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Old 03-08-2004, 01:55 PM   #16
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Thank you!

I just thought of two more questions too.

1) What exactly is Lent all about? All I know is people give up chocolate (and other good things) for Lent but I have no idea why...do all Christians do that, or only certain denominations?

2) There has been talk in the Heaven thread about Grace being a gift that you accept if you believe in Jesus (because if you don't believe in him it's impossible to accept a gift from him).

I totally understand that concept, but I'm wondering how does one really go about BELIEVING in something/someone....it's one thing to read and understand something intellectually but am I literally supposed to just read the Bible and maybe take some classes and discussions and suddenly I will BELIEVE? I will out of the blue feel this love and submission to Jesus?

How did everyone become such believers, was it literally just drummed into your heads from birth until it was the only truth you knew?

Just curious....
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Old 03-08-2004, 03:10 PM   #17
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It's something that comes with time and not a little bit of effort. I was raised in Christian household (my parents are both ministers), so I knew all the basics from a very young age. I was confirmed (officially becoming a full member of my church) at 15, but I really couldn't say I truly and fully believed and felt God's real presence until a couple years later. My parents made sure I went to Sunday school as a kid, because as Christian parents they felt it was their responsibility out of love for me to have the opportunity to know God. However it was never forced down my throat and for that I am fortunate as many children of the clergy do and turn away from God and religion for that reason. But as you say there is a world of difference between intellectual knowledge and belief. I didn't go to church with any regularity for a number of years after my parents no longer had me go to church with them, or when I did go on reflection now i can say that while it was interesting and I enjoyed parts of it, I never really came with a full sense of dedication. While communion for me now is a profoundly spiritual experience, back then it was really just going through the motions.

I had some humbling spiritual experiences and a long the way I felt the need to read the Bible daily and commited myself to that and regular prayer. I can't say exactly where it happened but at some point I just felt I had come to know God and knew I was His. Even though I've been less than faithful in a lot of areas in the last couple years I still fell connected to God as much as ever and strangely perhaps a bit more. It's a cumulative process. No one can say when it will happen, but I believe that if you honestly and dilligently seek to find God, he/she will find you. I can happen in a singular epiphany or gradually over time. For my Dad it was a long road and it took a lot. Though he's been a minster for as long as I've been alive he was an agnostic until his early to middle 30's. He spent many years as a seeker unable to completely come to terms with God, but today he is one of the most dedicated belivers I know. It happens differently for everyone.

I have vaguely explored other religions but none matches to what I have come to know about God nor do they make as much sense as orthodox (traditional) Christian belief. Upon every evaluation of my beliefs I may find some small areas where I end up making changes, but in the core fundamentals my conviction in basic Christian belief remains solid.

As a side note, let me say I agree with Bono in finding Karma to be a very depressing notion. I can only find freedom in Grace, and God's love in that Grace.
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Old 03-08-2004, 03:31 PM   #18
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Originally posted by Blacksword
As a side note, let me say I agree with Bono in finding Karma to be a very depressing notion.
How so?

I've lived my life on the principles of karma for a while now, and I really could call it a lot of things, but depressing wouldn't be one of them. I find it actually liberating, because with karma comes accountability and a lot of soul searching and a lot of self awareness when it comes to your daily life. How your actions can have good and bad consequences is a powerful tool in stepping back and evaluating exactly how it is you want to live your life and conduct yourself while you are here.

As for Lent, it is the time of preparation for the Feast of Easter that begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes at midnight on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). It consists of 40 weekdays, and Sundays don't count because Sundays aren't days of penance. The Catholic Church encourages Ash Wednesday and Good Friday to be days of fast and abstinence, and all other Fridays should be meatless. Historically, the notion of 40 day penance evolved, because (I think, but may be wrong) that long ago, during Lent, those who were baptized and committed serious sins would be required to undergo penance during Lent, and then later it spread to the general populace.
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Old 03-08-2004, 04:20 PM   #19
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Originally posted by Mrs. Edge
1) What exactly is Lent all about? All I know is people give up chocolate (and other good things) for Lent but I have no idea why...do all Christians do that, or only certain denominations?
In a general sense, Lent is a 40 day period where the believer prepares his/her heart to celebrate the most important event in all of human history - the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Denominations approach Lent differently, some with traditions of sacrifice, others with traditions of service. How Lent is celebrated is not spelled out in the Bible.

At our church, our Children's Program has a giving project. The goal is to raise tutition for at least to children for Genesis One Christian School in Mendenhall, Mississippi. The school is the only private school in this county of Mississippi that is open to all students (read, African American students).

Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge
2) There has been talk in the Heaven thread about Grace being a gift that you accept if you believe in Jesus (because if you don't believe in him it's impossible to accept a gift from him).

I totally understand that concept, but I'm wondering how does one really go about BELIEVING in something/someone....it's one thing to read and understand something intellectually but am I literally supposed to just read the Bible and maybe take some classes and discussions and suddenly I will BELIEVE? I will out of the blue feel this love and submission to Jesus?

