Is Christianity a Negative Religion?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by lunamoth, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Your child is exempt from the consequences of original sin. Even the Pope (this one), has declared that as truth. Grace of God covers all, especially babies.

    I'm sorry for your loss. But I suspect your "wish" will come true. In the mean time, you got alot of living to do...:D
     
  2. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Dear Selbora,

    I hope you will accept a virtual hug from me, and know that your precious child is not lost. I do believe that with all my heart. And no matter where your spiritual search takes you, I believe you will find that Love is at the Source of Life, and that death has no power to defeat that. Speaking as a Christian, I hope you come to understand that most Christians do not believe that young children are ever spiritually condemned, and that many of us would say that ultimately, no one is. Of course, I don't speak for all avenues of Christian belief, but I think that this particular issue is frequently misunderstood. There will be a "Mother and Child Reunion". I don't doubt it for one minute, and I have been a Christian all my life. :)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  3. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Nice. Wish I wasn't always so logical, maybe I'd sound better, like you. :eek:
     
  4. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    You sound just fine, Q. Very often you inspire me. And you can read charts and graphs and stuff, too. I am terrible at that sort of thing. :)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  5. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Selbora,

    My condolences to you and your family.

    You said,

    "I can never be a part of any religion that teaches original sin."

    --> You and I have something in common. I hope we have a chance to explore what else we have in common.

    "...never received a formal Baptism."

    --> Fortunately, my belief system teaches that it does not matter whether he received one or not.

    "I ask God daily that my son be the first of my family to great me in Heaven...."

    --> My belief system teaches that such a thing is possible.

    "As far as Christianity as a whole is concerned, I have many other troubles."

    --> (So do I.) Please feel free to explore your feelings here. The more, the better. I am sure you will find people who feel the same as you.
     
  6. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    "...according to thy loving kindness..."

    Great example of humility and gratefulness...
     
  7. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    lol, in my line of work you either can read charts...or you're lost, and Davy Jones comes a knockin' :eek: :mad: :eek:
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello Selbora ... we lost our son in the sixth month of pregnancy, and he too never received a formal baptism, so I am aware of the issues and the emotive nature of the question. Two years later we had twins, and I remember containing my anger when people said our daughters were some kind of 'token' or 'reward' or 'compensation' for the loss of our son ... but only goes to show what sentimental nonsense people come out with when they don't think things through ...

    The 'problem' is when we lose objectivity, and we regard sin so sentimentally, so subjectively, that we miss the actuality of what is being said. (And, let's face it, some denominations seem to absolutey bask in an orgiastic delight at the idea of all those condemned souls.)

    Original Sin means that we are all born 'human', and that as human are subject to the conditions that limit all humanity, regardless of age, gender, or any other consideration ... babies are not born supernaturally, and then become human subsequently.

    So the tragedy is not that they are born sinful, but that they are born into a condition that is less than it rightly ought to be.

    This condition, Christianity teaches, was not our original state – we were created 'in the image and likeness', and God saw that what He had created was 'very good' ... but that somehow we lost that Primordial Innocence, we lost sight of ourselves, and that image, that likeness, has become blighted, obscured, wounded ...

    ... now we are at odds with everything ... even ourselves ...

    What Christianity will not accept is that God is the cause or source of the error – that sin originates in God – nor that God wills suffering on the world ... so if not God, we have to look closer to home ...

    Thomas
     
  9. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    :eek: ;)
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Lunamoth –

    Thanks for the support, and I agree with what you say, but don't close your heart to Augustine!

    He is the one who put 'love' into the soul (EO places love outside of it) ... The EO don't like Augustine because he puts our relationship with God on such a personal level – EO doctrine had moved along a certain track for a few hundred years before Augustine came East, and they judged him severely against their own criteria, that says we can never know God in Himself, only by his energies (effects); Augustine says we can, God knows Himself, and He can infuse the soul with that self-knowing.

    It is because Augustine pushed this idea of Trinitarian Love so profoundly, and said that we can be in God, that he was obliged to locate sin as a failure of the will, (we sin because we choose to) not the intellect (we sin because we don't understand).

    Augustine argues we do understand, even if we do not know – the voice of conscience says so, it is the voice of God in the soul – that God is in the soul prior to any sin, from the moment of its creation, and is never absent, but that it is we who absent ourselves from our own interiority, from the operation of Grace, and thus from the Beatific Vision, which is accorded the saints by the Grace of God.

    The Orthodox idea of the Beatific Vision can be seen in the hesychast, who experiences the contemplation of God as the Uncreated Light of the Christian Mystical Tradition (Dionysius), but neverthess, it is to some degree impersonal – light – albeit the light of the Holy Spirit.

    Sorry - you know me - ever the Catholic! But I do regard the Orthodox Patriarchates as 'sisters in faith', and our traditions as the 'two lungs' of the Apostolic Church.

    Thomas
     
  11. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Is this the official Catholic view? My understanding is that the Church taught that Original Sin was something that was intrinsically removed by infant baptism. But if Original Sin is basically defined as our fallen human nature, , then I don't understand what effect infant baptism would have since that human nature, that is the tendency to sin, remains even after baptism.

    BTW, your view, Thomas, closely resembles my own. Great explanation!
     
