Proof of how Christian division really hurts us


#1

I peeked at the thread for the beast movie, and saw that their site had forums associated. One of the atheists who posted there had this to say, which is all-too-common:

[quote=atheist] I don’t question your knowlege of scripture, you seem quite well versed in it.
I question the validity of the work itself, as well as your particular interpretation.

I’m sure that I can find a contradictory statment between you and some other “christian” and probably on these very forums.

With such wide variety of choices, who’s to say anybodies got it right, even if Jesus did exist.
[/quote]

How very sad that our divisions drive some away from the God that we try to show them. Let us never forget to pray unceasingly for unity.

Peace,
javelin


#2

I agree that the division among Christians really hurts us and those with whom we are called to share Christ.

John 17:20-23:
“I ask not only on behalf of these [apostles], but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

I am always struck reading this passage by the connection Jesus makes between unity and evangelization. He knew that divisions among his followers would make their witness to Truth less effective.
I second your call to pray for unceasing unity.


#3

Without division, there is no unification.

Nothing lost, nothing found.

No sin, no forgiveness. No forgiveness, no gratitude.

Not a problem; the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.

Of course, when we talk about divisions we often mean the intellectual differences in theological understanding. When I talk about divisions, I think also in terms of matters of the heart such as one person condemning another in his own heart for being less ideal along these lines. This is how pride causes one kind of division to masquerade as another, and often cleverly hides itself from the very ones who see the other person as being “responsible” for the division.

What I would like to see are ideas on how we can build unity that don’t include “fixing” other people. If we think our task is to fix others to think the right things like we do, then the Spirit will not be with us, other than a deceitful spirit of pride, causing us to continue on brother-bashing as a method of promoting unity.

Alan


#4

Originally Posted by atheist
*I don’t question your knowlege of scripture, you seem quite well versed in it. *
*I question the validity of the work itself, as well as your particular interpretation. *

*I’m sure that I can find a contradictory statment between you and some other “christian” and probably on these very forums. *

With such wide variety of choices, who’s to say anybodies got it right, even if Jesus did exist.

That is very sad, but in the wake of Martin Luther and the many schisms and splinterings that followed, it is what we get unfortunately.

This is one of the main reasons that kept me out of the Church and from faith for the first 20 years of my life. Who’s “gospel” are we supposed to believe? It was really that simple. And only through a strong yearing to know the truth and alot of astute studying was what brought me into the Catholic Church.

Even in my youth I could see something was a miss with Christianity, seeing two Churches practically across the street from one another with differing monikers on their signs to distinguish themselves apart. And when I looked into them further, it was more than just the words on a sign that made them different. So when many of these Protestants and relativist cafeteria Catholics disregard denominational distinctives and say things like “we are all basically Christian, and thats all that matters”, I simply cannot agree with that.

On the surface Protestants and Catholics may be Christian in some generic or simple sense, however there are many differing positions in serious matters of doctorine and belief that cannot be disregarded for the sake of ecumenism, or for a supposed unity that does not exist. However I continue to pray and yearn for this unity daily, which is why I came on these forums to begin with.:wink:


#5

That sounds like a good thing. Welcome.

Even in my youth I could see something was a miss with Christianity, seeing two Churches practically across the street from one another with differing monikers on their signs to distinguish themselves apart. And when I looked into them further, it was more than just the words on a sign that made them different. So when many of these Protestants and relativist cafeteria Catholics disregard denominational distinctives and say things like “we are all basically Christian, and thats all that matters”, I simply cannot agree with that.

You might want to tread very lightly here. Note that you come across as having condemned those protestants and “relativist cafeteria Catholics” as the ones who are the cause of the current problem. That is, the current alleged problem.

When Jesus’ disciples tried to stop a group from driving out demons in Christ’s name since they didn’t belong to the right group, Jesus told them not to stop them because “any who is not against us is for us.”

Jesus told the story about the good Samaritan, whereas the kindness he showed was much more important than what group he belonged to or what faith he professed.

Again Jesus told the story about the publican and the tax collector, where the publican was crowing about how great it was to be in the right group and doing the right practices, but was not justified and a sinner was.

By today’s vernacular, we would have called Jesus a relativist because he accepted sinners, outsiders, wrong thinkers, and considered those who did a kind deed above all those who would think they knew it all and would tell those kind actors a thing or two about their faith.

