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10/05/2008 04:57 AM

Beliefs or lack there of-World Wide(page 8)

Posts: 1058
Senior Member

Good morning, the Spirit is here.

I took two Semesters of Latin at the University of Minnesota, and it was quite a challenge, but so worth the study!!! I did well in these classes (straight A's) but worked very hard, and what a mental work out! I could memorize conjugations and declensions fine, but actual translation takes a brilliant mind, and I couldn't do it for the life of me! Even just one vowel in a word can change the whole meaning, lexically (words) and symantically (meaning)! I still have my Wheelocks texts, vocab cards, etc. What I wish I could do is to read the original Greek texts of the Bible. Then, the purest translation can be experienced. Thanks to Babylon, we got out languages!

Post edited by: SpiritArtist, at: 10/05/2008 05:14


10/05/2008 05:11 AM
Posts: 1058
Senior Member

Bringing life close to home, I have friends, who suffer from mental illness; Schizophrenia, Bipolar, the works, who have a profound faith that is not defined entirely by their diagnosis. The boundaries, however are blurry. Jeff, an Orthodox Jew, is truly a man of God, completely honoring his faith and family ritual. He came into my life at the U of M, and was my mentor for years. But he also was very, very sick ... when he graduated from the U of M, he accidently forgot his meds on a trip and got so manic, that the police took him to the hospital. He was committed. He lit himself on fire one day, when in the depths of his suffering. He got third degree burns on his stomach that have perminently scared him for life.

Religion can be a profound support in life, yet can serve as a deadly reminder that forces beyond out control are trying to destroy us. Where is the threshold between healthy religion and deadly religion? In effect, religion has created more war and more death for mankind than any other type of conflict in world history!

Post edited by: SpiritArtist, at: 10/05/2008 05:12

10/05/2008 05:41 AM
Posts: 8702
VIP Member

Today's reading on Christianity:

In the beginning, The foundational story of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus is chiefly preserved in the four New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The gospels are primarily intended as proclamations about the "kingdom of God" and about Jesus as son of God and redeemer of humankind. Hence they do not easily lend themselves to historical scholarship. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great (who ruled Judea 37-4BCE as a client-king of the Roman Empire) to a woman named Mary and her spouse, Joseph, both of whome were pious Jews, and that he was raised at Nazareth in Galilee in northern Palestine.

The accounts of Jesus' nativity (birth) in the gospels of Matthew and Luke create an aura of divine mystery from the outset: an angel, Gabriel, appears to the Maiden Mary and announces that she will miraculously conceive a divine child through the Holy Spirit, the three wise men or magi

**note here on magi: The Magi (singular Magus, from Latin, via Greek μάγος ; Old English: Mage; from Persian maguÅ¡ and Kurdish mâgî) were a tribe from ancient Media[1], who — prior to the establishment the Achaemenid Empire in 550 BC — were responsible for religious and funerary practices of the ancient Iranian peoples.

Later they accepted the Zoroastrian religion and developed it into Zurvanism, which would become the predominant form of Zoroastrianism during the Sassanid era (AD 226–650). No traces of Zurvanism exist beyond the 10th century. In English, the term may refer to a shaman, sorcerer or wizard; it is the origin of the words magic and magician.**

traveled to the place of Jesus' birth, following a star that they believe will lead them to the "king of the Jews" Shepherds tending their flocks at the time were told by a Angel " to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah (Christ), the Lord (Luke: 2-11)

The gospels recount Jesus' adult baptism by John the Baptist, a significant and prophetic figure who is said to have prepared the way for the disclosure of Christ's identity as the Son of God. The baptism marked the beginning of Jesus' public ministry in Galilee and the surrounding area. As Jesus began his ministry, he took on twelve chief disciples, known as the apostles (Greek apostolos, "messenger" or delegate of Christ) who after his death were regarded as his successors and held responsible for spreading the belief in Jesus as the messiah and redeemer. The gospel narratives tell of Jesus as a wonder-working prophet. They describe miracles of healing and raising the dead, exorcising demons, changing water into wine, multiplying loaves and fishes to feed a great multitude-all acts that his followers regarded as evidence of his messiahship.