  12. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Hmmmm...Just when I thought I was drifting toward the EO view, you toss a cog in my works. I was once told that I have an EO perspective on salvation, but now I have to agree with you, Thomas, that knowing God is more than just knowing His energies, but that there is a more personal level to it, as Augustine teaches. Seems like the EO definition of love is too indirect, almost peripheral. But I believe there is a deep knowing of God in the heart. And scripture supports this.
     
  13. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Quick question--does anyone here think that a study thread on Augustine might be interesting? Would it work on the Christian board? Or where would we put it? He sure had his "ups and downs" from what I understand, but there is no denying the influence he has had on various schools of Christian thought. Just wondering....

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  14. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Sounds good to me, although admittedly, I'm not that well read up on Augustine, but I would love to hear from those who have. May even stimulate me to start on some of his works. Since it is a Christian topic, it might be better on the christian board, unless you know of his influence in other religions.
     
  15. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Oh I don't write Augustine off at all! But then, I don't write Luther off either. Just like the rest of us they are living in a fallen world, they have their demons and torments, their beauty and their brilliance. If they were not so dang long I've love to read City of God and Confessions.

    The post you just made above about original sin (not the one I quoted here but the one before)...that captures it very very well for me as well. The only thing I tend to like better about the EO position is that it does not get so easily twisted and misunderstood into the kind of take on it that Nick seems to hold. The Protestants ran with Augustine's idea and ended up with the idea of total depravity. Ugh.

    Because the topic of original sin is very much one of the doctrines that many many people view as a big negative of Christianity, I think it is still on-topic to discuss it here. If we want to talk more about Augustine I think a new thread would be better.

    :)

    luna
     
  16. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Hi All--

    I think I might give it some time, since I'd like to keep reading here for a while, and I have something I really need to concentrate on in another area right now, but maybe soon I will start a new thread on Augustine. Probably in Christianity, and then if that doesn't work out well, we could think about where else to finish the study. I just think it might help clarify where concentrations in various doctrines evolved. It might just lead to a better understanding between Christian viewpoints. I'll think about it. But if I am too slow about it, and someone wants to go with it, that's cool, too.

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK - a huge subject, but let me pull three things out from the following:

    CCC1257:
    "The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

    1 – Jesus stated that baptism is a necessity for salvation – so the Church cannot say it is not necessary.
    2 – Note it says the church 'does not know of any means other than baptism', because in Scripture none other is offered, but she is not denying there might well be other means.
    3 – Because the Church realises God is not bound by His sacraments, she cannot say whether or not God chooses to offer those sacramental graces outside the Church – it is not her place to do so. In fact, she cannot say a baptised soul is saved, for baptism is not a 'guarantee', it has to be lived up to, and lived in ... she lives in hope that all men might be saved, for did not Jesus ask His Father, 'forgive them, they know not what they do' and it would appear that the Father denies the Son nothing ...

    Baptism, as you point out, is not a 'get out of jail free' card ion your back pocket, it is an initiation that has to be actualised in the individual.

    But here's something else:
    CCC537:
    "Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection. The Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father's beloved son in the Son and "walk in newness of life":

    In my view, the Church is not simply a place that people find Salvation, the Church is the place where one can enter into the Mystery of God ... and where the Mystery of God can manifest Itself in the world ... this is what St Paul means by Mystical Body ...

    Thomas
     
  18. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Still doesn't answer my question about original sin. Does baptism remove original sin?
     
  19. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    It looks like Dondi, Thomas and myself all have a very similar view of original sin. Dondi, you've done a good job above asking the crux of the question.

    I don't know what Thomas will answer as I don't know the official Catholic doctrine on this. In the Episcopal Church also we say through our baptism we die and are reborn in Christ, and we 'acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins,' but to my knowledge there is no written-in-stone doctrine on how we are supposed to understand this (which is actually the way we approach quite a lot of doctrine).
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Short answer - it can't 'remove' what isn't there!

    Not trying to be difficult, Dondi (it's the doctrine, not me, or at least my grappling with it), I'm trying to edge away from the subjective/sentimental notion of sin.

    Longer answer:
    The Primordial Couple were established in a state of grace, in Union with the Divine, but by their free choice removed themselves from the Beatific Vision.

    The first thing they experienced, having had their eyes 'opened', was shame, nakedness, and they hid – it was a loss of the interiority of things, it was a loss of the life in the Unity of All Things – so whilst we can talk about sin as something they did, an act of self-willed disobedience, for example, or self-will as opposed to divine will, or a selfish good as opposed to the good of all ... what is far more important is the result of the act, the loss of grace, the loss of that unity and union.

    Baptism reinstitutes that which was lost, so baptism is not so much a case of removing something that is there, as re-establishing something that was lost.

    Does that help?

    +++

    Augustine has been labelled as the one who has made such a big deal of sin, and such a negative deal at that (even my mum is no fan of his), but this is oftern because his work is taken out of its total context.

    The famous Pelagian dispute, which resloved into an argument of grace v free will, was fought by Augustine on the grounds that if Pelagius was right, then only the very few, an intellectual and ascetic elite, could aspire towards salvation ... for the vast mass of humanity, for those who were neither philosophers nor ascetics, salvation was simply beyond their reach.

    Augustine could not accept this. The gospels are not a treatise for the elite and, in current parlance, whilst there is an esoteric dimension to Christianity (as there is in all things, even knitting), there is not an 'esoteric Christianity' which is secret, distinct, other than and superior to, the Faith professed in the Creed, and the Sacraments of the Church.

    Thomas
     

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