How did everyone become such believers, was it literally just drummed into your heads from birth until it was the only truth you knew?
To really understand, you may need to hear the stories of many who come to a saving faith. It is not a strictly intellectual process, but one that comes from the heart of the individual.

I was a hard-core agnostic until I was 22. There was a time in my when I wanted to hate, but I couldn't. Then I realized God was there. All my intellectual knowledge of the Bible sprang to life at that moment. I can identify with Mary when she suddenly recognized Jesus outside the tomb.
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Old 03-08-2004, 04:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


I was a hard-core agnostic until I was 22. There was a time in my when I wanted to hate, but I couldn't. Then I realized God was there. All my intellectual knowledge of the Bible sprang to life at that moment. I can identify with Mary when she suddenly recognized Jesus outside the tomb.
Whoa, I wouldn't have guessed that. Very interesting.
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Old 03-08-2004, 06:16 PM   #21
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I agree with Anitram about karma. For me, its much easier to understand and feels right. Im still having problems with the concept of grace. It still doesnt feel fair.

NBC, please post the denomination comparision here, and not just as a pm to Mrs Edge. I would love to read it too. please, please, please.

Same goes if anyone else wants to post something similar or just wants to post about their denomination and what it means to them. That would be wonderful.

I am in shock over the Quaker description. The Quaker missionaries were my only contact with Christianity growing up and I didnt find them very nice and peaceful at all. I couldnt wait for them to move onto the next town actually. (IMHO)

There is a Jesuit priest on campus (thats why I asked) but hes really quiet, hardly says boo, and wont look me in the eyes. The longest conversation I ever got out of him he mentioned how Belinda (my name) is a character in 'The Rape of the Lock' or something - not anything I have ever heard of, nor does it sound like anything I want to read! It probably doesnt have anything to do with sexual rape but having a creepy shuffling old guy talk about it was wigging me out. Not an approachable character at all. Hes very sweet but scary and not someone who I can ask questions of.
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Old 03-08-2004, 06:54 PM   #22
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I agree with Anitram about karma. For me, its much easier to understand and feels right. Im still having problems with the concept of grace. It still doesnt feel fair.
If you believe that HUMAN beings can reject the Grace of God, then it is not. If you believe God can extend his grace to whomever SHE chooses...then it seems very just.
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Old 03-08-2004, 07:02 PM   #23
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I get that bit, its the letting it all go bit I dont get. Forgiving yourself before making amends with the people you have upset. Thats the bit that I cant see how it can be fair.

Edited to add: I dont think my post makes sense. I will have to think and rewrite it.
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Old 03-09-2004, 06:26 AM   #24
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Iím having a seriously difficult time trying to articulate what Iím feeling. I have never tried to write this kind of stuff down before and itís proving to be quite a challenge.

For what its worth. My background. I spent the first 11 years of my life in various outback communities where the majority of the people were not only atheists but screamingly irreligious. Big time. You know the people that gave the Chamberlains a hard time over the Azaria thing because they were Christians? Yep, thatís the kind of community in which I was raised. Itís quite the norm to do that too, which isnít very nice.

Of the very few people who were religious most of them were into Altijiranga. Then there were visitors from India or Japan who had their own religion. Then lastly, Christians in the form of a couple of Quaker missionaries who would visit from time to time and presume that because we were white we knew what they were talking about. We didnít. I still donít. There were no churches. I didnít see one until we moved to Perth and I was sent to an Anglican girls school for high school. Again, they presumed I knew what they were talking about. I didnít. Still donít.

When I enrolled in University I chose the Uni that had a large amount of foreign aid students. (ie some of Australiaís foreign aid budget is spent educating people from the developing world by giving them scholarships to study in Australia.), refugees, and kids from not so privileged families. I thought it would be a wonderful experience to meet people from different religions. Instead what I found where Malaysian Catholics, Indian Catholics, Italian Catholics, Irish Catholics etc none of which wanted to talk to me about their religion Ė I did try asking, many times, but to no avail.

Oh, I am waffling now. Iím just having such a hard time getting my head around things. I really really want to understand the concept of grace but I just canít get my head around it and I have just burst into tears for no apparent reason so I will stop.
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Old 03-09-2004, 07:57 AM   #25
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I can understand why karma could be considered depressing
at times I wondered that if karma exists I must be an axe murderer while I think I'm alseep at night to explain the going ons in my life

grace to me has always been opposite to judge without even seeing all the evidence
foremost there's the willingness to see the beauty in someone instead of his/her flaws
I guess I like to think that you are accountable for the choices that you make, not for the person that you are born as
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:29 PM   #26
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Originally posted by Salome

I guess I like to think that you are accountable for the choices that you make, not for the person that you are born as
But this is the principle of karma.