As significant to the foundation of Christianity as the birth and ministry of Jesus is his death and resurrection. There is broad consensus that in Jerusalem at the time of the Jewish festival of Passover, Jesus was betrayed by one of his followers and arrested. After cross-examination by the Jewish authorities, Jesus was sent before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate and found guilty of claiming to be the king of the Jews, a claim that was blasphemous under Jewish law and treason to the Romans. Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion, a normal Roman punishment for criminals, and traitors, and died on the cross within a few hours.

But the Jesus movement did not die out with it's leaders death. Shortly after his crucifixion, a small group of Jews began to proclaim that Jesus had been resurrected and that in his resurrection the messianic hopes of Israel had been fulfilled. They could hardly have foreseen the astounding success of their preaching.

***Footnote: the terms "heretic" and "heresy" (from Greek hairesein, "to chose" refer to Christians who choose to dissent from orthodox doctrine and belief. In order to survive and flourish, the early church needed to formulate a uniform system of beliefs and a fixed canon of scripture. Ecclesiastical orthodoxy was determined by bishops and theologians meeting in councils to discuss such areas as priestly celibacy, the role of women, scriptural authority and the form of the liturgy. Most important, they discussed the Trinity and how to express the relationship between God and Christ, a complex issue that lay at the heart of early heresies such as Manicheanism, Marcionism, Arianism and Montanism. The debate led to the formulation at the councils of Nicea (325 ce) and Chalcedon (451ce, of the creed, a statement of essential Christian belief.***

Two millennia of Faith: In the years immediately following the Crucifixion, most believers in Jesus as messiah were Palestinian Jews. However, in the two decades from CA 40CE, this began to alter radically as the Christians took their message to the gentiles (non Jews) The story of this mission begins with Saul of Tarsus, a Greek speaking Diaspora Jew and Roman citizen, who bore a Classical name, Paul, as well as his Hebrew one, Saul/Paul began as a persecutor at the stoning of Stephen-revered as the first Christian martyr, in Jerusalem, Shortly afterward, en route to Damascus to arrest other followers of Jesus, he experienced a vision of Jesus and converted (Acts 9.1-19, 22.5-16) Paul then began a zealous, lifelong and successful mission to convert the gentiles of Greece and Asia Minor. Paul was one of the first to articulate a Christian theology distinct from Jewish practice and law.

As it spread, early Christianity faced a number of obstacles. Christians refused to sacrifice to the Greco-Roman deities or to acknowledge the Roman emperor as a god, as required by law, hence simply being a Christian was treason and many of the Christians were martyred, but their example served to advertise the new religion and to unify its followers. Persecution effectively ended after the Emperor Constantine's Edict of Milan (313CE) decreed tolerance for all religions. In 392CE, Theodosius 1 declared Christianity the sole religion of the empire.

***Footnote: The East-West Schism, the break between the churches of the East (orthodox) and West (Roman) in 1054 marked the end of a gradual process with its roots in the cultural differences between the Latin-speaking Western Roman empire and the Greek-specking East. The basic cultural and linguistic divide was reinforced by a long history of complex doctrinal differences, including the controversy over the definition of Christ's dual (human and divine) nature and over devotion to icons (Greek eikon, "image"Wink representations of holy figures such as Christ, Mary and the Saints. In the eighth century, the iconoclasts ("image breakers"Wink of the East, who considered the use of icons in churches to be idolatry, won the upper hand for several decades and countless sacred works of art were destroyed, but the iconodules ("icon worshippers"Wink reversed the trend and icons came to be treated in the East as not simply symbolic but as intrinsically sacred and able t confer grace on worshippers. This attitude was not accepted in the West. What finally split the church was the question of allegiance to the Roman papacy. In the West, supreme ecclesiastical authority came to lie with the Pope, the bishop of Rome, who traced his legitimacy through the apostle Peter to Christ himself, but in the East, authority rested with a episcopate made up of all the bishops. Matters came to a head in 1054, when a argument over the Byzantine community in Southern Italy to pay homage to Pope Leo IX led to the excommunication of the Eastern church, which retaliated with a counterexcommunication. Although there were attempts to reconcile the breach, the two churches have never reunited.***