I’m kind of like that. The person who puts us up when we have no home is my neighbor, Catholic or not. The person who is there to console me is doing Jesus’ work. Who am I to tell them that they are less of a Christian than I am because I belong to the right organization?

On the surface Protestants and Catholics may be Christian in some generic or simple sense, however there are many differing positions in serious matters of doctorine and belief that cannot be disregarded for the sake of ecumenism, or for a supposed unity that does not exist. However I continue to pray and yearn for this unity daily, which is why I came on these forums to begin with.:wink:

For the sake of operating the Church, it is important for these matters to be spelled out. For the sake of a Catholic or non-Catholic Christian (yes they are Christians too, like it or not) and how they behave on a daily basis, then no they really aren’t important.

For example, several years ago I was taken to task by a Wiccan who had helped in the rescue of bodies (and survivors? I can’t remember) from the Potomac River airplane crash in snowy weather. He had a good point. There were Christians and non-Christians alike working side by side. I’d like to think God smiled at the acts of unity, which did not depend on rigid adherence to dogma.

Many times when people disagree with doctrine, they don’t fully understand it. Sometimes they are just stubborn, or culturally programmed. One of the greatest divisions this causes are divisions in the heart – one group thinks they are better than the other because they are more orthodox, or if not better than somehow more blessed. The other group always feels the gap of being inferior and knowing they hold different views. To me, this is a far more serious source of division in the Church than whether a couple sneaks around doing something in their bedroom that offends our doctrine.

Alan


#6

It seems that people here are talking about two different things, however.

On the one hand, doctrinal unity, and on the other, a practical “working” unity.

I think’s point is well taken that Christ accepts all who genuinely come to Him, regardless of whether or not others may think their faith is “worthy” of His acceptance. We are not to judge, but be judged. But when Christ accepts people where they are at, He doesn’t then go on to tell them to go on and keep sinning. He says “now go and sin no more.”

Doctrinal unity cannot be disregarded by saying, basically, that our differences don’t really matter. If we try to present a “unified” front to unbelievers while “ignoring” doctrine where we disagree, it send a clear message that the disputed doctrine doesn’t matter. One can argue that our disputed doctrine really doesn’t matter, but where would you draw the line? Does the Eucharist not matter? Baptism? The Communion of Saints? And as far as behavioral moral issues like birth control, we cannot water down a message that profoundly affects the sanctity of marriage and life.

So it is not so simple to agree to minimize differences and leave it at that. People see through it in a heartbeat, and it hurts the cause for Christ.

Peace,
javelin


#7

Javelin

You bring out an excellent point. Most onlookers to Christianity believe any one of numerous religious faiths are the true church and is as good as the next, never knowing most are only 500 years old and rebels to the original to begin with. Some only go back as far as the 19th century. It is sad, because the truth is out there, but because of Protestant denominational confusion, one has to really dig through the weeds to find the beautiful flower.


#8

[quote=javelin]It seems that people here are talking about two different things, however.

On the one hand, doctrinal unity, and on the other, a practical “working” unity.

I think’s point is well taken that Christ accepts all who genuinely come to Him, regardless of whether or not others may think their faith is “worthy” of His acceptance. We are not to judge, but be judged. But when Christ accepts people where they are at, He doesn’t then go on to tell them to go on and keep sinning. He says “now go and sin no more.”

Doctrinal unity cannot be disregarded by saying, basically, that our differences don’t really matter. If we try to present a “unified” front to unbelievers while “ignoring” doctrine where we disagree, it send a clear message that the disputed doctrine doesn’t matter. One can argue that our disputed doctrine really doesn’t matter, but where would you draw the line? Does the Eucharist not matter? Baptism? The Communion of Saints? And as far as behavioral moral issues like birth control, we cannot water down a message that profoundly affects the sanctity of marriage and life.

So it is not so simple to agree to minimize differences and leave it at that. People see through it in a heartbeat, and it hurts the cause for Christ.