You are accountable for the choices you make because they amount to positive or negative karma, depending on what they are. Yes, karma determines your next rebirth, in the event you are not escaping from the cycle of samsara (ie. attaining moksha), but once again, your next rebirth is not determined by who you are born as now, but by what sort of karma you accumulated during your time here. Now if you are referring to the person you are born as to mean that karma is inherently related to your dharma, you have to see it in one of two ways. In Hinduism, dharma is related to your caste or social class, so yes, the person you are born as makes a difference. However, the Buddha rejected the notion of the caste system, and therefore this is not applicable in Buddhism. As such, karma and dharma are related differently in the two religions. I am not sure about Jainism anymore, I can't remember at the moment whether they believe in the caste system or not.
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Old 03-09-2004, 05:33 PM   #27
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okay, I have about a thousand questions about catholicism... I was raised without any religion and I admit I haven't read the entire Bible quite yet.

The way I understand it, Mary lived a life without sin and was taken up in to heaven, body and all. Is that in the Bible? If not, where did it come from? How did she manage to be born without original sin? They say she didn't have any other children, but wouldn't having sex within the bounds of her marriage not be a sin, so wouldn't it be okay? What did Joseph think about never having any progeny? What ever happened to him? Isn't a marraige incomplete if not consummated, or am I way out on left field about that one?

Ash Wednesday - all my roommates came home with the ash cross on their head the other week and it really weirded me out. Why is it called Ash Wednesday? Why ashes? Why the ashy cross? How long has that been in practice? Is that in the Bible?

Saints - What's so bad about praying straight to God? Does he not listen to us ordinary mortals? How do people get to be saints? Why will God listen to saints more than us?

The Bible - the Bible was compiled around 500 AD, who decided what got to go in it and what didn't? Why did some stuff get excluded?

...that's all I got for now
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Old 03-09-2004, 06:12 PM   #28
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The way I understand it, Mary lived a life without sin and was taken up in to heaven, body and all. Is that in the Bible? If not, where did it come from?
This is called "assumption of the Blessed Virgin". The Catholic church sees Mary as fully sharing in the mystery of Christ's resurrection, and this has been Catholic belief for over 1500 years, but didn ot become dogma or an article of faith until 1950. It's celebrated annually on August 15th.

It is not found in the Bible, and generally nothing is known about her death, but both the East and West (ie. Roman Catholic and Orthodox) Church accepts the assumption of body and soul. My Catholic Bible indicates that the belief is based on a 4th or 5th century writing called De Obitu S. Dominae.

Quote:
How did she manage to be born without original sin?
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception exempts her from every stain of original sin. Catholic teaching is that God afforded Mary a special grace at the moment of her conception. It is celebrated on December 8th. You can't find categorical proof of it in the Bible, but I think the Church uses some Apostolic writings to do so. I'm not too sure on this.

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They say she didn't have any other children, but wouldn't having sex within
I think it's Church teaching that Jesus was her ONLY begotten son. I may be wrong here too, but I'm pretty sure it's argued they didn't have futher children.

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What did Joseph think about never having any progeny?
I'm not sure you'll find the answer to this anywhere.

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What ever happened to him?
Not known. His last appearance in the NT is when he takes Jesus to the temple when Jesus was 12. I think it's assumed he died at some point between then and Jesus' crucifixion, as he does not appear then.

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Ash Wednesday - all my roommates came home with the ash cross on their head the other week and it really weirded me out. Why is it called Ash Wednesday? Why ashes? Why the ashy cross? How long has that been in practice? Is that in the Bible?
First day of Lent. Ashes are burned on Palm Sunday, the previous year and preserved. The ashes come from palms. I think historically, people who repented would rub ashes over their bodies.

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Saints - What's so bad about praying straight to God?
You do pray straight to God. Ie. "Our Father" or the Anima Christi are good examples. You do not pray to Saints; this is a misconception. You ask them to interject on your behalf because they have earned a special favour with God.

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Does he not listen to us ordinary mortals?
Of course. This "praying to Saints" thing is a misconception, as I said above.

Quote:
How do people get to be saints?
They have to be beatified first. It is determined on the basis of heroic virtue. I believe you need 2 confirmed miracles for beatification and 3 for sainthood. It is a complex and extremely long process that occurs posthumously.

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Why will God listen to saints more than us?
Strict adoration is given to God ONLY, not the Saints. But the Saints are honoured due to the Divine, supernatural gifts that have been granted to them, and have earned them eternal life. The Church teaching is that if you are willing to ask those people here on earth, like friends and family to pray on your behalf, then why not request prayer from the Saints as well?

Quote:
The Bible - the Bible was compiled around 500 AD, who decided what
This is a really long and complicated answer, probably better attempted by someone other than me. I'm not too informed about this specific thing.

If you find a good Catholic dictionary (like in the back of a Catholid Bible), it's very helpful. I looked up a number of these thigns there that I was unsure of.
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Old 03-09-2004, 07:16 PM   #29
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thanks

...and I realized I was going to make sure about my "the Bible was compiled around 500AD statement." I'm pulling that out of the depths of my memory and I'm not so sure on the date, but the point is that it's compiled hundreds of years after the death of Christ. Just for clarification.
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Old 03-09-2004, 08:03 PM   #30
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I think God's grace kicks in after God knowing a believer's heart and intenions covers the wages and penalities of sin AFTER the believer has done his or her very best to rectify the situation as much as humanely possible.

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