What bothers me about Christianity


#1

First of all, i’d like to start off with the fact that I was raised Catholic and still consider myself Catholic except that i have developed some “unorthodox” thinking. Also, this is my first post and im new here so if this is the wrong section for me to post this then im sorry.

The thing that bothers me about christianity is the idea of the “one true church and the one true christ” as the only means of salvation.

In this world there are 6.5 Billion people. Roughly 33% of This number are Christians and 50% of that 33% are Catholics. Now, if its believed that only catholics or christians get to go to heaven then that means only 1-2 Billion people are granted “salvation.” I think this is extremely unfair and un-loving.

The vast majority of us here would probably be practicing a different religion if we had been born in a different location on Earth. If i was born in India, I’d probably be raised Hindu. If i was born in China, I’d probably be raised Buddhist. If i was born in Israel, I’d probably be raised Jewish, and if middle east, then Islamic…

where ever we would have been born we would probably be practicing that regional religion with the same adamant faith that we are practicing with Christianity now.

Therefore, I believe all people are judged in terms of salvation in a much more dynamic way then just whether or not we were lucky enough to be born into a christian setting.

It just seems un-godly and unrealistic that people born in Christian dominated portions of world should get such an advantage over others. Does anybody ever think that perhaps God presented himself in many different faces to people all around the world?

As far as it seems to me, God presented himself as a faceless being. However, over time we have made a face for God. For instance, many times God is portrayed as the Bright glowing light, or perhaps a somewhat aged man with a robust white beard that somewhat resembles the already familiar image of Zues. (No, i am not saying Zues is God. Im saying the western world placed a familiar image in appliance to the image of God)

If God were to have presented himself in a similar faceless fashion to the people of Asia, Africa, and early America in some distant distant past, then they too would have gradually placed their own familiar face over God.

I believe the same concept goes for Religional instituitions. As far as i know from reading and from what i was taught, when God first presented himself to mankind, he merely asked them to believe in him and have faith in him. He did not pronounce mankind to go out and create any named religional instituition.

Which leads to my next point…

I also believe that Churches, Religions and Instituitions, better represents man than it represents God. I don’t think of God as having any official Church or even Religion for that matter. Rather, i see churches and religions as just instituitions established by Man to better organize themselves to worship God; thus, i also believe that many church doctrines passed on have no Godly mandate to them because they are largely man motive.

Another thing that bothers me is how so many people think they can judge others in terms of salvation. I see so many topics asking questions such as: “Will ‘Such-and-such’ type of people be able to go to heaven?” And i see so many people sit on their throne saying “No, those people are damned.”

Shouldn’t it be God alone that can judge in that fashion? There are just so many infinite variables in life that could mold a person into who he is whether good or bad. For instance, raise a child in a century-civil-war-torned country and he might grow up to become a killing fighter. However, raise that same child in a peaceful proactive setting and he might grow up to become that philantrophic business owner.

I don’t think any human can judge another. I think only God with his infinite understanding should be able to judge.

Also, i’d like to say that all this is just MY view on things. I am not trying to impose my view on anyone else. Just i needed to let loose some ideas from my head. Everyone has their own convictions and everyone has their own solutions. However, i would like to see some reactions from christians/nonchristians to my ideas and to have discussional responses. (i also don’t think being machine gunned by a bunch of bible verses as discussional)


#2

Hello lsatwd and welcome to the forums :slight_smile:

It is great that you have chosen to come here and share your thoughts and faith.

There are many good members who can help answer the questions. I am not one of them but I can start asking you a few questions. With your questions, I believe it will further help other members understand you more and explain to you.

May I ask you if you have a Bible in handy? If you don’t have one, I advise that you could go buy a Catholic Bible. There will be many references to your posts. yes, we need the Bible and Sacred Traditions to learn about our faith and to learn what Jesus wants us to follow.

Ok, I let others explain as I will have to go soon :slight_smile:


#3

#4

God did give everyone an equal chance to be saved and the catechism says this. But he didn’t establish one churych, the Catholic Church for the heck of it. It is different, since it is THE true church. The reason God established one church is because he wanted us to have everything we should have in order to form a good/strong relationship with him, and eventually get to Heaven. It is, unfortunately, not easy to get into Heaven (Matthew… etc.). It is easy to have a conversion experience (?), a one-time “feeling” of love for God & a sense of repentence, but its not so easy doing the really hard things Jesus asks of us (forgiving others from the heart, etc.). I know someone who lives what i consider an exemplary Christian life, yet she refuses to forgive a family member… (@ least she did the last time i knew). Yet Jesus clearly says that if you don’t forgive others, you will not be forgiven…(Matthew 18:23…). I have never heard anyone on the forum imply that non=Catholics cannot be saved… Anyway, God bless…


#5

Well, it’s a good thing then that Catholics don’t believe this, and many Protestants don’t either. I certainly don’t. You are attacking a straw man here.

Edwin


#6

The thing that bothers me about christianity is the idea of the “one true church and the one true christ” as the only means of salvation.

