I'm not sure exactly what it means by 'influence", but I would take it to mean that Mary doesn't have power over us, as God does, but rather influence in guiding our prayers and being with us.
The analogy used in the article I read said that sin is like people falling into a pit, and by God's grace are lifted out of the pit, Mary is someone who was about to fall, but God saved her before she even fell. She, too, needed God's grace, but was saved in a different way. " By receiving Christ’s grace at her conception, she had His grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain."
On a different note, though, why is the Catholic religion perceived as "strict"? Not trying to be defensive (I think it being strict could be good and bad in different ways), but as I've grown up with the Catholic faith, it's never seemed that way to me. I promise I'll try my hardest not to get defensive.
readaholic: Yes, the rosary is primary Catholic. (Not sure aobut Orthodox churches, but I know Protestants don't do it.)
(Why have we never had any Orthodox Christians on here?)
Also, "Mediatrix" is a cool word. :)
Imaginedangerous: Thanks for clearing that up. I figured becuase of its focus on Mary, but....idk
And I agree, Mediatrix is a cool word :D
So, what is an "Orthodox Christian", if you don't mind me asking?
KK: I've only got three questions to ask (as of now). Keep in mind, I don't want to start a debate!
One: I've noticed that there's a Catholic version of the bible. Is that what all Catholics use, or does it vary? (Like how there's NIV, NLT, NKJ, ect.) If so, is it very different compared to the versions I just listed? (Sorry, I haven't actually read anything in that version.)
Two: Is your communion (Or whatever it's called in the Catholic church) similar to the Protestants'?
Three: Why do you do the hand motion ritual thingy before you pray?
That's all my questions. Thanks KK! :)
Okay, I’m way too behind on this to put it off any longer, so I’ll just (try to) briefly go through and pick out some things I wanted to comment on:
“ "Rather than having hundreds of gods, the Catholic Church instead uses saints as a replacement."
LOL... she JUST explained, in her past post before yours, that saints were not in any way a replacement for God. ”
I never said a replacement for the God (big “G” and singular), I said a replacement for the “hundreds of gods” (little “g” and plural).
Catholicism is just an adaptation of Paganism, so they employ the practice of praying to saints (they even have little statues/idols of them) much like the Pagans did with their gods.
And saints are always a “saint of something-or-rather-specific” just like the Pagan gods were always a “god of something-or-rather-specific.”
And as I mentioned before, Catholics have statues of their saints, some even in special buildings such as St. Peter’s Basilica. This is very similar to the idols that Pagans would set up in pantheons.
Catholicism is just Paganism in a Christian guise.
“I read all that you said about death and the Bible's stance on it and truth and everything. I understand your position on it more now, which is good, as that's a key part of a belief system. But how do you know that I'm wrong about immediate judgement? If there are Scripture passages that support both ideas, or at least interpretations that lead to different ideas, how do you know which God really wants us to believe?”
There aren’t scriptures that support both ideas.
Sure, there are some that interpret a few verses to support immediate judgement, but the Bible is not of “any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20)
The Bible must speak for itself; we are to compare scripture with scripture. “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10)
I’ll just run through it quickly with you:
Some of the main verses that Catholics use to “prove” immediate judgement (as found on the internet) are…
1) Luke 16:22
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.”
2) Luke 23:43
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
3) 2 Corinthians 5:8
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
4) Philippians 1:23
“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.”
1) The first one is not speaking literally. That was just a parable that Jesus was telling. We know it’s not what actually happens because nowhere else in the Bible does it mention “Abraham’s bosom” or support this idea at all. There are plenty of verses that talk about death being sleep, though (Job 14:10-12; Psalm 13:3; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 9:24; John 11:11-13; Ephesians 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). And the Bible plainly states that “the dead know not any thing.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5)
Also, when Jesus returns, that is when the dead are raised and receive judgement:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54)
How can we be raised from the dead if we’re already living in heaven or h-ll?
2) This one I always find interesting… What if I told you that this verse is misinterpreted to support immediate judgement simply because of a misplaced comma? :P
The verse should read: “Verily I say unto thee to day, Thou shalt be with me in paradise.”
The comma was accidently placed on the wrong side of the word “today”. Remember, there’s no punctuation in Greek.
So Jesus wasn’t telling the repentant thief that they would be going to heaven together that day, but he was just telling him on that day that the thief would eventually be with him in paradise.
