic from New Zealand, and this website is one way of sharing my conviction that the Christian faith is the most reasonable and realistic approach to life, and that this faith finds its full richness and beauty of expression in the Catholic Church."

Does this sound "far mode balanced" to you? Dude is obviously interested to avoid any links between his church/religion and Hitler.

I am repeating the facts.

The evidence shows that:

Hitler was born and baptized into Catholicism

His Jewish antisemitism came from his Christian background.

His early personal notes shows his interest in religion and Biblical views.

He believed that the Bible represented the history of mankind.

His Nazi party platform (their version of a constitution) included a section on Positive Christianity, and he never removed it.

He confessed his Christianity.

He tried to establish a united Reich German Church.

Hitler allowed the destruction of Jewish synagogues and temples, but not Christian churches.

He encouraged Nazis to worship in Christian churches.

He spoke of his Christian beliefs in his speeches and proclamations.

His contemporaries, friends, Protestant ministers and Catholics priests, including the Vatican, thought of Hitler as a Christian.

The Catholic Church never excommunicated Hitler. He died a Catholic.

I don't see any disputed the facts above.

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

Who cares whether Hitler was Christian? Napoleon was Christian, Stalin was atheist, Hussein was Muslim... so what? Obviously these are all bad guys, and whatever faith they choose to hide behind, that does not change their moral status as mass murderers.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

"who cares if X was Y"?

Indeed, who does?

Nobody until X does the atrocities because of Y. At that point it becomes important. Hitler thought it was doing Lord's work by killing Jews. That is why people should care. People slamming planes on 9/11 were doing this because of their faith not because lack of it. That is why people should care.

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

I really don't think there's much evidence that Hitler killed Jews because of Christianity. It's quite clear to me that he was motivated by nationalistic ambition, and while he may have used Christian imagery to form some of his messages that does not mean that Christianity was the source of, or vehicle for, his most serious abuses of power. If anything his relationship to Christian ethics is akin to that of a corrupt televangelist, who speaks of doing the "Lord's work" while obviously focusing his energies in, shall we say, a more materialistic direction.

But really, none of this is here or there in relation to the topic. Whether Hitler believed he was doing God's work or not, does not bear on whether only one religion can be right.

Agnostic said...

I noticed this quote...

That human beings are flawed, sinful creatures, and utterly incapable of bringing themselves into right relationship with God.

Did a Christian write that? Do they believe that?

Well, I see a lot of truth in it. Human beings are deceiful, either directly or indirectly whenever they communicate. Their beliefs prejudice them to dissenting opinions and they tend to only read or hear what they want to.

Did Jesus put pen to paper and create the Bible...the "scriptures"?
I think not.

Did God pick up a pen? Nope. Humans did.

Those sinful, flawed, incopetent,dishonest creatures that have yet to prove their worthiness to the very being that supposedly created them. How odd.

So, you believe in a book written by....men. A book that was written and rewritten many ways by different groups with diffing agendas for the soul purpose of explaining God? something they cant explain. Men explaining God? Isn't that like "A Gerbil's opinion on Sociology" of "World Order for Dummies by Joe Retard"

If you want to learn about the civil war you would have to read MANY books written by MANY people with a variety of backgrounds, opinions, beliefs, and agendas. After doing that you would have to try to decipher what was objective verifiable fact and what was simply hearsay or unsubstantiated opinion. After all of that, you would have only a general idea about the war but you still wouldn't know "the whole truth". For religious humans to say they know the truth about mankind and the omnipotent being that created us simply because a few of the more primitive humans from ancient history got together and wrote their OPINIONS on the subject is just ridiculous.

Even the apostles stories didnt jive and when you get down to the absolute ridiculous old testement stuff like "Seven angles brandishing 7 sausages walked 7 times around the city and 7 serpents with 7 smiles each laughed" I honestly cant see how you can keep a straight face.

So God who made who made the universe and all the stars ran out of material and had to borrow a rib to finish the job then the 2 critters he made stood in front of a tree, talked to a snake, gobbled some fruit and ruined humanity so that we now have to go to church to find our way back to God? If that isn't the most ridiculous and primitive bunch of superstitious crap you have ever heard...you really have issues.

