Confused

I posted a question in Culture in Religion that asked if people believed in God or not and why. You can see the actual question in the resolved section.

Anyway, some of the answers I received actually answered the question, and others claimed that Christianity and religion were for those who could not face reality.  Somebody else claimed (mistakenly, I'm sure) that there was no proof whatsoever. I thought these were  very telling things to say that reflected what St. Jerome said centuries ago: "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ".

 Here are some facts as they stand right now, in the 2010: After more than 100 years of archeology conducted in the Holy Land, archaeologists have unearthed and documented over 90% of the locations mentioned in the Bible, including Sodom and Gomorrah (both cities were built on a coal bed and were struck by a meteor shower); the ark that Noah built (near Mt. Ararat in Turkey -the remains that were excavated fit the exact dimensions, shape, and size, listed in the Bible); the list goes on and on.

Then, there is what has came to be known as the Shroud of Turin. This is reputed to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Bible says was scourged, beaten, crowned with thorns, then crucified. There is an image on the shroud (that science cannot determine what made the image, or how it came to be there) that is of a man who was scourged, beaten, crowned with thorns, and crucified. You can find all kinds of stuff on the Shroud of Turin, but by typing it in any search engine.

Now...let us get the idea that we use religion to hide from reality. The St. Vincent de Paul Society is a Catholic organization that runs resale shops and fund raisers to raise money for things like buying food for the poor, helping the poor to pay electric and heating bills, and to replace furniture and things that have been lost through fires, along with helping to pay medical expenses, and so forth. Then there is the more famous Salvation Army, which is run by the Methodist Church; they do the same thing.

The Knights of Columbus, of which I am a member, raises money for college scholarships, and money to help mentally impaired people; it funds Boy and Girls Town, and it also donates millions of dollars to the Vatican every year, which in turn uses the money to fund food and medical needs for third world countries that otherwise would face catastrophic population losses due to starvation and disease.

The Catholic Church in the Unites States has long been at the forefront of programs promoting abstinence among high school age people in effort to curb abortion rates, teenage pregnancies, and reduce the spread of STDs.

Then, there are the Gideons, who spend millions of dollars every year publishing bibles for distributions worldwide so that people may receive the word of God. If there is a bible in your motel room, it was most likely placed there by a Gideon.

In order to be Christian, we have to have the firmest grip on reality. It is necessary that we have the firmest understanding of what is going on in the world around us, that we may be better equipped to deal with it and ease suffering and give aid to those in need. That's temporal. But there is also the spiritual side of it, as well.

There are people within the Catholic Church and among the Eastern Churches that have monasteries. Monasteries are populated by monks, who are men who have given up all that you and I enjoy so that they can detach themselves from society in order to pray for the society they have rejected. 

Nobody who is a Christian can sit idly by and not be steeped in reality. Our faith forbids it. On the contrary, we are probably more aware of the suffering, pain, and evil that exists in society than anybody else. It is our calling-it is our duty. It is our obligation and our life to help those in need of aid, and to pray for those we cannot aid. In order to these do things, we must need to know what is going on in the world. And accept it for what it is. We don't give it more credit than it deserves and we do't downplay it, either. It is what is there. Here it is, here is what we must do about it.

Some people look at this and say, "If there was a god, He wouldn't permit all this to happen". Some Christians lose faith. But others? Their faith grows deeper. There are those of us who respond with "God does not will these things to happen; we do. But God allows things to happen in order to bring a greater good out of it." And it is through the work and prayer of Christians that the greater good comes about. It is our opportunity to contribute to Christ's mission on earth. That's just how it is. There are Christian mission organizations that go into countries to help rebuild after disasters. Go ahead and thank a missionary; he or she will respond sheepishly, "It's just part of the job." You will think they mean the job they are doing; but the Christian missionary will think in much broader terms. He or she means, "It's just part of the job of being a Christian".

northguy northguy
46-50, M
10 Responses Mar 15, 2010

I'm a Muslim, so I'm not gonna talk about Christianity and God, I’m thankful for having absolutely no doubts about my religion, but I just want to reply to the people who say if God exists then why are we suffering!<br />
I see that this is such a silly claim! Why?<br />
This life is nothing but a test, this life isn't supposed to be heaven, because if it was then what's the point of having the real heaven in the hereafter? <br />
Of course there is going to be suffering, of course there are going to be bad people, evil people, of course we will have disasters, or how God will test us? On what basis God will put people in heaven and other people in Hell if we all are living such a wonderful life?!!! A rich person might look at a hungry child in Somalia and say how unjust God is, but in fact this person doesn't know that this kid is going to heaven and he is going to hell for some reason (everyone takes something and give up another thing), so if we analyze things God give every person something, NO ONE on this earth has everything and this is how God is just to all of us, and that is why there are poor places, sad people, but for sure those people have things that others don’t have!

