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What is Religion?--Christianity

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by opuntia, Mar 28, 2006.

?
  1. Temporal (material; tangible).

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  2. Spiritual (inward; intangible).

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  3. Both.

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  4. Not Sure.

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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. opuntia

    opuntia Religion is Law

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    The purpose of religion is not something anyone can quantify or describe sufficiently to please everyone. See my thread “Definition of Religion: A Continuing Debate.” So how shall we define religion for those who believe in a Supreme Being is probably suitable for Christianity.

    So what is religion? Our record speaks of religion starting with Adam and Eve, where it appears that they offered sacrifices to God. The following suggests as much:

    “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.

    “And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

    “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.

    “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

    “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” (Genesis 4:1-5; KJV).

    For those familiar with the Law of Moses, it is known that animal sacrifice made up the center of religious activity for the Israelites. An offering was to be made in the name of God and if it was done correctly the sacrifice was accepted (Exodus 5:3; 20:24; Leviticus 17:5ff; Deuteronomy 15:19-23). The mistake Cain made appears to be in the offering up of the fruit of the ground instead of sheep, a blood sacrifice was a necessity to signify the blood sacrifice of the Son of God in the form of Jesus. See Hebrews 10:1-14 for Paul’s exposition. Jesus was called “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) by John the Baptist.

    Why the blood sacrifice until Jesus came? The issue of sacrifice was in its symbolism of the Sacrifice Jesus was to make for sins by shedding His own blood on the cross. Blood has signified not only death but also life when a woman gives birth to a baby. Jesus came not to address death but life for us, the ones under the law.

    “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

    “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5).

    We are under the law because of our sins, where we are lawbreakers of the perfect Law of God. There is no man or woman who can keep a Divine Law, as the Law is perfect and we are not. This may not seem fair, but in order to winnow out those who are willing to follow God’s way a process had to be instituted. Jesus often spoke in parables, where divine truths were hidden within the story. The following is revealing in light of those who kept the right way instituted by God against those who refused to comply:

    “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

    “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them from one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

    “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:31-34 (31-46)).

    It may not seem fair, to allow some to be exalted and others to be abased; but in allowing information to be spread on how one could obtain that exaltation and some accept while others reject, it is very fair to those who accepted the provisions for salvation. Jesus sent missionaries with the good news or Gospel (Greek, “a good message, i.e. the gospel,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Greek Dictionary of the New Testament 2098). He gave the instructions to the apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15).

    Paul even said as much himself:

    “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

    “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

    For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

    “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! [See Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15.]

    “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? [See Isaiah 53:1 (1-12).]

    “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” (Romans 10:11-18).

    Today, the Holy Bible is the most widely distributed book overall according to the following authorities:

    Guinness World Records (online version):

    “The world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book is the Bible, with an estimated 2.5 billion copies sold since 1815. It has been translated into 2,233 languages and dialects.”

    Wikipedia:

    “The Bible continues to be the most translated book in the world.”

    The Gospel has been preached unto the ends of the earth.
     
  2. Mr. Hair

    Mr. Hair Renegade Cavalcade

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    An interesting question. I guess my answer would have to be both. I think a (perhaps the) core precept for a religion is the essence of the intangible spiritual/divine, and how one can recognise and perhaps communicate with that. But equally important are the temporal objects and concepts that manifest themselves from the spiritual source, and which (in a limited and specific way) can represent the spiritual, which itself is beyond comprehension.

    So, a very wordy way of saying 'both'. :)
     
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