3) I don’t even know why this one is used to support immediate judgement, it seems pretty obvious that, in context, Paul is just talking metaphorically about how we must give up our carnal nature or our “body” to walk with and obey Jesus “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8)
4) Again, not sure what this is supposed to prove… Seems obvious that it’s just speaking about making a choice between indulging sin or choosing Christ.
Anyways, the Bible is very, very clear on the topic. It’s something to look into for yourself, though, don’t take my word for it.
“So, the Immaculate Co.nception was when Mary was concieve.d, right? Well, in doing so, God's grace saved her from the original sin that she would have had, as she is the new Eve. The angel Gabriel further references this by saying, "Hail, Mary, full of grace," (Luke 1:28) indicating that she's full of God's grace and, as such, hasn't sinned.
Other than this, the Bible doesn't have any explicit references that I know of, but the Catholic position is that as long as it doesn't contradict what we know from the Bible, it's fine to define the position on the matter, whatever it is.”
I have oh-so-many problems with this. :P
1) As you mentioned, part of why Catholics hold this belief about Mary is because they believe in Original Sin, which is not at all Biblical, so this is one of my main problems with this.
2) Why did Mary have to be immaculately conceived, why not just do that with Jesus?
3) “…the Bible doesn't have any explicit references that I know of, but the Catholic position is that as long as it doesn't contradict what we know from the Bible, it's fine to define the position on the matter, whatever it is.”
So the Catholic Church could decide that it’s okay to sacrifice babies and that would be okay because, “Hey, the Bible doesn’t explicitly say not to.”
I’m sorry, that was probably a little rude, but I just hope you see that that statement doesn’t make much sense. There are lots of things and beliefs that the Bible doesn’t specifically condemn, but that doesn’t mean we should do them or believe them.
And as contemplator and a few others pointed out, the Bible does say that “all have sinned”, Mary included.
continued in next post ---->
<---- continued from last post
“I'm Catholic, and not nearly as knowledgable as people on here (as realized from reading five, paragraph posts)…”
LOL, “five paragraph posts”… that’s me. XD
But remember, quantity doesn’t always mean quality. :P
Anyways, contemplator covered pretty well what I was going to say, but I’ll just add a few things:
“devotion to Mary is really devotion to Jesus through Mary. We do not worship Mary like we do God, but praying to her helps us become closer to Jesus.”
Let’s put this in a different context, shall we?
Imagine that Jesus is one of your friends (which hopefully He is :P).
How do you get to know your friends?
Do you spend time with their mothers? Doubtful. Sure, you could hear some interesting stories about when that person wet their bed when they were little, but you can’t actually get to know that person's personality, what s/he likes or dislikes, their values, etc.
The only way to get to know someone is to spend time with them directly.
And there is no reason (taught in the Bible or arrived at by common sense) that we have to come to Jesus through Mary.
“The analogy used in the article I read said that sin is like people falling into a pit, and by God's grace are lifted out of the pit, Mary is someone who was about to fall, but God saved her before she even fell. She, too, needed God's grace, but was saved in a different way. " By receiving Christ’s grace at her conception, she had His grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain."”
This is not Biblical. Simple as that. Especially Original Sin, as I mentioned to KK.
The only way we are saved is if we follow God and obey Him. Human nature prevents us from following God by our own power, which is why it was necessary that Jesus came (as a human with the ability to sin) to resist sin and obtain a victory over it when he died and was raised again. He is the only exception, and through Him only can we be saved.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:14-15)
There is absolutely no reason to believe that Mary was sinless. Only Jesus was.
“On a different note, though, why is the Catholic religion perceived as "strict"? Not trying to be defensive (I think it being strict could be good and bad in different ways), but as I've grown up with the Catholic faith, it's never seemed that way to me. I promise I'll try my hardest not to get defensive.”
Well, as a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church which is probably one of the most conservative Christian denominations and often accused of legalism, I can honestly say I’ve never thought the Catholic Church as “strict.” Actually, it’s rather lax compared to Adventism. :P
I think I may be able to answer your second question:
“Is your communion (Or whatever it's called in the Catholic church) similar to the Protestants'?”
I’m not a Catholic but I am Protestant and I go to a Catholic school so I have experienced both communions. KK can correct me if I’m wrong, but they are rather similar. In my church, though, we only do communion every couple of months or so while in the Catholic Church they do it every Sunday.