This was interesting to read. You guys have very different associations with the words you use.

I just don't like it when people use other people as an example for Christ.....<br />
even Christians works are like filthy rags!<br />
So if you want to know God and Jesus....look to God and Jesus....<br />
its ok to be inspired by others but God MUST come first or you will surely fall.

Climb Out Into the Air<br />
Orlando Lujan Martinez <br />
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He will meet us in the air"- Matthew 24<br />
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Buddha explains no thing arises without cause-there is no uncaused cause. Christians believe that God and soul cause the appearance of astounding and exceptional individuals. The word soul is used in a secular manner to describe the exceptional: soul food, soul music, soul kisses, soul mate and soul brother. Soul, when used in this context, implies that the ob<x>ject of its attention is outstanding or the essence of the truth and God. <br />
Joseph Conrad writes: “A human that is born falls into a dream like a human who falls into the sea and spends its life trying to climb out into the air.“ The faithful believe the soul/spirit can lift them out of the sea. But because the soul resides in the invisible subconscious mind, what we presume to know about it will always be a supposition and a mystery until it is personally felt. <br />
Some people are blessed with soul, unknowingly, and it is the events of history that chooses the time of their appearance. Some of these people are Muhammad Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, Sophia and Hans Scholl- German, martyrs executed by the Nazis in 1941. Sophia Scholl knows the soul when she writes about pressing her face to an apple tree, “Could it be I hear a secret throbbing. I press my face to the trees dusky warm bark, and think, My Homeland, and I am so expressively graceful.”<br />
In the soul song requiem,Wind Under My Wings, Pattie LaBell sings to her departed sister, Jackie. LaBell tells her sister, in an voice soaring with soul, You ‘re the wind under my wings, Jackie, and in another line, Did you ever know you ‘re my hero. They are words of love sang for the listening soul of her sister and as a message, a reminder, to the listeners that if they love someone to tell them that before it’s to late. Pattie LaBell sings: Life is not about money or fame: it’s about soul. <br />
Other soul songs with lyrical distinctive messages of love, hope and revolution are, Starry Night , a song about Vincent Van Gogh, Bridge Over Trouble Waters, Blow in' in the Wind; Sing by Barbara Streisand; We Shall Over Come and the mournful Taps that honors the fallen. The music is wonderful but it is the words of songs that captures the heart and soul, enriches life and makes them special. Modern soul songs of this nature are as vital and important as great literature.<br />
Maya Lin gives “cause” when she said the Vietnam Memorial Wall was conceptualized to be completed by the thoughts and the feelings-meaning sorrow and love- that the people brought to it. It is a way of saying that once we can confront and go beyond death, we find renewed life. When the mourners look into the polished black granite of the wall they can see their faces, with the names of the honored dead cast over them, and at that moment they become part of the mystic and magic soulful essence of Vietnam Memorial Wall. <br />
Maya Lin's’ soul, the souls of the mourners and the dead are imbued in the spirituality (soul) radiating from the Vietnam Memorial Wall. It is a memorial that honors the men and women who were killed in vain in sorrow of the Vietnam War. It is an antiwar memorial that does not glorify war nor the state.<br />
When Buddha explains: No thing arises without cause, there is no uncaused cause- what Buddha is saying is that there is no happenstance or miracles because everything has cause. Einstein said the universe was not created by accident i.e. had cause. <br />
There was confirmation the souls presence at the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Atlanta Georgia Olympic games. Where a full stadium and millions of television viewers watched as the torch bearer, Muhammad Ali, a beloved American hero, climbed the stadium stairs, in the radiant aura of his soul and truth, to light the Olympic flame. <br />
The name of the torch carrier was not announced but everyone knew instantly who it was and a wave of wonder swept the stadium. “It’s Muhammad Ali.” they said in amazed voices, some with tears of joy in their eyes, as a huge cheer rose from crowd into the night sky. Such honor and adoration has no been accorded to many men or women. Muhammad Ali is a honored legacy of the Civil Rights era, the struggle to stop the Vietnam War and the history of our land. He is a national treasure. He as soul and knows God.<br />
<br />
<br />
It is said no narcissistic human can reflect the love and the bidding of the soul. Marilyn Monroe had fame, fortune, and bueaty-the temporary possessions of a secular life-and was still unfulfilled and went looking for love in all the wrong places. Marilyn had trouble in identifying herself even when looking in a mirror.<br />
Marilyn, like most of us, was searching for her soul. Marilyn did not have heroes, beliefs, faith or mentors wise enough to interrupt her plunge into the hell of drugs and fractured identity. She had lost the beat, crucial to keeping her song in rhythm, and was a magicians trick. Did President John F. Kennedy sense this when he introduced her at his birthday celebration as the "late" Marilyn Monroe, three months before she committed suicide. Spiritually dead she died alone one night in a drug induced frantic flight from the emotion pain of herself and a reality that had become a demon. <br />
The reason for Marilyn Monroe sadness is expressed in the lyrics of a Cole Porter Lorenz Harts song, Spring is Here: Spring is here why doesn't it delight me / Spring is here why doesn't it excite me / Maybe its because nobody loves me. <br />
But she died redeemed and standing up to be counted. Marilyn Monroe last picture was The Misfits. A movie about a woman who teams up with three men to capture wild horses. The movie moves pleasantly along with Marilyn not knowing the fate of the horses they had captured. <br />
Until the day she innocently asked one of the men, Clark Gable, where they were going to take the captured horses and he replied they were going to be sold for dog food. Marilyn immediately came unhinged and cried. “Oh, no!!. Why didn’t you tell me !!’ jumps up and runs into a field barren of foliage, turns with her knees together, hand grasped in front of them, face contorted with anguish, and her body bent over in emotional pain and cried in despair, “Murderers.!! Murderers!!" at the startled men. Sending the message that a horrible crime was being committed. A crime against the humanity and the soul.<br />
There she was a narcissistic women-thought of as sex symbol and "the late" Marilyn Monroe-emotionally alive, vibrant and dazzling in her protestation of the coming deaths of the innocent horses and against a world she did not understand. Marilyn's performance was so passionate and authentic that one could conceive that it was the real Marilyn Monroe on that barren field doing what the soul asks of a compassionate soulful women.<br />
The soul, the integrity and nobleness in humans, is described in Arthur Koester book, Darkness at Noon. He writes about the courageous, and doomed (many were executed the next day), communist prisoners who proudly sang the communist anthem The International , from a upper cell blocks of a fascist prison during the Spanish Civil War, as they waited to be executed. They truly believed that communism would eradicate poverty and courageously gave their lives for that cause. <br />
And I cannot take leave at this moment because it is essential to my soul that I write a remembrance of Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicolo Sacco, Italian immigrants and anarchist who were executed in 1929, for a crime they did not commit, by the state of Massachusetts. In his last letter, expressed in the words that are intrinsic to the soul, Bartolomeo Vanzetti shows he understanding the mythic meaning of their martyrdom: “If it had not been for these things(the trial,death sentence and innocents ) I might have live my life talking on street corners to scorning men. I might have died. unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we ( meaning his codefendant Nicolo Sacco) are not a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in my full life could we hope to do such good work for tolerance, for justice, for man’s understanding of man as we do now by accident. Our words-our lives, our pains-nothing. The taking of our lives-lives of a good shoe maker and a poor fish peddler -all. The last moments belong to us-that agony is our triumph.” <br />
And with those finale words, imbued with soul, Bartolomeo Vanzetti reaches down, from the freedom of air, to pull others out of the sea.