Peace,
javelin
[/quote]

[quote=piety101]Javelin

You bring out an excellent point. Most onlookers to Christianity believe any one of numerous religious faiths are the true church and is as good as the next, never knowing most are only 500 years old and rebels to the original to begin with. Some only go back as far as the 19th century. It is sad, because the truth is out there, but because of Protestant denominational confusion, one has to really dig through the weeds to find the beautiful flower.
[/quote]

Am in agreement here with both of you, I couldn’t add more.

As for Alan,

I don’t condemn Protestants or Wiccans for not being Catholic, as Fr. Feeney and his followers believe. Since many through no fault of their own were born into invicible ignorance, and thus can be saved through the Church’s teaching of baptism of desire. Though since we aren’t God it is not our place to judge them anyway.

But I have less sympathy for the “relativist cafeteria Catholic” who doesn’t put forth the effort to learn the teachings of his or her faith, and much less to those Catholics who know and purposely reject them.

And I as a Catholic faithful to Church teaching, I don’t feel I have a superiority complex or in some way think I am “better” or more worthy of God’s favor, as you seem to imply.


#9

I agree that unity is a worthy goal. I also believe that people need to be free to be separate before they can willfully come together and unite in a meaningful way. An inforced unity is a hollow unity.

I see the authoritarian structure of Catholicism as counter-productive to those ends.


#10

Angainor,

The “authoritarian structure” that you dislike so much is simply the New Testament fulfillment of that other “authoritarian structure”, the Old Testament Levitical priesthood and the Davidic kingship. Why do you think that God imposes such hierarchies? How come God doesn’t speak of the “democracy of heaven”, but speaks instead of a Kingdom? How come He wants us to obey Him—doesn’t He know that that is the hallmark of authoritarian structures? I guess that Adam and Eve were simply, like you, not willing to obey authoritarian structures. Why does Jesus give Peter (and later the Apostles) the power to “bind and loose”? Seems pretty authoritarian to me…if we all have authority, then no one has authority. If we all have the truth, then no one has the truth. I take it you are not a theist, but a relativist?


#11

[quote=javelin]How very sad that our divisions drive some away from the God that we try to show them. Let us never forget to pray unceasingly for unity.

Peace,
javelin
[/quote]

I agree that it is sad, but on the other hand, isn’t it better that we are Catholic because we want to be and not because it’s the ONLY thing to be?


#12

[quote=Sherlock]Angainor,

The “authoritarian structure” that you dislike so much is simply the New Testament fulfillment of that other “authoritarian structure”, the Old Testament Levitical priesthood and the Davidic kingship. Why do you think that God imposes such hierarchies?
[/quote]

I do not know enough about Levitical priesthood to answer your question. (I don’t know enough about it to confirm that it even was authoritarian). As to Davidic kingship, the bible tells us exactly why God established that hierarchy:So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."
1 Samuel 8:4-9

God did not want the people of Israel to have a king. The people insisted on it. If God himself was authoritarian, he would not let the Israelites have a king. Instead, God let the people express their own will. God then (as always) finds a way to use man’s bad decisions for good.

[quote=Sherlock]How come God doesn’t speak of the “democracy of heaven”, but speaks instead of a Kingdom?
[/quote]

Heaven is an altogether different place. God’s kingdom has not yet come. That is why Jesus taught us to pray “Thy kingdom come…” That is also why Jesus told Pilate:“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

John 18:36

.

[quote=Sherlock]I take it you are not a theist, but a relativist?
[/quote]

Certianly not. I know truth exists, and that truth exists independantly of what I think, what you think, and what the human being known as “Pope” thinks. It is not OK for people to follow their own “truth”. People should voluntarily come together in unity to follow real the truth as revealed in God’s word. Artificial unity imposed by authoritarian institutions only give an appearance of true unity.


#13

Angainor,

With all due respect—nonsense. The quote you give does not “prove” that “God did not want the people of Israel to have a king.” He’s God, you know—if He didn’t want them to have kings, He wouldn’t have chosen them. "And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to annoint you king over His people Israel; now hearken to the words of the Lord” (1 Sam 15: 1).

You wrote: “Heaven is an altogether different place.” Yup, no argument there. But there is a hierarchy in heaven. There is no indication from either the Old or New Testaments that hierarchy is in and of itself unecessary. Again, why does Jesus give the keys of the kingdom to Peter? (Look up Isaiah 22:22) How about the power to bind and to loose on earth? Sounds like authority to me.