The early period of Christian history is often referred to as the "Patristic" era after the Patres Ecclasiae (Latin, "fathers of the Church"Wink the great (male) theologians whose works helped shape the Christian thought and doctrine, perhaps the most influential of these was St. Augustine (354-430CE, bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa. Bishops (Greek, episkopos, "overseer"Wink had been instituted early in this period to act as spiritual heads of Christian communities, with those of Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Constantinople regarded as the "patriarchs" of the Church. In the late fifth century, the secular power of the Western Roman empire succumbed to the Germanic invaders. For the time being however, the churches in the West and in the Byzantine East remained as one. The feudal states that subsequently developed in medieval Western Europe were organized according to a system in which the most powerful elements were the Monarchy, The Aristocracy and the Church. State and Church often conflicted, but it came to be accepted that the monarch would rule over temporal matters, while the pope exercised supreme authority over spiritual issues. The question of papal authority lay at the heart of the first big schism (split) in the church, between West and East. Western (Roman) Christianity continued to expand during a succession of crusades from 1095-military expeditions aimed at the expulsion of Muslims from the Holy Land. The interaction with the Islamic civilization also brought Western culture into contact, via Arab scholarship, with the lost philosophical traditions of ancient Greece, especially Aristotle. This rediscovery brought both a challenge and renewed vigor to the Christian philosophy, reflected in the work of theologians whose collective approach is referred to as "scholasticism" The greatest scholastic thinker was probably St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) for whom questions of reason, knowledge and revelation were at the forefront of the attempt to reconcile ancient philosophical systems with the Christian theology. The flowering of medieval Christian scholarship coincided with the rise of universities in Europe and with the reform of the long tradition of Benedictine monasticism. This reform resulted in the emergence of several new orders as well as the formation of the mendicant (begging) orders of the Dominicans and the Franciscans, who originally sought to lead poor and humble lives in close imitation of Jesus and his disciples.

Prior to the Protestant reformations in the 16th century, reformers such as John Wyclif (1330-84) in England and John Hus (1373-1415)in Bohemia had begun to question the traditional authority of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and to oppose what they regarded as corrupt church practices, Both men were condemned as heretics, but their criticisms and reforms continued to garner support among the laity.

Discontent came to a head in 517, when Martin Luther (1483-1546), an Augustinian friar of Wittenberg, Germany, publicly posted 95 "theses" statements criticizing Rome for selling "indulgences" promises to reduce one's time in purgatory to raise funds. In spite of church opposition, the German reform movements quickly gathered pace and within just a few years the split in Western Christianity had become irrevocable. In 1529, the signatories to one formal protest against the suppression of reformers were dubbed "Protestants" and this name stuck.

Protestantism, which essentially advocated the authority of scripture over that of an ecclesiastical hierarchy, developed along several distinct lines. Radical reformers such as Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) and John Calvin (1509-64) opposed the veneration of images, certain aspects of the Roman liturgy, and clerical celibacy. Unlike those who followed Luther's notion of salvation through faith and not through deeds, Calvin believed in predestination, some of the faithful were destined to be saved, others were not. Today the term Protestant covers an extraordinary proliferation of denominations. Secular rulers took up the cause of reform for a variety of reasons, many agreed with the criticisms of the reformers, others saw an opportunity to seize church wealth. The origins of one of the largest denominations , Anglicanism (the church of England and its affiliates such as Episcopalianism,) was linked with the marital problems of the monarch Henry VIII (ruled 1509-47) who was refused a divorce by the pope.

With it's new emphasis on the holiness of marriage and then family, Protestantism had a negative influence on monasticism and in many of the reformed areas monasteries and convents all but disappeared. The era of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation coincided with the beginnings of European colonialism. As Europeans expanded their horizons to the Americas and elsewhere, missionaries zealous to "make disiciples of all nations" (Matthew 28.19) had a profound impact on the worldwide spread of Christianity. While missionary activity continues today, it does so altered by ecumenism, a movement that began with an international and multidenominational missionary conference at Edinburgh in 1910. The movement aimed to foster cooperation and dialogue across denominational boundaries and to end centuries of suspicion and hostility among Christians of different traditions.

As Christianity moved into the modern period, powerful rationalist and skeptical influences were exerted on the faith by the 18th century Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of industrial capitalism, and advances in science from the 17th century to present. Urbanization and secularization, particularly in the West were among the factors that changed traditional roles and functions performed by the Church and its community in earlier historical periods. Nonetheless, like any living religious tradition, the vitality of the Christian faith is evidenced in a continual process of reform and internal pluralism, Today over 400 denominations all identify themselves as Christian. Many regard this worldwide religious diversity as one the greatest challenges facting Christianity in the modern world.