I think every Protestant denomination does it differently, though, so it’s hard to compare. I know that in my denomination (Seventh-day Adventism) we will do communion on Sabbath every couple months. Instead of having a sermon like usual, we eat the bread and drink grape juice (no wine, which the Catholic Church uses). We also do feet washing afterwards, which I think is unique to Adventism. The men go into one room and the women into another and you wash someone’s feet like Jesus did with the disciples, then they wash your feet.
Also, Catholics believe that the bread and wine actually becomes the body and blood of Christ while Protestants believe they are merely symbols and that we eat the bread and drink the blood in remembrance of Christ as he commanded at the Last Supper: “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25)
And just as a random fact: Communion (or Eucharist, as Catholics call it) is actually one of seven sacraments Catholics have (the others being Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Reconciliation). The only two of these that the Protestants have in common with Catholicism is Communion and Baptism (of course, Catholics largely practice infant baptism while Protestants practice full immersion).
Ahhh, the things you learn in Religion class at a Catholic school. :P
Hopefully that answered your question. :)
I know I said that I’d go on a rant about the Nature of Christ, but I might just create a new thread about that to avoid going off topic. Keep an eye out for it.
Anyways, here’s my usual disclaimer: I mean no disrespect towards Catholics as people. I just simply believe the Church to be in error. I am sorry if I come across as rude, harsh, disrespectful, etc. It is not my intention and I am sorry if I offend anyone.
God bless. ♥
Sorry for stealing your questions, but here's my take on them:
1. I believe the Catholic Bible is merely one designed for Catholics and probably is the one we use at Mass. There's not a huge different between them, so while the Catholic Bible is probably recommended for Catholics, I've never heard anyone say we have to use them.
2. Yes, we just believe it really is Jesus's body and blood. (and yes, it is called communion). I'd assume that besides that they're pretty much the same. But I don't know, since I'm not a Protestant :3
3. If you mean the sign of the cross, yes
I don't know if dveryone's ignoring my question or just didn't see it, but, in the most innocent, non-hateful way possible, why is Catholicism seen as "strict"? I promise not to take offense (I think it being strict could be both good and bad) and I won't start an argument, promise :D
Sorry to butt in, but the difference (for whoever asked) between Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles is that the Roman Catholic Bible includes the apocrypha, a collection of OT books that were not a part of the J.ewish Canon. For instance, 1 and 2 Maccabees, etc.
And I think halfnote's right that Catholicism carries touches of paganism, but I'm not sure that's entirely bad. There were some good aspects to pagan religions, and it seems Catholicism has sifted out most of the bad elements. G.K. Chesterton admitted that Catholicism carried on Pagan traditions to an extent, but he admired it rather than denouncing it.
OH MY GAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWD
Dedication, thy name is Half.note :)
Hey I think you're new here!!! Welcome to the P&T Forum! :) It's nice to have another Catholic here. XD There's a thread for Newbies on the second page... do post about yourself there :D
I am perfectly willing to agree to disagree on the Mary thing. I would just like to point out that, while we dospend time with Mary, we are not doing that instead of spending time with Jesus, but as more of a supplement (wow, I hate that word, but...can't think of another one to use right now). As Jesus's mother, it makes sense to me that she would best understand Jesus's love and be the closest to him, so spending time with her could help us follow her example. But I do agree that the best way to get to know Jesus is to spend time with Him.
I also agree that there is no hard Biblical proof that Mary was sinless. But I don't think there is "no reason" to believe she was sinless--the fact that this belief has lasted this long with no Biblical proof says something. I believe this is one of the things that seperates Catholicism from other faiths: we take our beliefs from not only the Bible, but tradition as well. And I stand by my logic that the person who raised the son of God had to be sinless, but hey, that's just me.
Not like I'm a model Catholic, but I have never experienced the treating of saints like "pagan gods". Yes, we pray to them, but do not worship them. We more honor them and desire to follow in their footsteps. Yes, we have certain designations for the saints (not sure if that's for all of them, though) and pray to them for those things, we are still acknowledging that it is God's grace that gave them those gifts in the first place. But this is all really just guesses, since there has never seemed to be much focus on saints at all.
Not to completely change the subject, but I honestly don't think little (well, maybe not little) ideas like this that seperates our religions will really make a difference in the end--different religions are suited for different people, and while one might be "correct" in the very literal sense of the word, if we find God and his salvation through a slightly flawed religion, we've found God just the same. But the "correct" one would probably give us a deeper love and understanding of God, and that's just something we have to find for ourselves. Not to get all preachy, but that's just my take on these disputes.