You wrote: “People should voluntarily come together in unity to follow real the truth as revealed in God’s word.”

What if the people voluntarily vote that abortion is OK? What if they volunarily unite and declare that Truth can be decided by voting? How come Paul sends Timothy, with authority, to correct those who are spreading a false Gospel? Seems awfully authoritarian…he didn’t advise Timothy to go and poll the people to decide what areas they could compromise Truth in. The Truth seems to be something that Paul knows, and he’s willing to send Timothy out to correct the errors. I guess the people he sends Timothy to had come together and decided for themselves what Truth was, and Paul wasn’t going to let that slide.

You wrote: “Artificial unity imposed by authoritarian institutions only give an appearance of true unity.”

Then you disagree with Jesus, who gave the power of the keys to Peter. I think I’ll stick with Jesus. It’s ironic that you quote Scripture, which the authoritarian institution you have problems with compiled and declared (authoritatively) to be inspired. If you don’t think that a God-instituted Church has authority ("He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16), then you logically reject that Truth is knowable whether you think you are a relativist or not.


#14

[quote=Sherlock]Angainor,

With all due respect—nonsense. The quote you give does not “prove” that “God did not want the people of Israel to have a king.”
[/quote]

What???

This is scripture here, from the prophet Samuel, and it is quite clear. God’s prophet Samuel tried to talk the people out of a king, but they insisted. God does what he always does, he shows us the right path, but grants us the freedom to travel the wrong road. Do you also deny God was sorry He made Saul king?Then the word of the Lord dame to Samuel. “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me…”

1 Samuel 15:10-11a

He’s God, you know—if He didn’t want them to have kings, He wouldn’t have chosen them.God didn’t want Adam and Eve to sin, but he didn’t stop them. God isn’t authoritarian. He has given us the free will to disobey him.

"And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to annoint you king over His people Israel; now hearken to the words of the Lord” (1 Sam 15: 1).At the people’s request. He tried to talk them out of it through Samuel.

Maybe “authoritarian” is the wrong word. God is truth. He wants us to follow the truth with no compromises. However, we are given the freewill to follow the wrong path. God allows his people to make mistakes. We should learn from them. God gave us the freedom to turn our backs to him. Only then can we then choose to turn to him in a meaningful way. Churches need the freedom to be separate before those Churches can choose to unite in a meaningful way.

Catholicism’s authoritative insistance of “we hold the keys” does not allow for a true uniting. At best, other Churches will become convinced of Catholicism’s claim and submit to Catholicism. Submitting is not uniting. Uniting is a chosen action of freewill. Submitting is the act of supressing your own will and obeying another’s.

God wants us to come to him of our own freewill.


#15

Angainor,

As Jesus said, all authority is given by God. Saul’s kingship was not what displeased God, it was Saul’s turning away from Him that displeased him. It’s not “kingship” or “authority” that is displeasing to God, it is people’s actions, whether king or citizen.

You wrote: “However, we are given the freewill to follow the wrong path. God allows his people to make mistakes. We should learn from them. God gave us the freedom to turn our backs to him. Only then can we then choose to turn to him in a meaningful way. Churches need the freedom to be separate before those Churches can choose to unite in a meaningful way.”

Well, I’m glad to see you admit that turning away from God’s Church is to take the wrong path. But if turning away from God is a necessary prerequisite to turning to God in a meaningful way, then why does Paul, in a very authoratative way, send Timothy to correct those who are spreading a false Gospel? Shouldn’t Paul have let them go down the wrong pat, if it was necessary and good for them? Why does he send Timothy to correct them, instead of having them take a vote?

You wrote: “Catholicism’s authoritative insistance of “we hold the keys” does not allow for a true uniting.”

Tell that to Jesus, who gave Peter the authority. It’s true, though, that Truth can be a hard stumbling block, and therefore makes unity difficult. We all want our own way, not God’s.

You wrote: “God wants us to come to him of our own freewill.”

Sure, and we should then submit our will to Him. That includes “submitting” to His Church. Gosh, you make it sound so awful…the Church is our Mother, and as the Bride of Christ she is there for our guidance. "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)


#16

[quote=Sherlock]Well, I’m glad to see you admit that turning away from God’s Church is to take the wrong path. But if turning away from God is a necessary prerequisite to turning to God in a meaningful way,
[/quote]

You misquote me. I trust it is not intentional. The act of turning away from God is not necessary for anything except admission to Hell. However it is necessary that we posess the freedom to turn away.