***Footnotes: The counter Reformation--The protestant reformation prompted a renewal of Roman Catholicism that is known as the Counter Reformation. Fostered by the council of Trent (1545-63) the Catholic reform movement not only say the ending of many of the practices (such as the sale of indulgences) that had fired the reformers, but also that founding of new orders such as the intellectually rigorous Jesuits (the Society of Jesus) who under the guidance of their founder Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) sought to lay new emphasis on pastoral care and missionary work. The counter reformation also lead to a reaffirmation of the supremacy of priests, the sacraments, and the authority of the papacy in those areas where it remained dominant. The new optimism within the Catholicism was reflected in a great flowering of sacred art.

Protestant Denominations: the major organized churches of Protestantism include Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans (or Episcopalians), Friends United Meeting (Quakers) Mennonites, Mormons and Christian Scientists, Anglicanism has the most elaborate liturgy, basing its worship throughout the world on the book of Common Prayer. Baptists, on of the largest Protestant Churches (with many subgroups) stress personal religious experience and adult baptism. Among other groups, Seventh Day Adventists celebrate Sabbath on Saturday and adhere to some of the dietary laws of the Old Testament. Denominations such as Jehovah's Witnesses are called "millennialist" because they believe that Christ will soon return for the final apocalyptic battle of Armageddon, after which he will reign for a 1,000 years.

Evangelicalism is common to several Protestant Churches, Evangelicals typically regard themselves as born again, in Christ, stress personal conversion and often dedicate themselves to evangelizing the world Evangelical preachers are strongly biblical in orientation. Stimulated by television evangelists and world wide missions, one of the fastest growing movements is Pentecostalism, a phenomenon that has also had some currency among Roman Catholics. It has a strong focus on evangelism (proclaiming the word of God) and is essentially charismatic, that is ecstatic experiences such as "speaking in tongues" are considered a vital element of worship. The term Pentecostalism refers to the descent of the Holy Spirit among the apostles at the time of Pentecost (Whitsunday) (Acts 2.1-4)

Post edited by: carmen33, at: 10/05/2008 05:44

10/05/2008 06:57 AM
normaPosts: 10109
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I'm an Advocate

Most excellent, Carmen!!! It hit all the high points...thanks for this post. I am especially glad you included the history of the beginnings of Christianity. I think they play an important part in understanding the basics of the Christian movement. The history of Western Civilization is interwoven with the beginnings and growth of the Christian church.

10/05/2008 10:02 AM
Posts: 8702
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Spirit, you hit the nail on the head, when you said more wars were started over religion, in a sense, that still happens today because of bigotry.

Your welcome Norma, the theme behind this thread is education..and for that you have to have most if not all of the history to learn, being Mormon, when I first started studying the Book of Mormon (which by the way if anyone wants a copy just go to LDS.ORG, you can either send for one, or read the online text) I found myself bouncing between the Bible and the Book of Mormon as there are so many ties.. the Prophet Joseph Smith came to his revelation because of all the disputes and stuff going on at the time in the different religions. Not sure that explanation is correct, but when the time comes to cover the Mormon side I will make sure it is. He was a lot like me, saw so much and could not figure out where to turn.

10/05/2008 11:42 AM
Posts: 214

Carmen, does your church use both books, or how does it work? I hope we cover it. I really don't know much about the Mormon religion, or have ever read any of the Book of Mormon. Always wandered about it though.

10/05/2008 01:25 PM
Posts: 269

I think this is an interesting thread, I have only skimmmed through it, I am in no shape to read anything lenghty right now. I went to church every now and again as a young child, but I was basiclly brought up with new age/wicca as my religion and still believe in it strongly, and I have also found Amida Buddha too. To tell the whole truth, even before the new age entered my life I never really felt comfortable in chruch and learning about a God who we were to fear and everything that goes with that. Wicca and Buddism are very comforting to me and have helped through alot. I believe that people should believe whatever feels right to them and it is nobody else business to tell someone else what to believe. I am not trying to be argumentive or anything , just saying how I feel. When I can concentrate more I will be back here to learn what I can about other religions. This was a great idea!

10/06/2008 02:13 AM
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Hi, Amanda, and welcome to the thread, each and every religion that I can find information on will be covered, John we use both along with other books that have been written by the Elders and the Prophet Joseph Smith.

