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Featured Catholic=/=Roman.

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Shiranui117, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    Alright, so I just want to bring up a point that I've seen over and over and over again and it annoys the ever-living crap out of me.

    So when people talk about Christianity, they talk about Protestantism, ROMAN Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy.

    Alright, all fair... Technically you're leaving the Oriental Orthodox and the Assyrian Church of the East out in the cold, but since like every other language in the world has just one word for East and the Assyrian Church of the East is waaayyyyy past its heyday where it went from Persia all the way to China, I'm willing to overlook those two things. But I DO have one major problem. The Roman Church is not the entirety of the Catholic Church. You still have about 22 other Catholic Churches to go before you have the entirety of the Catholic Church.

    "Wait, what?" I hear you say. Don't worry, confused reader, allow me to explain.

    You see, like with the Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church isn't just one church. It's a whole bunch of them, all in communion with one another and adhering to the same dogmas, though some of these dogmas are read just a little bit differently by the different Churches. Unlike the Orthodox Church, all the Catholic Churches recognize the Pope of Rome as the head of the universal Catholic Church and of the Roman Church in particular.

    While the Roman Church is the largest of the Catholic Churches (thank you Spanish and Portuguese Empires), there exist 22 other Catholic Churches, a list of which you can find here. They have their own parallel church hierarchies, with their own deacons, priests and bishops, with Patriarchs sitting at the top of that particular Eastern Catholic Church's hierarchy. Most of these Churches used to be Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox or Assyrian Church of the East, but for one reason or another, they split off from their not-Catholic counterparts and came into communion with the Pope of Rome and the Roman Church, while keeping all of their own spiritual, liturgical, theological and customary traditions. And that gets SUPER awkward at Catholic family get-togethers when you have the Oriental Catholics and Chaldean Catholics commemorating Saints on opposite sides of theological and political arguments who repeatedly went at it harder than the opponents in the good episodes of Epic Rap Battles of History, but everyone involved ignores that small tidbit for sanity's sake.

    However, you DO have two Eastern Catholic Churches who, as far as anyone can tell, never went out of communion with the Roman Church: The Italo-Byzantines (take a guess as to why) and the Maronites, who basically got screwed over by their new Abbasid mobile service providers and thus lost touch with Rome for like 400 years. That is, until the Crusaders with Raymond of Toulouse came by and the Maronites were all like "Sup fam" and the Crusaders were like "New phone who dis" and the Maronites were like "We're the Maronites, who's the Pope rn" and then Raymond was like "Pope Urban II" and the Maronites were like "Sweet kthx" and later on the Pope was like "O hai guyz welcome back"

    Fun fact: One of the Papal titles used to be "Patriarch of the West", as the Church of Rome was historically the only Western church to have its own Patriarch.

    As a fun side note: You'll see the heads of some Eastern Catholic Churches being called "Major Archbishop". How you should read that is "Guy who is basically a Patriarch but isn't getting called that, probably due to political shenanigans that nobody really cares about".

    Now, what makes the Eastern Catholic Churches not-Roman? Tl;dr answer: Basically everything. Yes, you read that right. Even the hats are different (and I have proof). Eastern Catholics have different theologies, different Saints, different church buildings, different worship services, different liturgical calendars, different prayers, different customs... And the list just keeps going on. For example, Romans make the sign of the cross with an open hand going up-down-left-right. Eastern Catholics put their thumb, pointer finger and middle finger together (three Persons of the Trinity) and fold their pinky and ring finger down against the palm (two natures of Christ, divine and human when He came down and became man), and go up-down-right-left. This makes a lot of sense, as it follows the direction that the priest blesses you. The Romans used to do it like this too, but things changed around the 1200's for some odd reason. In the areas of theology, list of Saints, church buildings, worship services, calendars, prayers, customs and all that stuff, the Eastern Catholics are basically identical with their Eastern Orthodox, Oriental and Assyrian Church of the East counterparts. If you walk into an Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy/Holy Qurbana, the only time you'd actually be able to tell it was Catholic is when the time came to pray for the church's bishops.

    But for the differences that you probably actually care about: Eastern Catholics don't have a concept of Original Sin in which we all bear the guilt of the sin of Adam and Eve. We believe that humanity inherited only the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin, namely mortality, susceptibility to disease, a tendency to sin and, most importantly, a separation from God. And the Catholic Church as a whole only names these latter things as being dogmatically binding. To quote the Catechism:

    416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

    417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".

    418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called "concupiscence").

