Understanding Religion | some questions

So as you may note I have no religion, but this should not be taken to mean that i’m an atheist or a non religious spiritualist.
This being said I know for a fact that there is a God ( I need no faith or belief or religion to tell me of this fact).

I must also inform that I have read the old and new testament (my favorite book being Job).
[LIST]
*]1 - (sexuality)So my first question is this. I understand that in the bible it states that no man shall lay with another man, and that (without any care to whether someone is or isn’t gay) why this is such an important passage.
*]2 - (Continuing from question 1) Its pretty much written in many books of the old & new testaments that only god has the right to condemn or judge any sinners. So the question i have is why do Religions condemn and judge when its is very plain that god only has this right.
*]3 - (Idols and saints)Its is my understanding, and well the very first commandment that you should have no graven image (crucifix) or worship god through false idols (saints and relics) Worshiping God directly means you have no chance of accidentally worshiping some evil. If im wrong i would love an explanation
*]4 - Finally and this one may be hard - why do so many religions (“Hate”) each other.
[/LIST]

an extra one which is more personal than the others. Why do you need Faith and or Belief (an not matter of fact certainty) of God.

It is my hope to get grounded well formed answers. If your not sure please skip it.
Thank you for taking the time to answers and read.

  1. Not sure of the question, but as the passage you point out is a good one against homosexuality.
  2. No one has the right to judge anyone. However, many expand this reasoning to include judging actions. We are commanded by Christ to judge actions…but not the person. Charity demands we correct each other’s wrong doing.
  3. The first comandment does not prohibit images. The first comandment prohibit worshiping false gods. Honoring the saints is not worship. Praying in front of a crucifix is not idol worshiping. Ask anyone who prays in front of a statue or crucifix if they are praying to the image and you will get a “No” 100% of the time.
  4. I am not sure about hate…spirited debates maybe. Rarely have I seen hate. Maybe it is just the crowds I hang out with.

God Bless,

Welcome to CAF, I hope you find your experience here enlightening.

Culturally, accepting homosexuality prevalence in society is hard on Christians. Why it’s any harder than sex before marriage or petty theft? Because homosexuality is new and strange to them. No doubt the New Testament is clear that homosexual acts (also adultery, sex before marriage, lying, stealing, etc) are sinful but Christians focus way more on homosexuals.

It’s not any more sinful than any other sin against the flesh, but it’s sinful and homosexuals need to be shown that we love them and they need to know there is a savior.

If people are judging others then they are going against what God says about judging others. That is to say; I cannot tell you that you’re destined for any eternal dwelling, only God can. I can condemn your actions if I know that they are wrong based on what God has taught us through the words of the Bible. For example, I know that stealing is wrong, therefore if you steal I can tell you you’ve done a wrong thing. I’m just passing on the message from God in this case and not making up my own judgement.

Catholics can explain this one better than I can.

The best explanation I’ve heard is that the Saints and statues, beautiful Churches, etc can help direct attention on God the same way a beautiful sunset can. Sometimes the sunset can inspire me to pray, just like a beautiful creation by the hands of a human being. We do not worship the sun, nor do we worship or pray to the statue, rather they inspire us to pray to God.

We don’t hate anyone as Christians. If anyone does hate another person for being of a different Religion then we are acting out of line with Christ’s teachings. This is further proof that everyone (even Christians) are in need of a savior. None of us are perfect and we all do hateful things and make poor choices.

No one expects you to one day wake up and believe in God because someone told you He exists. Rather, Jesus paid the penalty for the sin of mankind, and one can accept the gift Jesus has offered. It is possible to believe that Jesus died and rose again, but we must accept what He is offering us to attain Salvation.

If one does not accept the forgiveness of sins that God offers, then on judgement day your sin will still be with you and no sin will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

@concretecamper
my intent from the first question is to understand why out of 200+ rules / commandments this one is so important to people.

Thank you both for your great answers.