In this world there are 6.5 Billion people. Roughly 33% of This number are Christians and 50% of that 33% are Catholics. Now, if its believed that only catholics or christians get to go to heaven then that means only 1-2 Billion people are granted “salvation.” I think this is extremely unfair and un-loving.

The vast majority of us here would probably be practicing a different religion if we had been born in a different location on Earth. If i was born in India, I’d probably be raised Hindu. If i was born in China, I’d probably be raised Buddhist. If i was born in Israel, I’d probably be raised Jewish, and if middle east, then Islamic…

where ever we would have been born we would probably be practicing that regional religion with the same adamant faith that we are practicing with Christianity now.

Therefore, I believe all people are judged in terms of salvation in a much more dynamic way then just whether or not we were lucky enough to be born into a christian setting.

It just seems un-godly and unrealistic that people born in Christian dominated portions of world should get such an advantage over others. Does anybody ever think that perhaps God presented himself in many different faces to people all around the world?

I can understand why this might trouble you, but this is not a new concern. It’s been a theological point of discussion for ages within the Catholic Church. Most famously, it became a major debate after the discovery of the New World. After all, why would create two whole continents of people just to be doomed to hell? Here is what the Catholic Church teaches on the subject, straight from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:


#7

Continued from above:

Who belongs to the Catholic Church?

836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God’s grace to salvation."320

837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but ‘in body’ not ‘in heart.’"321

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 **With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”**324

The Church and non-Christians

839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."325

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 "the first to hear the Word of God."327 The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”,328 "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."329

840 And when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day."330

842 The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334


#8

Continued from above:

“Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338


#9

Welcome to the forums Isatwd!

From the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

  1. What is the meaning of the affirmation “Outside the Church there is no salvation”?

846-848

This means that all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her. At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his Church, those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church but sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, try to do his will as it is known through the dictates of conscience can attain eternal salvation.


#10

So, what is this all saying? The Catholic Church is the one path that teaches everything that you need to do, follow, and believe to guarantee entry into heaven. It doesn’t guarantee that ALL Catholics will get to heaven, but it provides the instruction manual, so to speak. Non-Catholics can get to heaven too, but it becomes increasingly difficult depending on how far away they are from Catholic teaching. For example, if a person of another religion commits a mortal sin (save for the Orthodox), they have no way to remove the stain of that sin since they don’t believe in Confession. They could, of course, give an act of perfect contrition, which God acknowledges, but that is extremely hard to do. It could happen, however. It’s also possible that they could live their lives without any mortal sins, and still get to heaven.

The point is, that “No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church” means that you might just get to heaven if you’re not Catholic, but if you did, it would be because you followed everything the Church taught, even without knowing it, out of a desire to do the right thing. Non-Catholics suffer from a lack of knowing the rules. Their salvation still comes from the teachings and beliefs inspired by the Holy Spirit and passed down through the Catholic Church.

Also important is whether you were born Catholic. Non-Catholics who don’t know the truth of the teachings of the Catholic Church out of ignorance have a chance at heaven. But, those Catholics who fully know the teachings of the Church, and then leave it for another religion reject the true path and greatly endanger their soul. (Those who leave the Church due to a poor or mistaken understanding of the faith are not as culpable.)


#11

Hi Isatwd, Welcome to the forums, I hope your time here is well spent and eye opening… it was for me!

The Catholic church in no way teaches that the only people who go to heaven are Catholic or even christian. Therir is a good post above that explains what the church does teach.

I hope this helps… God Bless!


#12

Hi. Welcome to the forums. Here’s a link to an article that may be helpful to you. catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0512fea3.asp


#13

Hello lsatwd and welcome to our family.

l

i have developed some “unorthodox” thinking.

The thing that bothers me about christianity is the idea of the “one true church and the one true christ” as the only means of salvation.

only catholics or christians get to go to heaven…I think this is extremely unfair and un-loving.

The vast majority of us here would probably be practicing a different religion if we had been born in a different location on Earth. If i was born in India, I’d probably be raised Hindu. If i was born in China, I’d probably be raised Buddhist. If i was born in Israel, I’d probably be raised Jewish, and if middle east, then Islamic…

Therefore, I believe all people are judged in terms of salvation in a much more dynamic way then just whether or not we were lucky enough to be born into a christian setting.

It just seems un-godly and unrealistic that people born in Christian dominated portions of world should get such an advantage over others.

As far as it seems to me, God presented himself as a faceless being. However, over time we have made a face for God.

when God first presented himself to mankind, he merely asked them to believe in him and have faith in him. He did not pronounce mankind to go out and create any named religional instituition.

I also believe that Churches, Religions and Instituitions, better represents man than it represents God. I don’t think of God as having any official Church or even Religion for that matter. Rather, i see churches and religions as just instituitions established by Man to better organize themselves to worship God; thus, i also believe that many church doctrines passed on have no Godly mandate to them because they are largely man motive.

Another thing that bothers me is how so many people think they can judge others in terms of salvation- asking questions such as: “Will ‘Such-and-such’ type of people go to heaven?” And i see people sit on their throne saying “No, those people are damned.”