    And another thing: Purgatory is ONLY a Roman idea. It never existed in any other Church. Eastern Catholics believe that we all receive a foretaste of the Judgement in between the time that we die and the time of the Last Judgement. But the idea of indulgences, or the treasury of merits, or any of this stuff has zero place in Byzantine, Oriental or Assyrian theology.

    Oh, and Limbo? It was never, ever doctrine within the Catholic Church, not ever. It was a popular idea among the Roman Catholics, but it was never doctrine. Why, you ask? Because it's a solution to a problem that only the Romans had. To us Easterners, it's cut and dry: Babies have committed no sin, and they're innocent. Of course God will have mercy on them and admit them into Heaven. And luckily the Romans have finally caught up, but for a few centuries there was some silliness where they had to make up a place to satisfy both the cold, hard logic of Scholastic thought which stated (erroneously) that original sin is actual sin that we are personally guilty of on the one hand, and the compassionate, common-sense idea that they're just babies. Scholastic solution? Let's invent Limbo, which isn't Heaven, but it isn't Hell, either! Perfect!

    This is probably Part 1 of the installment. There is oh so much more to cover. But if you want to ask any follow-up questions, fire off a gotcha-question/comment about the Catholic Church or tell me that I'm bad and I should feel bad, then leave a comment below.
     
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  2. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    I was vaguely aware of the Eastern churches before this because I had read that married men could become priests there. But the full nature of the differences was no something I had known about before now.
     
  3. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    Well, I learned something new today. I really had no idea. Thanks for sharing Shiranui. :)
     
  4. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Well-Known Member

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    They can. Celibacy has never been universally required for the priesthood, it is a disciplinary requirement of Roman Church. (And even there exceptions exist). However once ordained, priests cannot marry and bishops are always celibate no matter the rite.

    As a consequence of this the Roman Church could hypothetically abolish the celibacy requirement for its priests, although in reality that's unlikely to happen.
     
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  5. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    @Shiranui117

    From your link....here is the list of "Catholic" Churches.

    Albanian Greek Catholic Church 1628
    [​IMG] Armenian Catholic Church 1742
    Belarusian Greek Catholic Church 1596
    Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church 1861
    [​IMG] Chaldean Catholic Church 1552 / 1830
    [​IMG] Coptic Catholic Church 1741
    Eritrean Catholic Church[63] 2015
    [​IMG] Ethiopian Catholic Church 1846 A
    Greek Byzantine Catholic Church 1829
    Greek Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia[64](p1140)
    Hungarian Greek Catholic Church
    1646
    Italo-Albanian
    Greek Catholic Church
    1784 (independent hierarchy)(never separated)
    Macedonian Greek Catholic Church 2008
    [​IMG] Melkite Greek Catholic Church 1726
    Romanian Greek Catholic Church 1697
    Russian Greek Catholic Church 1905
    Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church 1646
    Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church 1646
    [​IMG] Syriac Catholic Church 1781
    [​IMG] Syriac Maronite Church 4th c.(never separated)
    [​IMG] Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Apostolic origin
    Formally united 1599,
    [​IMG] Syro-Malankara Catholic Church Apostolic origin. Reunited in 1930
    [​IMG] Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

    It is interesting to me that all these churches are separated by their national identity....as well as being different in their practices.

    Since Christ never once spoke about nationality being at issue for Christians and the apostle Paul wrote: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 NRSVCE)

    How is division like that seen in the Catholic Churches, being "one in Christ Jesus"? :shrug:

    The apostle Paul also wrote at Ephesians 2:12-16:
    "12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it."

    This is speaking about reconciling Jews and Gentiles as one body in Christ.....so where do Catholic believers get the idea that the "Christian" church can be broken up and each church claim a national identity when Paul said no such divisions should occur in Christianity at all? If there was to be no division between Jews and Gentiles, then I believe that nationality should play no role at all in being "Christian".

    Would I be likely to see Jesus wearing something like this?.....

    [​IMG] or this? [​IMG]

    ....when Jesus never dressed in garb that was different from his spiritual brothers. The only way Judas could identify Christ to the men who were sent to arrest him was to greet him with a kiss. He wasn't wearing anything that made him stand out as different.

    How did the church end up with all this? [​IMG]

    Just curious....?

     
  6. Jesster

    Jesster Friendly skeptic
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    I'm not involved in Catholicism in any way, but I'm perfectly comfortable with Catholicism not being strictly Roman. I'm from New Mexico, which lost contact with Europe for a prolonged time in its history and soaked in a lot of the local flavors instead, so the Catholic culture here now is far from its Roman origins. I actually much prefer the Catholics here, but that may be my local bias speaking.
     