((and sorry, I was writing the questions before I saw you posted the answers yourself :S and I apparently can't criticize you for long posts anymore XD))
h ttp://www.churchofgod.o rg/
You guys are Protestant, but not mainstream. Centered more on the Pentecostal/Holiness movement rather than the thought of Luther or Calvin. It originated in the U.S. rather than Europe. And hey, look! The founder was a Baptist. :D *Thumbs up*
Thank you Read, Collin, and Half.note for answering my questions! It makes more sense now. ^_^
“And I think halfnote's right that Catholicism carries touches of paganism, but I'm not sure that's entirely bad. There were some good aspects to pagan religions, and it seems Catholicism has sifted out most of the bad elements. G.K. Chesterton admitted that Catholicism carried on Pagan traditions to an extent, but he admired it rather than denouncing it.”
I’m not sure exactly how to put what I want to say…
First of all, I don’t think there can be any “good aspects” of a religion that completely disregarded the True God, counterfeited His truths, and even went as far as sacrificing humans.
Christianity is to be based purely on the Bible, the Word of God, not the traditions of men that went against His Word.
“Dedication, thy name is Half.note :)”
Haha, you don’t even know the half of it. I probably spent a good two or three hours on that post. XP
Prepare for another long post. :)
“I am perfectly willing to agree to disagree on the Mary thing.”
As am I. I don’t like to quibble, and I'm just glad we had the opportunity to discuss. :)
“I would just like to point out that, while we dospend time with Mary, we are not doing that instead of spending time with Jesus, but as more of a supplement (wow, I hate that word, but...can't think of another one to use right now).”
Yes, I understand the Catholic views on Mary. I know Catholics don’t replace Jesus with Mary, but I still don’t think it’s Biblical for Christians to be praying or spending time with Mary at all.
“I also agree that there is no hard Biblical proof that Mary was sinless. But I don't think there is "no reason" to believe she was sinless--the fact that this belief has lasted this long with no Biblical proof says something.”
Well, the Bible does say that “all have sinned” and “There is none righteous, no, not one” so I think that should be pretty solid proof that Mary was a sinner like the rest of us.
And error can last just as long as truth. Just because a belief lasts a long time does not mean that it is true.
“I believe this is one of the things that seperates Catholicism from other faiths: we take our beliefs from not only the Bible, but tradition as well. And I stand by my logic that the person who raised the son of God had to be sinless, but hey, that's just me.”
And I respect your opinion and I don’t mean to tear down your beliefs, but I find this very… un-Biblical.
“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (Mark 7:7-9)
“Not like I'm a model Catholic, but I have never experienced the treating of saints like "pagan gods". Yes, we pray to them, but do not worship them. We more honor them and desire to follow in their footsteps.”
Like I said, I understand the Catholic views. I am truly sorry if I seemed to accuse you of worshipping them.
But isn’t “pray[ing] to them” and “honor[ing] them and desir[ing] to follow in their footsteps” at least similar to worshipping them? Why is it even necessary? Can God not hear your prayers? Is Jesus not a perfect enough example to follow?
I know, I know: they’re a “supplement." But nowhere in the Bible does it teach that we have need of Mary or extra saints to walk with God and be saved. It is simply not necessary, and I think it distracts away from God more than anything.
“Yes, we have certain designations for the saints (not sure if that's for all of them, though) and pray to them for those things, we are still acknowledging that it is God's grace that gave them those gifts in the first place.”
But there is no Biblical record or proof of most of these saints, and nowhere does it say that God gave them these gifts or that we are to pray to them or follow in their footsteps.
“But this is all really just guesses, since there has never seemed to be much focus on saints at all.”
I agree, to an extent. It’s true that saints aren’t the main focus of Catholicism, but like I said, I go to a Catholic school and I’ve heard Catholics pray to St. Valentine and other saints during the morning prayer and whatnot. Saints may not be a main focus, but they are still a part of the Catholic Church which I believe shows how it is derived from Paganism rather than the Bible.