Humans are flawed allright, when they actually begin to believe the crap that they write.

Anonymous said...

jane, with four young children here at home i don't have the time to read all the surely interesting and perhaps heated replies to your post.
i can only take the time to say that i really appreciated and enjoyed your post. i'm thankful you took the time, and the chance, to post it. thank you.

Anonymous said...

agnostic, well put. i find your entry amusing and right on. thanks.

Nick said...

That human beings are flawed, sinful creatures, and utterly incapable of bringing themselves into right relationship with God.

Did a Christian write that? Do they believe that?

Myself: Don't know if a Christian wrote that quote, but I believe it, although I wouldn't use the term relationship necessarily.

Agnostic: Well, I see a lot of truth in it. Human beings are deceiful, either directly or indirectly whenever they communicate. Their beliefs prejudice them to dissenting opinions and they tend to only read or hear what they want to.

Myself: If that was entirely the case, then they would never change their minds and accept propositions as true they don't like, nor could we expect to find truth since they are deceitful whenever they communicate.

Agnostic: Did Jesus put pen to paper and create the Bible...the "scriptures"?
I think not.

Myself: And did Socrates?

Agnostic: Did God pick up a pen? Nope. Humans did.

Myself: Yep. The problem?

Agnostic: Those sinful, flawed, incopetent,dishonest creatures that have yet to prove their worthiness to the very being that supposedly created them. How odd.

Myself: Then you have the system wrong. Christ does not love us because we are worthy. He loves us so we will be worthy.

Agnostic: So, you believe in a book written by....men.

Myself: Apparently, I should instead believe this argument written by....a man.

Agnostic: A book that was written and rewritten many ways by different groups with diffing agendas for the soul purpose of explaining God?

Myself: Back this assertion

Agnostic: something they cant explain. Men explaining God? Isn't that like "A Gerbil's opinion on Sociology" of "World Order for Dummies by Joe Retard"

Myself: Unless it's God revealing himself. That's what you have to show. I do not believe God could reveal himself entirely, but he can reveal himself some. The Scriptures don't tell us all about him after all.

Agnostic: If you want to learn about the civil war you would have to read MANY books written by MANY people with a variety of backgrounds, opinions, beliefs, and agendas. After doing that you would have to try to decipher what was objective verifiable fact and what was simply hearsay or unsubstantiated opinion. After all of that, you would have only a general idea about the war but you still wouldn't know "the whole truth". For religious humans to say they know the truth about mankind and the omnipotent being that created us simply because a few of the more primitive humans from ancient history got together and wrote their OPINIONS on the subject is just ridiculous.

Myself: You have to show that these are opinions, especially since they claim to be rooted in history. Also, you say primitive and ancient as if they were negative terms. Have you ever read any of the ancients?

Agnostic: Even the apostles stories didnt jive

Myself: Back this assertion

Agnostic: and when you get down to the absolute ridiculous old testement stuff like "Seven angles brandishing 7 sausages walked 7 times around the city and 7 serpents with 7 smiles each laughed" I honestly cant see how you can keep a straight face.

Myself: Could you demonstrate an actual verse? Also, could you tell me your knowledge of the ANE culture?

Agnostic: So God who made who made the universe and all the stars ran out of material and had to borrow a rib to finish the job then the 2 critters he made stood in front of a tree, talked to a snake, gobbled some fruit and ruined humanity so that we now have to go to church to find our way back to God? If that isn't the most ridiculous and primitive bunch of superstitious crap you have ever heard...you really have issues.

Myself: First off, you have a non sequitur. You say God ran out of material so he had to use a rib. I believe God was speaking of the future bride coming out of the second Adam which is seen on the cross.

Secondly, you have just an entire straw man. You paint it to look ridiculous. Two people participated in open rebellion thus tainting their souls with sin. Due to Traducianism, we all carry on this sinful nature. The way to restore it is substitutionary atonement.

Could you define superstition also?

Agnostic: Humans are flawed allright, when they actually begin to believe the crap that they write.

Myself: I believe it. Feel free to keep seeing how flawed you think I am.