The bible reveals (4) sins that cry out for Vengeance:

  1. Homocide (Gn 4:10)
  2. Sodomy (Gn 18:20-21)
  3. Oppression of Widows and Orphans (Ex 21-23
  4. Cheating laborers of their due (Dt 24:14-15)

I guess it is “modern” to say homosexuality is just another sin. This has lessened the evil nature of the sin which is just what the Evil One desires. It is not equal to other sins of the flesh. This is not my opinion, but God’s!

:thumbsup: Agree with you there. Job’s one of my three favorite parts of the Bible. Also, if you haven’t read deuterocanon yet, I highly recommend Tobit.

1 - (sexuality)So my first question is this. I understand that in the bible it states that no man shall lay with another man, and that (without any care to whether someone is or isn’t gay) why this is such an important passage.

That passage isn’t particularly more important than other parts of the Bible. It just seems that way because homosexuality is such a hotly debated topic that it comes up a lot. It’s really just more support for Church teaching about sex in general. Sex in marriage? Good. Sex outside of marriage (which includes any and all homosexual acts)? Bad.

2 - (Continuing from question 1) Its pretty much written in many books of the old & new testaments that only god has the right to condemn or judge any sinners. So the question i have is why do Religions condemn and judge when its is very plain that god only has this right.

As others have pointed out, only God can judge and actually decide where someone winds up. That said, we can still point out mistakes people are making.

3 - (Idols and saints)Its is my understanding, and well the very first commandment that you should have no graven image (crucifix) or worship god through false idols (saints and relics) Worshiping God directly means you have no chance of accidentally worshiping some evil. If im wrong i would love an explanation

Try to think with the mindset of the Ancient Israelites. To them, idolatry and false gods were inseparable. The commandment is NOT against any and all images. It’s against making a statue, picture, etc. and worshiping it as if it were God. Remember, God commanded the creation of the bronze serpent in Numbers, as well as the statues of cherubim for the Ark of the Covenant and the temple in Jerusalem. Religious artwork and statues are fine, especially if they turn out minds to God. We just aren’t supposed to worship them.

And now for saints. God is a God of the living, not of the dead. In a way, the souls in Heaven are more alive than we are here. The souls in Heaven (and Purgatory) are as much a living part of the universal Church as we are. So it’s little different asking a saint in Heaven to pray for us than asking your neighbor to pray for you.

Again thanks for your candor and honest replies. reading the bible does not always equal understanding so i really do appreciate your answers.
@Razanir thanks for the suggestion to read (deuterocanon).

All of the commandments are important because they all come from God. It is mainly only being extremely focused on in today’s world when people are saying that it is right and exceptable to do these things. If they would be saying that stealing is exceptable, then we would be focused on how stealing is wrong. Man did not make the rules, but we try to encourage others and especially the governments not to accept acts which are opposed to God’s laws by making their own laws that contradict God.

2 - (Continuing from question 1) Its pretty much written in many books of the old & new testaments that only god has the right to condemn or judge any sinners. So the question i have is why do Religions condemn and judge when its is very plain that god only has this right.

God does indeed have the right to codemn and judge the person. We do not judge the person, only the act. We can not know what is in a persons heart and mind, but we can know that what they have done or are going to do is wrong according to God’s law. Example- if someone tells me they are thinking of robbing a bank, I would have to tell them that this is wrong. I am not judging the person, only the action. In fact it should be out of love for that person that I don’t want them to commit an act which would be offensive to God or may have long term repercusssions on themselves or their families, or other people that may be involved.

3 - (Idols and saints)Its is my understanding, and well the very first commandment that you should have no graven image (crucifix) or worship god through false idols (saints and relics) Worshiping God directly means you have no chance of accidentally worshiping some evil. If im wrong i would love an explanation.