“Not to completely change the subject, but I honestly don't think little (well, maybe not little) ideas like this that seperates our religions will really make a difference in the end--different religions are suited for different people, and while one might be "correct" in the very literal sense of the word, if we find God and his salvation through a slightly flawed religion, we've found God just the same. But the "correct" one would probably give us a deeper love and understanding of God, and that's just something we have to find for ourselves. Not to get all preachy, but that's just my take on these disputes.”
Naw, it’s okay. You can preach. I do it enough as not to be allowed to judge. :P
Anyways, I’m just going to be honest with you if that’s okay:
I think this is a very dangerous way of thinking.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” (1 John 1:6)
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Basically, there is only one truth and we are to search diligently to discover it. We are not to have any flaws but to be “perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” and we are to constantly be testing our beliefs to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
We need to know the whole truth or we will be decieved by Satan and lost.
Truth mixed with error is still error.
“and I apparently can't criticize you for long posts anymore XD”
I have a tendency to ramble on sometimes. I don’t mean for my posts to turn into novels, but they do anyways. :P
No problem. I’m glad I could be of help. :)
God bless. ♥
I have only one pressing question. Readaholic, why do you hate the word "supplement"?
2-3 hours? :O On . . . one . . . post . . .? *Bows down*
Anyways, haha, I never know how to phrase religious comments. I can never do the topics justice. :)
And I've read pagan mythology pretty extensively for a 17-year-old, and there's more to it than child sacrifice. Most pagan systems had some vague concept of an "over-god" that may very well have been a memory of God the Father. The hedonism present in many pagan societies was . . . distasteful, but there were good things too. Not all pagan gods were Molech or the Sun-God of the Aztecs that required still-beating hearts as appeasement from disciples. Many pagan traditions also grew to become something rather secular to their societies. There's something to be said for thousands of years of tradition.
I mean, does your family bring a tree inside the house for Christmas? Or do you decorate a jac-o-lantern for Halloween? Or paint eggs for easter? Do you enjoy watching the Olympics?
I could go on, but I think it's clear that not all paganism should be equated with evil. As long as we avoid pagan theology, I see no reason to demonize all aspects of pagan tradition. There are/were people/ideas outside Christendom who/that deserve our respect. Cicero, for example, was probably a better man than the majority of modern professing believers.
^Things like democracy, theater, writing, urbanization, and agriculture are also examples of positives to come out of pagan society. :p
I mean, Roman Catholicism blends Greco-Roman culture with the Judeo-Christian theology and ethic, and it seems like a pretty amazing combination if handled correctly. These two elements are the very essence of Western society: there was a time before Christ and its good side deserves to be honored. As a lover of everything ancient, I often find myself drawn to this construct rather than the Protestant construct that revolves only around the Christian framework and is therefore very young.
To butt my non-Christian opinion in, isn't there a difference between doing something of pa.gan origin (e.g. painting Easter eggs) and incorporating p.agan origin things into your religion (e.g. claiming that painting Easter eggs is Christian)?
stuntdude: I don't hate the word itself, I just didn't think it was a good word to describe what I was trying to say.
half.note: Let me just say, like you said, that I have really aprpeciated the chace for religious discussion! I hope I haven't offended you and your beliefs in any way either (and you haven't offended me at all).
I would just like to emphasize, one more time, that the only time they have ever talked about saints, in sunday school and stuff, was during a children's five-day retreat thing, and they were definitely focusing on them as examples of faith. I don't think we even learned the prayers to them. But I agree, it is definitely a non-Biblical part of our faith, no matter how insignificant.
And not to be offensive at all (I can't stress this enough, I'm honestly driven by curiosity, as I have no other religious friends to talk to and gain other perspectives to) but is it really possible to rely soley on the Bible? Is absolutely everything about Mass and Holy Days (idk if other religions have them, so disregard this if not) in there? Again, I'm not nearly as familiar with my Bible as others on here (but I'm getting on it!), but can every detail of faith be derived solely from the Bible? Not trying to sound skeptical because, again, I've just recently begun reading the Bible seriously.
Not in response to anything anyone said, just a question I've thought of, but wasn't Catholicism the first major Christian religion practied? Or was it just "christianity", or was it something else? I've heard it was Catholicism but, obviously, from Catholic people, and I'd like to get a less bias answer (which is the whole reason I'm on this thread, not to start fights)
Read: Okay, I can't answer your question about the Bible because I'm not exactly an expert yet either. But the first Christians I know of were the J.ews. I don't know if they were the first major Christian religion, but I think they're the first Christian religion.