Sadly enough, the person making this claim is often himself a Christian at least, in name. The problems with this view are pretty straightforward. Christianity makes a series of claims about God and man: That Jesus of Nazareth was God Himself, and that he died and was resurrected — all so that we might be free from our sins.
Every other religion in the world denies each of these points. So, if Christianity is correct, then it speaks a vital truth to the world — a truth that all other religions reject. This alone makes Christianity unique. But it doesn't end there. Recall Jesus' statement in John's Gospel: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. It's true that all religions contain some measure of truth — the amount varying with the religion.
Nevertheless, if we earnestly want to follow and worship God, shouldn't we do it in the way He prescribed? If Jesus is indeed God, then only Christianity contains the fullness of this truth. This is a common claim, one found all over the internet especially on atheist and free-thought websites.
An article on the American Atheists website notes that "What is incredible about the Bible is not its divine authorship; it's that such a concoction of contradictory nonsense could be believed by anyone to have been written by an omniscient God. For example, critics fail to read the various books of the Bible in line with the genre in which they were written. The Bible is, after all, a collection of several kinds of writing If we try to read these books in the same wooden way in which we approach a modern newspaper, we're going to be awfully confused.
And the list of Bible "contradictions" bears this out. Take, for example, the first item on the American Atheist's list:. But what the critic neglects to mention is something every Christian knows: When Christ instituted the New Covenant, the ceremonial requirements of the Old Covenant were fulfilled and passed away.
And so it makes perfect sense that Old Testament ceremonial rules would no longer stand for the people of the New Covenant. If the critic had understood this simple tenet of Christianity, he wouldn't have fallen into so basic an error.
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The next item on the American Atheist list is similarly flawed:. So, the Old Testament claims that the earth will last forever, while the New says it will eventually be destroyed. How do we harmonize these? Actually, it's pretty easy, and it again comes from understanding the genre in which these two books were written. Ecclesiastes, for example, contrasts secular and religious worldviews — and most of it is written from a secular viewpoint. That's why we find lines like, "Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything. However, since the viewpoint that gave birth to the notion of an eternal earth is rejected in the last lines of the book, there's obviously no contradiction with what was later revealed in the New Testament.
And this is just one way to answer this alleged discrepancy.
The other "contradictions" between the Old and New Testaments can be answered similarly. Almost to an item, the critics who use them confuse context, ignore genre, and refuse to allow room for reasonable interpretation.
No thinking Christian should be disturbed by these lists. This argument is used often, and is pretty disingenuous.
When someone says he's a "good person," what he really means is that he's "not a bad person" — bad people being those who murder, rape, and steal. Most people don't have to extend a lot of effort to avoid these sins, and that's the idea: We want to do the least amount of work necessary just to get us by. Not very Christ-like, is it? But that mentality aside, there's a much more important reason why Catholics go to Church other than just as an exercise in going the extra mile.
Mass is the cornerstone of our faith life because of what lies at its heart: the Eucharist.
It's the source of all life for Catholics, who believe that bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ. It's not just a symbol of God, but God made physically present to us in a way we don't experience through prayer alone. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" John We're honoring Jesus' command and trusting in that promise every time we go to Mass.
What's more, the Eucharist — along with all the other Sacraments — is only available to those in the Church. As members of the Church, Christ's visible body here on earth, our lives are intimately tied up with the lives of others in that Church. Our personal relationship with God is vital, but we also have a responsibility to live as faithful members of Christ's body. Just being a "good person" isn't enough. As a former Baptist minister, I can understand the Protestant objection to confession they have a different understanding of priesthood. But for a Catholic to say something like this I suspect that, human nature being what it is, people just don't like telling other people their sins, and so they come up with justifications for not doing so.
The Sacrament of Confession has been with us from the beginning, coming from the words of Christ Himself:. Notice that Jesus gives His apostles the power to forgive sins. Of course, they wouldn't know which sins to forgive if they weren't told what sins were involved. The practice of confession is also evident in the Letter Of James:.
This is when they'll come back with an amendment to the original statement by saying, "As long as you're not hurting others, you're free to do and believe what you like. Show Hide. Some of them are made over and over, others are rare. Quite a number of Church and administrative officials live in the Vatican with the pope, making it more like the Church's main headquarters. Lot offered them his daughters, but they weren't interested. The Cherubim and Seraphim have special prayers for sick people, which are used as a form of faith healing.
It's interesting that nowhere does James or Jesus tell us to confess our sins to God alone. Rather, they seem to think that forgiveness comes through some means of public confession. And it's not difficult to understand why. You see, when we sin, we rupture our relationship not just with God, but with His Body, the Church since all Catholics are interconnected as children of a common Father. So when we apologize, we need to do so to all parties involved — God and the Church. Think of it this way.
Imagine you walk into a store and steal some of their merchandise. Later, you feel remorse and regret the sinful act. Now, you can pray to God to forgive you for breaking His commandment. But there's still another party involved; you'll need to return the merchandise and make restitution for your action. It's the same way with the Church. In the confessional, the priest represents God and the Church, since we've sinned against both. And when he pronounces the words of absolution, our forgiveness is complete. When some people think of Vatican City, what they immediately picture is something like a wealthy kingdom, complete with palatial living accommodations for the pope and chests of gold tucked away in every corner, not to mention the fabulous collection of priceless art and artifacts.
Looking at it that way, it's easy to see how some people would become indignant at what they think is an ostentatious and wasteful show of wealth. But the truth is something quite different. While the main buildings are called the "Vatican Palace," it wasn't built to be the lavish living quarters of the pope. In fact, the residential part of the Vatican is relatively small. The greater portion of the Vatican is given over to purposes of art and science, administration of the Church's official business, and management of the Palace in general.
Quite a number of Church and administrative officials live in the Vatican with the pope, making it more like the Church's main headquarters. As for the impressive art collection, truly one of the finest in the world, the Vatican views it as "an irreplaceable treasure," but not in monetary terms.
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