10/06/2008 03:01 AM
Posts: 8702
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Today's reading might be on the short side, as it is back to work and Glenn is going to have some dental work done, so will be tending to him if he is up this evening.

Revelation and Truth: Christian theology is a profoundly complex subject and has a great many forms and methods-natural theology, practical theology, systematic theology, mystical theology, pastoral theology and speculative theology, and most recently Liberation theology to name a few. However it can be broadly divided into two types: dogmatic theology and moral theology.

Dogmatic theology, the science of the theoretical truths of God, seeks to establish fundamental doctrines and articles of faith, drawing on scripture and tradition, dogmatic theology generally deals with issues relating to the concept of the Trinity. Moral theology, while grounded in Christian dogma, is the science of practical moral truths and aims to explain the divine laws ad the relationship of humankind to God.

Christian theological inquiry has had a lively history that goes back to the very beginnings of the church. Within an expansive general brief "The nature of God", theologians systematically treat a wide range of topics relevant to doctrinal concerns, such as Christology, (the study of the person and nature of Jesus) Mariology, the study of Mary's role in the incarnation, soteriology, revelation pertaining to the redemption and salvation, and eschatology, revelation concerning the end of the world.

There is theological discourse in the New Testament, but the distinct discipline of theology emerged only with the Church Fathers, such as St. Augustine, who was the source of the basic Christian notions that humanity suffers from a hereditary moral disease derived from the original sin of Adam. That only God's grace can offer salvation. Later with the development of the European universities in the Middle ages, theology was placed at the pinnacle of studies as the Queen of the Sciences. This was the period of scholastic theology, a systematized manner of deriving theological conclusions and the basis of syllogism (deductive reasoning, Foremost among the scholastic theologians is Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) author of Summa Theologica (the sum of theology, a work of profound influence that attempts to synthesize reason and faith in the light of Western Europe's rediscovery, via Muslim scholarship, of ancient Greek philosophy particularly that of Aristotle. Still authoritative in modern Catholicism, the study and continuation of Aquinas' work is referred to as Thomism.

10/06/2008 04:49 AM
Posts: 974
Senior Member

Hey Y'all!

I usually lurk, but I like this thread so much, I just HAD to add my spin!

In the fourth century, the Roman emporer, Constantine, legitimized Christianity, thus perhaps to diminish the opposition of Christianity to the State of Rome.

The word "religion", I believe, first appeared in the fifteenth century, at a time in history during which the monarchs of Europe were forced to confer authority on the Christian Church and to act in concert with the growing power of the church hierachy in an effort to establish doctrines, principles, laws, and rituals--an effort to resolve the dilemma presented by the co-existence of the absolute rule of a monarchy with the ultimate authority of a theocracy.

It is my opinion that the word "religion" may have been derived from the Latin "legis", a word which captures the legal, cultural, and political essence in the concept of the early Christian church. It is, as Spirit mentioned, difficult to translate the latin in modern terms, especially with an idiom like "religion."

However, given the cultural and political history surrounding religion, the origin of the word "religion" appears to have some relationship to the origin of the word "legal." [The association of the prefix "re" with the root word "legis", hence "religion", implies the process of "re-gathering" or "re-legislating."]

legal 1447 (implied in legality) "of or pertaining to the law," from L. legalis "legal, pertaining to the law," from lex (gen. legis) "law," possibly related to legere "to gather," on notion of "a collection of rules" (see lecture). Sense of "permitted by law" is from 1647. The O.Fr. form was leial, loial (see leal, loyal). Legalese "the language of legal documents" first recorded 1914.

These days, given the effect of broad secular influences, one's religious identity seems about as meaningful as one's astrological identity, the major divisions being which authority in which one places one's faith. The separation between church and state seems somewhat more blurred.

It is, by the way, no coincidence in my mind that many of us have exceeded our human frailties through faith--faith in the power of ultimate authority to guide our recovery.

It is rumored that Friedrich Nietzsche, ninteenth century philosopher and teacher at the University of Basel, entered his lecture hall one day and wrote on the blackboard, "God is dead.--signed Nietzsche."

Years later, after Nietzsche retired, a class entered the same lecture room. On the same blackboard, the class observed, someone had written, "Neitzsche is dead. --signed God."

Have a good day.

Your friend,


Post edited by: JR1, at: 10/06/2008 05:30


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