Shouldn’t it be God alone that can judge in that fashion? There are just so many infinite variables in life that could mold a person into who he is whether good or bad. For instance, raise a child in a century-civil-war-torned country and he might grow up to become a killing fighter. However, raise that same child in a peaceful proactive setting and he might grow up to become that philantrophic business owner.

I don’t think any human can judge another. I think only God with his infinite understanding should be able to judge.

Everyone has their own convictions and everyone has their own solutions. (i also don’t think being machine gunned by a bunch of bible verses as discussional)

Jesus has told us He is ‘The Way the Truth and the Life’, He does not merely suggest but state as a matter of fact, that He is the only way one can get to Heaven.

But that does not mean that anyone deprived of oEquality of Opportunity is discriminated by God. We simply do not know what contingency plan He has, but we may be assured that so loving a God who is the very personification of love, has one.

You are right about other religions. God is not the property of Christians, He reveals Himself to whoever He pleases whenever He pleases. Within ALL religions, there is to be foun. Wisdom is at the heart of all religions as the common ground we all share. But’ we need silence, stillness and simplicity to know it’ says the Redemptorists.

You are right again. No one but God knows who will go to Heaven and who will not. That is not for us to judge.

Now I take your point about not having biblical texts machine gunned at you but I think you will take consolation in the Lords words ‘Judge not and you yourselves will not be judged, for the measure you deal out to others is the measure you yourselves shall receive’. Mt 7:1-2.

In fact you are absolutely right. ‘There is but one judge’!

But in fact humanity has already been judged. The jury were unanimous in their verdict, it was found guilty and the sentence ordained in law carried the maximum penalty: DEATH!

Fortunately for us, the principle victim of the crimes turned down the compensation that was due and instead, went willingly to the scaffold to die in the place of the guilty!

Not content that He should merely die, He suffered the most horrendous torture, ignomy and death possible. He then suffered, even in death the ignomy of laying ‘cold’ in a tomb.

The Orthodox Church celebrates ‘the empty tomb’! :thumbsup:

We cannot know God, but what we can know is what I have learnt from Catholicism: the nature of God which we cannot comprehend, never-the-less is the Personification of 'LOVE HUMILITY JUSTICE MERCY CREATIVITY DIVERSITY JOY PEACE OMINPRESENCE


#14

I am a protestant:

It has always been my understanding that God reveals himself to everybody – in one way or another. Who is to know the ways of the Lord?

While the Catholic church may be the true Church that Christ established, it is also true that often one’s circumstances, such as where they are born and raised, who their family is, etc. would prevent them from being or becoming Catholic – but this isn’t to say that God still won’t reveal himself to them somehow.

Has anyone seen the movie “Amistad”? It was made about 10 years ago and has, I think, one of the best gospel presentations in all of mainstream Hollywood movies. The slaves on trial happen to come across a Bible that has illustrations of the Last Supper, the crucifxion, and resurrection. They don’t understand the words, they don’t speak the language, but somehow God reveals himself to them through these illustrations.

Now, let’s say for the sake of arguement this actually happened. They have no exposure to the Catholic church, they’re going back to Africa, but they can still become Christian and still can have salvation and go to heaven because they found The Way (Jesus) through the only means they would have been able to. They didn’t need a specific missionary or person to evangelize them and bring them into the “Church,” because God chose to make himself known to them in another way.

I think this kind of situation is certainly possible in any of the other major “world” religions and in remote corners of the globe where missionaries and churches don’t venture. Jesus said that his gospel would be known to the ends of the earth and the four corners of the world – I believe that this means everywhere. And God can choose the way he reveals The Way, the Truth, and the Life to those remote corners. Somehow he will, and who are we to say that it must be through the Catholic church?


#15

Have you been reading my mind? :wink: I sometimes wonder the same things when I’m in one of my more reflective moods.


#16

#17

I already responded 2 this, but then i re-read parts of your comments & noticed something.
I feel that it is Protestants, generally speaking, who are more “judgmental” of where a person is “going” upon death than Catholics in this forum are. In fact, I can’t even remember (in my somewhat long life) when i ever heard a Catholic say anything to the effect that some person or other was not going to “make it” or anything along those lines. I have, however, heard, numerous times, Protestants say something to the effect that Catholics are “not saved”.
For one thing, salvation is an on-going process. You can say Yes to Jesus one day and NO to him the next and if you die on a day when you’ve said a resounding NO, well, your salvation is in jeopardy… (Notice i didn’t say you are going straight to Hell… Only God knows that… Which is what the Catholic Church teaches).
Anyway, i am wondering if you have given Protestants in your life as much flack as you have Catholics?


#18

Hi lsatwd,
This was a very interesting message. I often wonder things like that myself.

The only thing that I can console myself with is, when we come to stand before God and find out our fate for all eternity, no one will be able to say “that’s not fair”. God will be just to us. If we didn’t do the right thing because we couldn’t, or didn’t know how, or were genuinely mistaken through no fault of our own, then God wont be “blame” us.

I hope that this makes sense.


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