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Old 08-08-2005, 11:28 AM   #61
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


As sin, or as a worse sin than others?
Probably a little of both.
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Old 08-08-2005, 12:23 PM   #62
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Me too. As a Christian, sometimes I'm embarassed by how many denominations and sects we have, like the only thing we can ever agree on is the existence of a god.
I wrote a paper on this once, long ago in my undergrad.

IIRC, according to the UN, there is one Roman Catholic Church (maybe with a billion people following each their own way, lol) composed of slightly more than 1 billion followers, a handful of Orthodox and Eastern Rite Christian Churches numbering about 300 million, and over 27,000 (!!) Protestant denominations worldwide numbering somewhere between 400-500 million. The numbers are likely outdated by now, though.
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Old 08-08-2005, 12:28 PM   #63
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Originally posted by anitram
IIRC, according to the UN, there is one Roman Catholic Church (maybe with a billion people following each their own way, lol) composed of slightly more than 1 billion followers, a handful of Orthodox and Eastern Rite Christian Churches numbering about 300 million, and over 27,000 (!!) Protestant denominations worldwide numbering somewhere between 400-500 million. The numbers are likely outdated by now, though.
So the Catholic church has almost twice as many followers as the various Protestant denominations? I'm not sure why (perhaps because Protestantism is more common than Catholicism in the UK so I subconsciously assumed it's the same worldwide. ) but that really suprises me. It also makes me realise how ridiculous it is when representatives of conservative Protestant denominations try to present their views as representative of Christianity as a whole.
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Old 08-08-2005, 12:34 PM   #64
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So the Catholic church has almost twice as many followers as the various Protestant denominations? I'm not sure why (perhaps because Protestantism is more common than Catholicism in the UK so I subconsciously assumed it's the same worldwide. ) but that really suprises me. It also makes me realise how ridiculous it is when representatives of conservative Protestant denominations try to present their views as representative of Christianity as a whole.
Quite the opposite, yes. That's one thing that I've always been attracted to about the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches...they have such massive numbers coupled with worship styles and organizational structures that have remained almost constant for a thousand years.
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Old 08-08-2005, 01:30 PM   #65
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So the Catholic church has almost twice as many followers as the various Protestant denominations? I'm not sure why (perhaps because Protestantism is more common than Catholicism in the UK so I subconsciously assumed it's the same worldwide. ) but that really suprises me. It also makes me realise how ridiculous it is when representatives of conservative Protestant denominations try to present their views as representative of Christianity as a whole.
I used to make the same assumption when I was growing up in a community that had no Catholics in it, my state is only 2% Catholic and in alot of counties there's not a single Catholic Church.
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Old 08-08-2005, 02:11 PM   #66
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees


So the Catholic church has almost twice as many followers as the various Protestant denominations? I'm not sure why (perhaps because Protestantism is more common than Catholicism in the UK so I subconsciously assumed it's the same worldwide. ) but that really suprises me. It also makes me realise how ridiculous it is when representatives of conservative Protestant denominations try to present their views as representative of Christianity as a whole.
And this touches on the whole point of the reformation.

It would be hard to say that the Catholic Church represents so many people's beliefs when so many Catholics distance themselves from the teachings of the Catholic Church.
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Old 08-08-2005, 02:17 PM   #67
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
It would be hard to say that the Catholic Church represents so many people's beliefs when so many Catholics distance themselves from the teachings of the Catholic Church.
I'm sure there is considerable variation in the beliefs of members of the Catholic Church, just as there is in any religion. I was just suprised to find that the majority of Christians in the world would identify themselves as Catholic not Protestant. I suppose another reason that it suprised me was that whenever people have tried to explain Christianity to me they've tended to focus on Protestant beliefs, as though they were representative of the whole religious tradition of Christianity, when in fact they're obviously the beliefs of a minority of Christians. (Which isn't in any way to denigrate those beliefs or those who hold them.)

I'm just rambling now, lol. I just found it suprising, is all.
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Old 08-08-2005, 02:26 PM   #68
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees


So the Catholic church has almost twice as many followers as the various Protestant denominations?
Actually the Catholic Church has more than twice as many followers as the various Protestant variations. Anywhere from 2.2-2.5 times as many. Also remember that the Orthodox and Eastern Rite churches are not Protestant denominations. In fact they are extremely similar to Catholicism and the last Pope, for example, had high hopes for a reunification someday.

Protestantism is much more the face of Christianity in the US, but it is a minority branch of Christianity worldwide.
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Old 08-08-2005, 05:20 PM   #69
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And this touches on the whole point of the reformation.

It would be hard to say that the Catholic Church represents so many people's beliefs when so many Catholics distance themselves from the teachings of the Catholic Church.
This is a valid point. So many of us have issues with the official teaching of the Church--these days it's entirely possible with the gay issue, especially--that the grouping together of all of these people looks like it's a formality, some artificial technicality. There are certain things that unify us, but we're a rather divided bunch. So one can think of "Catholics" this way. Heck, I'd be lying if I said otherwise. Yeah, a bunch of us go to mass, take the Eucharist, and it means something to me to do it, otherwise I wouldn't bother, but...........
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Old 08-08-2005, 05:24 PM   #70
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But you also have to understand that Catholicism, possibly more than any other Christian denomination or sect is a cultural phenomenon. There are countries which have major holidays built around the feast days of saints and so on, so that hundreds of years of culture have been impregnated with Catholicism and both the religion and the Church in those countries play slightly different roles than other churches may.
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Old 08-08-2005, 07:02 PM   #71
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But you also have to understand that Catholicism, possibly more than any other Christian denomination or sect is a cultural phenomenon. There are countries which have major holidays built around the feast days of saints and so on, so that hundreds of years of culture have been impregnated with Catholicism and both the religion and the Church in those countries play slightly different roles than other churches may.
You're quite right, and I've been to some of those countries, including France, Italy and Ireland. They are all culturally Catholic even if many of the local citizens never enter the churches.
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Old 08-09-2005, 03:41 PM   #72
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Thanks everybody so far for their contributions. I always thought a serious discussion of the religion has gotten short shrift here for all the time it is mentioned. I wanted to be able to see all sides of it.
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