First clarification: Saints and relics are not false idols. No Catholic would ever worship a saint or relic. They are merely representations or personal belongings of those people. I have many pictures of family members. Sometimes I fondly look at them, other people may kiss them. That does not mean we worship our family members. Rather we respect the image because of who it represents. In the same manner the crucifix is not a graven image. It is a depiction of a real event and a real person who was both God and man. The crucifix itself has no saving effect. Afterall, it is made by man out of plaster, wood, bronze, steel, etc. It is merely a manmade image that represents a real event and person. We do not worship this image itself, rather every time we see it, it reminds us of how much God loves us, and how important we are to him that he was willing to suffer and die specifically for our own benefit. That’s a pretty important thing to always be reminded of.

4 - Finally and this one may be hard - why do so many religions (“Hate”) each other.

Most people do not hate anyone in other religions, if they do, then they are not following the teachings of Jesus.

an extra one which is more personal than the others. Why do you need Faith and or Belief (an not matter of fact certainty) of God.

As you have rightly pointed out, you can know that there is a God on your own. But what you can’t now on your own is the nature of God. Is God loving? Does God purposefully do evil to us? Are there three persons in one God (The Trinity). These questions and many others can not be answered by our own reason and logic. It also takes faith to believe in the Bible.

You have asked good questions and all of them could be really increased into much more deeper discussions. If you choose to do so, I would recommend starting individual threads for each.

Although I would say that homosexual acts are worse in comparison to some other sins, I must disagree with what you have posted here. You’ve listed “sodomy” which you believe means “homosexual acts.” Sodomy can refer to many different sins against the flesh and the Genesis 18:20-21 says nothing of homosexuality.

Thus my statement stands, we often focus on homosexuality because of the culture we live in but other sins against the flesh can be equally detestable. Regardless, we must show love and compassion to these people and help them away from any type of sin.

Being a Catholic, I am compelled to stand by scripture…so we will have to just disagree.

I don’t think dronald was making light of sodomy and other sins. What I read is that is that we sometimes gloss over our own sins because we often are not personally afflicted by that particular one.

I agree that he was not making light of sodomy. You are also correct that we have the tendency to neglect the plank in our own eye.

Welcome to CAF!

When I saw this it reminded me of a Bishop who would teach about ‘understanding’ - it grows over time and is helped with Grace.

God Bless on your journey.

Take care,

I would like to answer only your first question:

**So my first question is this. I understand that in the bible it states that
no man shall lay with another man, and that
(without any care to whether someone is or isn’t gay)
why this is such an important passage. **

What you are quoting is incomplete, here goes in full:

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22)

Do not forget that God is speaking and Moses is only telling the people what He says.

A man who lies with another man is the problem, you do not have to give them names (gay or homosexuals, or what so ever). IT IS AN ABOMINATION altogether and for the sake that you understand exactly what is ment by lie it adds as with a woman, because you do not lie with a woman except for having sex.

Now God is telling you that men who lie in this way commit an abomination, and the practice of abominable things (there are many) bring judgement over the people. Have you read the Book of Revelation (or Apocalypse)? There tells us what is going to happen in the future (it is a book of prophesy) and which is the end of the people who hate God by practicing this abominations:

"And for the cowardly, the faithless, the abominable, murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)

Hope this helps.

You know, human beings judge all the time, not just religious people. We all judge people by how they dress, how the style their hair, if they drive a clunker, if they are covered in tatoos, if they have piercings, if they smoke, whatever it might be. If a non-religious person gets cut off in traffic, the word *sshole may come out of their mouth. I’ve heard people get angry and say Go to hell. These actions are not when we are at our shining best.

Now, when raising children, don’t we tell them not to lie? Don’t steal, don’t hit. Say you’re sorry. It doesn’t mean you hate the child, but no, you are forming them to be good and productive citizens. It is wrong to do drugs. To *say *it’s wrong can be seen as looking out for what is best for that person. There are a lot of things that will put you in prison. Is that judging a person to say it’s wrong? It may indeed be a kindness. Going to jail is an awful thing, going before the judgement of God is a more frightening event. Hell is worse than prison. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that, that hell is real, and people go there. We hope that everyone can turn away from their destructive path so they can be the loving, productive, shining person that God has always wanted them to be.