[quote=Sherlock] then why does Paul, in a very authoratative way, send Timothy to correct those who are spreading a false Gospel? Shouldn’t Paul have let them go down the wrong pat, if it was necessary and good for them? Why does he send Timothy to correct them, instead of having them take a vote?
[/quote]

Timothy was armed with the truth of the Gospel. That was his authority. Timothy wasn’t there to tell them they couldn’t receive sacraments except through those “authorized” by Rome to deliver them. The power to decide who has authorization to deliver sacraments is a different authority.


#17

[quote=Sherlock]It’s true, though, that Truth can be a hard stumbling block
[/quote]

False prophet are you.

Truth is never, ever a stumbling block.
"…Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Jesus from John 8:32


#18

Angainor,

You wrote: “However it is necessary that we posess the freedom to turn away.”

Of course. Catholic doctrine maintains that we have free will. That is very different from maintaining that turning away is necessary, as you do when you say, “Only then can we then choose to turn to him in a meaningful way”. It is not necessary that we turn away, though since we have free will we can.

You wrote: “Timothy was armed with the truth of the Gospel. That was his authority.”

Where did he get that authority? Hmmm…Paul says that it came through the “laying on of my hands” (2 Tim 1:6). Just as it has been done for 2000 years since.

You wrote: “Timothy wasn’t there to tell them they couldn’t receive sacraments except through those “authorized” by Rome to deliver them.”

And how do you know that? What is your proof?

You wrote: “The power to decide who has authorization to deliver sacraments is a different authority.”

The authority to loose and bind was given to Peter and the Apostles, and to their successors, by Jesus Himself. That is the authority I follow, not some man-made doctrine that pleases my desires for autonomy.

You wrote: “Truth is never, ever a stumbling block.”

No? “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles…” (1 Cor 1:23). I can’t believe that you think that truth is never a stumbling block. I have read numerous conversion stories wherein the person was told the truth, but was at first reluctant to follow it because it would mean giving up their lives to Christ (or giving up their own particular flavor of self-determination in faith matters), and it’s not always easy to do. Your stumbling block appears to be "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16) When you reject the authority given by Jesus to His Church, you reject Him.

You wrote: “False prophet are you.”

Yoda, you seek Yoda…sorry, the speech pattern brought that to mind. But anyway, since I never said I was a prophet (where did THAT come from?!!), it stands to reason that I can’t be a false one.


#19

[quote=me]“Truth is never, ever a stumbling block.”
[/quote]

[quote=Sherlock]No? “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles…” (1 Cor 1:23).
[/quote]

Alright, I see what you mean. You mean that some people have stumbling blocks in pursuit of the truth. I meant that once someone sees the truth it never acts as a stumbling block.

Anyway, I’ll just leave it at that. I think Catholicism’s claim that “only we hold the keys” is a barrier to unity.


#20

I am very much an Orthodox Catholic,but i find whether i am dealing with atheists,agnostics,various christians and non-christians,even those who are supposed to be of similar thinking as myself,they will try to force their views on me.Sometimes they use the bad-tempered approach,sometimes they give me the freeze.In fact,that has the effect of making me dig my heels in.
I used to read a certain newspaper from the Rupert Murdoch stable,till i realised the political slant changed according to whether the paper was being sold in the North or South of Britain.
The English version of the Sun tended to be Conservative in England and,in an attempt to break into the Scottish newspaper market,they flew the Scottish Nationalist Flag.Then people try to tell you they think for themselves,not just"obeying" the Magisterium,unthinkingly, like me??I’m retired now,but i can remember how “obedient” these people could be in the workplace.I could be very obliging with bosses,even when they were holding me past my finishing time.However,i didn’t take cheek off anybody.Just listening to some people speak,
you can tell which newspaper they are quoting.
Someone i know had a different approach from those mentioned at the beginning of my post.In order to win people over to his Liberal Catholic views he used the overly nice treatment.However,if you challenged him a few times,you weren’t his pal any more.I can disagree with someone and still get along
with them,but the huffy types can “sod off”.


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