  7. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

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    That all sounds right without delving deep into it.
     
  8. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

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    The biggest problem I have with the Catholic Churches is forbidding priests to marry. I understand why, please don't give me a lecture on it. I just don't think it's a good thing.
     
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  9. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I'm only familiar with Roman Catholic since I was RC, you said that other Catholic Churches have different saints? What other saints do they have that is more important than Mother Mary and St. Joseph? There are thousands of saints; so, what do you mean by "different saints?"
     
  10. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    Yeah. Married men can become priests in the Eastern Catholic Churches, but not in the Roman Church. Gotta hate the Investiture Controversy. You'd think that at some point Rome would allow married men to become priests in their church again... It's been 800 years now, and nobody hires priests to do government work anymore.

    Honestly, I can see forbidding priests to marry as being a good thing. It really puts the kabosh on any melodrama a parish might experience if their priest is trying to date around. Just imagine a breakup... But like you said, you're not in the mood for a lecture.

    Of course, many Saints will be the same. Mary, Joseph, the Apostles, Athanasius the Great, St. John Chrysostom, and all these Apostolic and Nicene Fathers are all going to be the same. For Byzantine-rite Eastern Catholics, we share all the Saints with the Roman Church up until 1054. From that point onward, Byzantine Catholics recognize the Orthodox Saints as being Saints of our own churches; for example, we honor St. Gregory Palamas (who gave full expression to the fundamental distinction in Byzantine spirituality between God's Essence and Energies, which differs from Scholastic theology on the Beatific Vision and the concept of created grace), St. Photios (who the Roman Church utterly despised until recently), St. Alexander Nevsky, St. Andrei Rublev, St. Mark of Ephesus (who was the leading Orthodox opponent against the Catholic Council of Florence which attempted to heal the Great Schism), and St. Sergius of Radonezh. Many of these Saints have their own feast days within Eastern Catholicism--for example, in Byzantine-Rite Eastern Catholic Churches, the second Sunday of Lent is the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas.

    For Oriental Catholics (Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, West Syriac and East Syriac Rites), they share all the same Saints with the Byzantine Catholics and the Roman Catholics up until 431, when the schism resulting from the Council of Chalcedon happened. Some people considered to be political opponents and potential heretics by the Chalcedonian Christians are held as Saints by the Oriental Catholics, such as Pope St. Dioscorus of Alexandria (Fun fact: The Patriarch of Alexandria was the first bishop to be called Pope, not the Bishop of Rome), St. Severus of Antioch, and tons and tons of others who I sadly don't know much about. Nowadays all parties involved (Catholics of all stripes, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox) have figured out that the disputes that happened back then can be blamed almost entirely on hellacious language barriers (Greek, Latin, Coptic AND Syriac, good God) and people not taking time to fully understand what other people were saying, so things are all pretty much smoothed over.

    On a slightly related note, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox bishops have all signed declarations stating that they all believe basically the same thing about Jesus, but use slightly different language which caused horrendous amounts of misunderstandings and maybe some exiling, oppressing and killing. Byzantine imperial politics at its finest.

    Now, given the different histories of each Eastern Catholic Church, different Saints will have more importance than others. Seeing an Eastern Catholic parish named after Joan of Arc or St. Patrick or Thomas Aquinas would make pretty much zero sense, since these Saints were never important in the East. In the same way, I would be very surprised to find a Roman Catholic parish named after, say, St. Meletios of Antioch or St. Vladimir the Great since they had very little influence in the West. When the Eastern Catholic Churches came into union with the Pope of Rome, we of course brought all our Saints with us that had been around after the Schism. We have our Saints on our calendars, and the Romans have their Saints on their calendars, and it's all good.
     
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  11. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    A couple points to be made here:

    1: None of these churches differ from one another in terms of faith. A Roman Catholic could walk into any of these Eastern Catholic churches and worship in the divine services, receive the Sacraments from the priests there, etc, and vice-versa for any Eastern Catholics going to another Eastern Catholic parish, or to a Roman Catholic parish. We are all one in Christ Jesus, because He is the ultimate head of the Universal Church. This is diversity, not division.

