: Good posts by you in this thread. Just a few points that I need to expand on.
JE Menon wrote:For believing Christians, especially Catholics, this must be a really tough period. One wonders, eventually, what the outcome of all this will be. If it results in a church that is based on the strength of belief, rather than on the sturdiness of organization, on pure faith rather than raw power, and perhaps a refocusing on the Christianity of Jesus rather than that of Paul, there may be a way for the religion to maintain its flock and its ethos - at least in "the West".
The only outcome is that the Catholic Church (and all institutionalized churches) must be dissolved. Easier said than done, but that is the only way to end the mess. And dissolution of the church is not the only solution. The guilty members *MUST* be convicted under the law. Thirdly, there has to be a sizeable compensation for the people's lives they ruined. They cannot undo what they have done, but compensation is the next best thing - IMVHO - after dissolution and jail time.
The Christianity of Jesus and the Christianity of Paul are one and the same. It is the Roman Catholic Church (and other institutionalized churches) that has convoluted the message of Christianity. Paul never - in his wildest dreams - would have expected to see the Catholic Church involved in this debauchery. This is pure evil. For anyone to provide an excuse for this kind of behaviour, makes one equally guilty of the crime.
JE Menon wrote:4. The first bible was written in Greek, the language of the refined elites at the time (but not only, it was spoken by the ethnic Greek born too). Now remember this: neither Jesus nor any of his apostles (and possibly Paul himself was not fluent - although he was born in Tarsus which was a Greek city in what is now Turkey). So anything we have about what Jesus said or didn't say, etc is coming to us through major filters of language, time and ethnicity - to put it mildly.
I agree with you, when looking at the Bible from the outside. However to a Christian - but NOT to the Roman Catholic Church (and some other institutionalized churches) - the Bible is the infallible word of God. And while there have been scores of books, articles, etc written to point out the many errors (as they call them), for a Christian there only is the Bible and nothing else. However, no Christian can (or should) force that view point on anyone. The Bible does not instruct anyone to forcibly accept Christianity. The ability to believe comes from God alone.
JE Menon wrote:But this lack of knowledge, combined with great financial power, results in a bull-in-a-china-shop situation when Christianity encounters other faith systems - especially when it is thrust forward with the Pauline pressure to convert societies.
The Pauline pressure that you have mentioned above is actually RCC pressure only. History is filled with proven accounts of how Western Europe - in the name of Christianity - ruined civilizations, murdered people, and plundered & looted where ever they went. Today, many Protestants are doing the same thing, but instead of swords & spears they are doing conversions by false preaching. As I said above, the ability to believe comes from God alone. So it is extremely disingenuous when missionaries go around the world, claiming that they are converting people to Christianity. Nobody, I repeat NOBODY, can covert you to Christianity. Only God can do that. And God is NOT the Roman Catholic Church (or other institutionalized churches). They do not represent God. They are the anti-thesis to everything that God taught.
JE Menon wrote:The Orthodox church is much less "in your face" than the Catholic version. I have lived in the Orthodox milieu (outside India) for decades and never faced proselytization. At the same time, in the same area, I have dealt with the evangelism of Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons (who are not Christians, strictly speaking).
You are already EONS ahead of others who believe they are. Thank you for saying that.
I was born into the Malankara Orthodox Church. Believe me when I say this - the Orthodox Church is in the least bit interested in converting you. Non-Orthodox (forget other religions, many in the OC have the audacity to look down upon other Christian sects as un-Christian!) are actually pooh-pooed in the OC. That is the other extreme and is a whole different topic, for another time.
The OC is also undergoing its own sexual scandals. Four priests (probably more) have been charged with sexually exploiting a woman (from her teenage years) who is now in her 30s. It is a huge scandal that has rocked the OC, however the senior leadership of the church are acting like ostriches with their head stuck in the sand. And this is a known and confirmed case. There are a ridiculous number of other cases that have not come to the forefront because of the power that the OC wields within its community. As a side note, the OC practices celibacy, however their priests can get married but cannot become a bishop. But similar views to the RCC - Mother Mary was a virgin till she died, Jesus had no brothers or sisters, Priesthood, Pope, etc.
The problem with the RCC and other similar institutionalized churches is that they hero worship man and have forgotten God. They have replaced God with man made traditions, rules, their theology to further their own agendas and expand their own powers. When you have control over a large populace, the power can truly make one drunk.
Philip wrote:But what is the root cause of such perversion? It is CELIBACY. Celibacy goes against human nature to reproduce.It's in our genes. Christ never asked his disciples to remain celibate. Many of his disciples were married.The comparative lesser numbers of such abuse in the Anglican church is because priests can marry.The RC church has fudged the issue because the financial burden would b*ggar it (pun intended!) .Costs of married accommodation, etc. is impossible in most monasteries and abbeys .It is simply un-affordable if every priest is allowed to marry.
Well said. Celibacy ruined the Church. Sex is as normal as breathing. The issue that the RCC (and some other institutionalized churches) made is with the pleasure aspect of sex. The pleasure was viewed as evil and nothing to do with God. That is complete and utter nonsense and is not taught anywhere in the Bible. Just as you said, it is a human desire to reproduce and see your offspring (and your grandchildren and hopefully, even your great grand-children!). This convoluted thinking that absolving yourself from sex - in the faint hope of coming closer to God, through meditation and prayer - is a load of complete horseshit. That line of thinking is what is ruining the RCC (and other institutionalized churches) that practise celibacy.
Deans wrote:Fully agree. The best researched books I've read, is Reza Aslan's `Zealot', which elaborates on these points.
I'd add to this that even the accounts the 4 gospels (which are the basis of Catholic beliefs) are fairly inconsistent. The later gospel writers
put the blame for the death of Jesus on the Jews, in order to be politically correct (Rome having just defeated a major Jewish revolt). That
sparked off centuries of Antisemitism, which the church was often at the forefront of. The Pope, during WW2, did not condemn the holocaust.
The later gospel writers are right and so are the first four gospels that indicate that the Romans killed Christ. The Pharisees (Jewish high priests) murdered Jesus and the Romans were the facilitators of that process. But the Pharisees are solely responsible for his murder. Jesus Christ threatened their very economic and theological existence. And when they felt that they could be rendered useless - because of his teaching and popularity - they demanded that Pontius Pilate kill Him. When it becomes an issue of feeding your stomach and losing your power / prestige, one will go to any length to preserve it.
Deans wrote:What I had meant to say was that while the head of the Catholic church is the Pope, the Orthodox church does not have a Pope equivalent. They do have a `Ecumenical Patriarch' who is a `first among equals' among the various patriarchs. For a Russian Orthodox christian, the head of his church is the Russian Patriarch and not anyone outside the country. The patriarch in turn defers to the head of state (Putin), on any policy matter where both church and State are involved. The extent to which a ruler could influence church policy was the root cause of the split between Catholic and Orthodox churches in the middle ages. In a country like India, by contrast, the church can claim that they are answerable to the Vatican and not the State.
You may be right about the Russian Orthodox Church. However many Indian Christian Churches have their own Popes. There is a centuries long battle between who is the rightful Pope of the Malankara Orthodox Church. A fight that will never end and has even reached the Supreme Court of India. And the Supreme Court has also rendered its verdict, but they are still fighting. Look up autocephaly and Malankara Orthodox Church.