To highlight my point, do not equate judging an action as wrong the same as hating the person. When our family and friends are doing destructive behaviours, it causes great pain to those that love them. We can hate the sin and love the sinner.

Sin is a matter of righteousness, but not righteousness alone. The things that are prohibited are prohibited also for our own good. A man having sex with another man is not the best way for a human to engage in sex, nor the best type of romantic relationship. Is it sin? Yes. It is also a damaging lifestyle.

*]2 - (Continuing from question 1) Its pretty much written in many books of the old & new testaments that only god has the right to condemn or judge any sinners. So the question i have is why do Religions condemn and judge when its is very plain that god only has this right.

From my protestant perspective I can only say that we cannot judge salvation, but we are to judge action and whether that action can harm another person in the congregation. Paul warns that we are to judge if someone’s action can cause another brother/sister to stumble. If the answer is yes, they are not allowed to fellowship in the congregation unless they change.

*]4 - Finally and this one may be hard - why do so many religions (“Hate”) each other.
[/LIST]

A religion isn’t a sentient thing. If you are pointing at the followers, there are usually 2 main possibilities (there can be more, but 2 main ones). 1)The follower is not properly following the tenants of their faith, or 2) They are following the tenants of their faith.

We are to share the gospel, with all, and Jesus instructs us to love our enemies and to pray for them.

an extra one which is more personal than the others. Why do you need Faith and or Belief (an not matter of fact certainty) of God.

I don’t believe in blind faith. Faith is trusting with great confidence. If we are logical, we don’t trust something with great confidence blindly; I believe the evidence fits my faith, and my faith fits the evidence. Now, why do I “need” faith? Two main reasons; 1) God likes to be trusted and trust connotes free will. 2) I’m human and it completes a part of who I am made to be to place my faith on it’s proper and right target.

Most of your questions you can answer yourself by asking yourself this one question.
You say that you know there is a God the question then to ask yourself is did God create man in his image?

I cannot answer for the Christians on the first three, but this one applies to anyone of any religious persuasion, even atheists. Hate is a common human emotion and a powerful one too. Even the nicest people in the world may experience it under certain circumstances. Sometimes the hate is directed against another person, and object, or an idea.

Religion is one of the integral parts of human society, and often people are identified by religious beliefs. Its much easier to hate an idea, or a huge, faceless group of people. Often this feeling is created or strengthened by governments and rulers looking to gain power. Hitler and Stalin’s persecution of Jews being a prime example.

But on top of that, the ultimate cause I feel, is the need for some people to feel vindicated, superior to their neighbors. To stand up and say “Im better than you”. And religion provides an opportunity for that. In all religions there are those who flaunt their own piety, an in those with strong missionary traditions or that are mutually exclusive, followers often hold themselves over people of other faiths as the true followers of the correct path.

In short, religion is sometimes a tool of hate because humans are imperfect beings.

In short,human beings have become IGNORANT of their individual place as part of the whole

Compassion is the most common attitude promoted in the world’s major religions. Adversely judging somebody and justifying punishment or vengeance is totally at odds with the most attractive aspects of religion.

In the West, the compassion of Jesus was the most powerful attitude that attracted people to Christianity. The minute one introduces concepts not supported by Jesus, one loses the mystique that attracts people to Christianity. If transcendence is the goal, then get rid of vengeance and punishment.

Fire and brimstone may have been popular during the days of Moses and are emphasized in the Book of Revelation, but they are not the core feeling of modern Christianity.

Punishment and vengeance are attitudes popular in the days of Yahweh. Perhaps they were desirable in the days of Abraham and Moses, but I don’t see them as being valuable in a compassionate society.

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