    2: The Ukrainian Greek-Catholics would never say to the Melkites "We're better than you because we're Ukrainian". There's no actual division or disagreement between any of these churches, or a sense of "I'm better than you", just differences in tradition, custom and history, though I hear there's a mad centuries-long contest going on between the Ukrainian Greek-Catholics and the Byzantine Catholics about whose babushkas make the best cabbage rolls and pierogies... St. Paul was writing against Christians who were saying "I'm better than you because I was baptized by Peter" and "I'm better than you because I'm a Jewish Christian and I keep the Law of Moses". None of his cautions apply to the various Catholic Churches, for the next reason that I'm going to detail.

    In America, our national motto is this: E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. As Christianity spread to new lands and new peoples, we baptized the culture of that people and used it as a medium through which to express the Christian faith. This way, every people have a Christianity that is THEIRS. There is not, has never been and should never be a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter expression of the Christian faith. That is why there are regional Churches--not because Catholics endorse tribalism, but because we recognize the importance of baptizing all nations. And with all these peoples having a Church for them through which they can express their Christian faith in a way that is most authentic for their culture, the universal Church ends up as a symphony, a tapestry woven of every tribe, of every nation, of every tongue. The Church has never sought to erase the cultures of the native lands, though the Spanish and Portuguese Empires had their own ideas on that regard. Is that Jehovah's Witnesses protocol, to completely eradicate the previous culture of whatever people you spread your faith to?

    A lot of priests', deacons' and bishops' vestments evolved out of traditional, everyday clothing items in the Roman and Byzantine Empires. Cassocks, albs, phelonii and things like that were considered everyday wear. They just started making fancier versions of these things to signify that, when a member of the clergy is celebrating the divine services, they are participating in the heavenly worship of the Kingdom of God. In the case of the bishops' and patriarchs' funny hats, that all started when the Ottomans took over Constantinople and decided for whatever reason to make the bishops in charge of the Christian minority groups for secular affairs. Once that happened, the bishops started taking a few pieces of imperial Byzantine garments as a sign of their secular authority, and it sort of stuck.

    Also consider God's commandments in the Old Testament about what the priests should wear: A lot of vestments. Christian clergy simply continued the traditions that they received from the Jews.

    You as a Jehovah's Witness should understand this very well; you call your meeting places "Kingdom Halls", don't you? In our parishes, the iconography, the structure and the decoration signify that one is leaving the secular world and mystically entering the Kingdom of God. This is why, in every Byzantine Divine Liturgy, the priest begins the service with "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever."

    There have been movements within the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in the past against things like this. For example, the Non-Possessors in Russia (the leader of whom, St. Nilus, later was named an Orthodox/Eastern Catholic Saint) and the Franciscans in Western Europe.

    Yeah, that's actually more like what Christianity is supposed to do. You Christianize the culture, but you also acculturate the Christianity. Christianity SHOULD look different in Mexico than it does in Russia, Greece, Italy, Germany, the UK, Australia, India, West Africa and Egypt, because each culture and each group of people comes to Christ in their own way, with their own language, culture and history. The faith stays the same, yet it is expressed through the authentic voice of each individual people.
     
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  12. Magus

    Magus Active Member

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    As a Roman religion, all it's traditions come from the many cults of the Roman empire.
     
  13. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Do you believe that culture includes religious beliefs that can be mixed or fused with Christianity? When the Jewish religion was mixed with the religious customs of the surrounding nations, God punished his people severely for polluting what was pure with something that was impure. He called it spiritual "adultery" (Jeremiah 3:8-9).....adultery was a capital crime in Israel. It was a serious offense.

    Can a true religion be 'contaminated' by false religious beliefs so that it is neither one nor the other? Would you drink a glass of water if I told you it was poisoned? Would the amount of poison be an issue for you?

    This is what I mean.....


    "While Catholicism is the most popular religion in Brazil, syncretism of different religions and spiritual beliefs is extremely common. The Catholicism practiced in Brazil is heavily influenced by African and Indigenous religions. Many Brazilian Catholics participate in the rituals of the African religions and believe in orixás, or gods of the indigenous people."

    The Influence of the Catholic Church and Indigenous Religions in Brazil

    Halloween Creeps In Where Local Tradition Ruled the Living and Dead


    So many "Catholic" countries incorporate their pagan traditions into their worship....and is that OK with God?

    In view of what the apostle Paul said, I can't see how it can be justified. :shrug:

    2 Corinthians 6:14-18

    "Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? 15 Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Beʹli·al? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I will reside among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 ‘Therefore, get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take you in.’” 18 “‘And I will become a father to you, and you will become sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah, the Almighty."

    We embrace different cultures too, but never do we permit false religious ideas to infiltrate our beliefs. We see from the Bible that God never allowed this for his ancient people. We all believe the same things and practice the same religion with no variation whilst till maintaining our culture, no matter what country we live in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Jehovah's Witnesses BROADCASTING

    Rather than "Christianize" paganism, we see it more like "paganizing" Christianity. :(

    In reading through the NT we find no earthly priests in the Christian congregations. Christianity was a departure from the traditional ways of the Jews. For Christ's followers, there was the promise of becoming priests in God's heavenly kingdom. That is where God's true Temple is located...but it was future; (Revelation 20:6)...no priests officiated at Christian meetings. They gathered for instruction in God's word and in training to preach to others. Elders shepherded the flock and guided them with spiritual instruction. No special garb was worn because Jesus said that they were all "brothers" and that they should not be called "father" or "leaders" because they already had one Father, "Jehovah God"....and one "leader", Jesus Christ. (Matthew 23:8-12)

    If you remember, Jesus was constantly complaining about the Pharisees because they put man-made traditions before the word of God. Do you think the church does this too?
     
  14. Magus

    Magus Active Member

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    JW don't embrace cultures, they simply take advantage of the poorness and lack of education, to brainwash them with a silly religion, so they can build churches and tithe the poor, it's always about money.

    Missionaries are the worst types of people, go into places where they don't belong too destroy it's native culture and traditions.
     
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  15. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    It's also worth noting that syncretism of this sort is condemned by the Catholic Church.

    God has taken what is good and useful from those cultures and rehabilitated it to serve Him and instruct the people in His ways. If you remember, Jehovah/Yahweh was originally just the Canaanite war deity, and you can see Canaanite paganism all over the first five books of the Bible. God doesn't even demand pure monotheism from the people of Israel in the Ten Commandments, just that they not worship any other god.

    In view of what St. Paul said, I absolutely can. Consider his example in Acts 17:

    22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:

    TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

    Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you
    : 24 “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

    And his own explanation of his approach to evangelizing in 1 Corinthians 9:20-23:

    and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

    The point being, St. Paul looked at what in the culture could be used to point to God and to the Gospel. In the case of the Greeks, he saw a shrine to an unknown God and the words of some Greek poets to make the case: "You see! Christianity is not so foreign to you. Look here and see what within your own culture and religion already points to the truth of the Gospel!" He even PRAISED the Greeks for these things. Rather than spending all his time saying "Your paganism is bad and you should feel bad", he said "Look, your paganism points to Christ and is fulfilled in Christ!" This process of evangelization isn't about removing the culture of the people being evangelized, but is rather about reclaiming the truth and the typologies found within it that can be used to point the people towards God, while discarding what does not accord with the truth.

    Many symbols around the world are universal; the sun and the cross are two of them. There are two possible approaches here: Reject these symbols which are very powerful to dozens upon dozens of cultures around the world and expunge them from the people's history, or use these symbols which already are rich in meaning for the culture you are trying to convert, and adjust them to fit the Gospel. Christianity from the Bible onward has always chosen option number 2. Christ was crucified upon a cross, and Christ is called the Sun of Righteousness, as per Malachi 4:2.

    Consider how some Christian missionaries convinced the Germanic pagans (I am most certainly NOT looking at you, St. Boniface :rage:). They used the myth of Odin impaling himself on the World Tree as a way to help the Germanic peoples understand the crucifixion of Christ. As the Germanic peoples were a warrior culture, they also presented Christ as a warrior who conquered death, sin and the devil. And also consider the Greeks: Christ was presented to them as Teacher, as the Lord of All Who leads all men to the Truth. To the Jews, Jesus was the promised Messiah. To the Mesoamericans, Jesus was the One to whom you didn't need to be offered up as a human sacrifice (IDK about you but that would have sealed the deal for me right the hell there).

    There is no such thing as a religion without a culture. In the case of the Jehovah's Witnesses, your religion has a puritanistic, 20th-century American culture. If there truly is no variation in how any Jehovah's Witness practices their religion, then it is this culture that you are spreading along with your religion whether you are aware of it or not. Africans, Asians, Europeans and Latin Americans are all practicing a US-American religion within a US-American cultural context.

    Now, compare this to Catholicism and Orthodoxy, where the Church is adopted by the people and truly made their own. Look and see how they proclaim the resurrection of Christ. Compare this Georgian Orthodox (the country, not the state) chant:

    To an Orthodox chant sung in Arabic lands:

    To a Ruthenian Catholic chant:

    To an Ethiopian Orthodox song and dance:


    All of these songs proclaim the same thing: "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life." Yet look and see how each people sings that song with their own voice and in their own way.

    Have you at least skimmed it in Greek before? Do you know what a "presbyter" and an "episkopos" are? Or how about a "diakonos"? Let me help you: They're presbyters, episcopates and deacons, respectively. Or, in more common English, priests, bishops and deacons. In reading the Didache (a handbook on how to Christian from 50 AD), which is older than any of the writings of the New Testament, we find that there very much are Christian priests. There were leaders within the Christian community who exercised priestly functions, such as the consecration of the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11). 1 Timothy 3 lists the qualifications for those who seek to be named to the position of episkopos and diakonos.

    Care to back the public speaking classes up with Scripture? According to Acts 2, Christians met to break bread (i.e. have the Eucharist) and to pray. As in, prayer and the breaking of bread were the main body of the Christian meetings, not public speaking practice. The Eucharist was celebrated whenever the Christian community came together on the first day of the week (Sunday), as 1 Corinthians 11:20 and Acts 20:7 give evidence. The Apostles, the leaders of the Christian community, gave themselves to prayer and to study of Scripture, and they led the congregation in prayer, as we see in Acts 6.

    Really? Then why does Paul call himself the spiritual father of Timothy and the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 4:16-17? And why does Peter call Mark his son?

    Absolutely not. The Tradition of the Church leads people to God. In fact, in cases where the canons of the Church prove more harmful than helpful to believers in certain situations, then the priests and bishops will exempt the faithful from these canons.
     
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  16. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    You are hilarious. [​IMG] We don't tithe at all and no one is obligated to give anything. We build Kingdom Halls in poor countries with funds provided by the more wealthy ones. It costs them nothing. We are glad to support our brothers in any nation.

    Well I guess Jesus and his apostles were the worst types of people according to you....? [​IMG]

    You ignorance is pretty obvious with that little tirade.
     
  17. Magus

    Magus Active Member

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    So where does JW get it's money, they are obviously profiteering.
     
  18. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    But why do we see so much of it, and no condemnation from the church? It seems to be generally accepted in the countries where it is practiced. Why does the church tolerate it? Why are priests allowed to promote it?

    "Rehabilitated it"? What did the Jewish faith incorporate that was outside of what was prescribed by God at Mt Sinai?
    When Israel fell to worshipping a golden calf as a leftover from their time in Egypt, what was God's response? What was Moses' response? They called it a festival to Yahweh, but it was so unacceptable that those who fell into that idolatry were put to death. God never allowed them to hold a festival in his name again without prescribing every detail in advance.

    No, I don't remember. Yahweh was never a Canaanite war deity. When Israel were promised their Land, they did not take up residence straight away. In the interim, the Canaanites moved in and polluted the land with their disgusting practices.
    Show us the 'Canaanite paganism' all over the Pentateuch. Israel was warned NOT to adopt the ways of these people. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12) When they did, God punished them severely.

    This is called finding common ground. It never means compromising the truth and incorporating false worship just to make someone feel 'at home'. Tell me when God ever did that. :shrug:

    Sun worship was common in pagan religions. So was the symbol of the cross......both originated in Babylon and we believe they have no place in Christianity. There is evidence from the Bible that Christ was not put to death on a "cross".
    "Stauros" is the Greek word used for the implement of Christ's execution. It never means two pieces of wood crossed at any angle. Besides, even if it was a cross, it is a bizarre thing to make a replica of the instrument used to kill someone you love and adorn our places of worship with it or to wear it as jewelry. If Christ had been hung, would we see little gallows in churches with Jesus hanging from the rope?

    People of all nations who are JW's wear their own national attire but worship God as one body of believers no matter what part of the world they inhabit. Since our worship is based on the first century model, we have no "American culture" pervading our worship. We base it on the Bible, adhering to God's standards, and teaching one truth to all as Jesus did. Culture does not alter or overpower truth, why would it?
     
  19. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Why "obviously"? What do you actually know about us?

    We do not solicit donations from the public and all donations made at the Kingdom Hall by us are voluntary. We do not pass the plate around at our meetings, but have a discreet donation box up the back. No one knows who puts what into that box. It is between them and God. We have no paid clergy and all the work we do is voluntary. All our literature is free. Where is the profiteering?
     
  20. Magus

    Magus Active Member

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    So you have a 'Kingdom Hall, who pays for that, who pays the tax, where does the travel money come from, obviously your Cult leader don't tell you where they get the money from.
     
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