sorry ...was reading your tome until i came to the part about popular song lyrics.....please investigate these sources befre you claim them to be influenced by god..i bet most were influenced by the mighty dollar!

Chaps<br />
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Some very intelligent arguments on all sides.<br />
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I have really enjoyed reading all these very good comments.<br />
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I think we all would have had a great evening sitting round a campfire discussing this over a few beers.<br />
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I am sure that would make the "Big Man Upstairs" smile.<br />
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Raises a Glass....."Heres to the Bigman and I really hope he exists"<br />
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Cheers Chaps

Northguy, this is a terrific story, one of the best I've seen on EP. An admirable defense of the faith. Your answer to the virgin was also very good.<br />
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In response to kctiger : "I know that many wars have been fought in the name of religion..." Actually, I've been studying world history all my life and I find that only a quite small proportion of wars have been fought in the name of religion, mostly jihads by the Muslims. And even in the most infamous "religious war" in Europe one of the leaders of the "Protestant" side was France! "America gets involved in other countries battles in the name of God..." Actually America's wars have all been very secular. In Iraq the Bush administration deserved to be taken to task for paying relatively little heed to the welfare of the Iraqi Christians.

I so wholeheartedly agree that not all who go to church will go to heaven. In fact, Jesus himself said that; remember in the Bible when he said, "Not all who cry out "lord, Lord' will get into heaven." I think I feel sorrier for those people than I do for atheists. At least an atheist can defend what he believes and has the power of his convictions. But how can someone approach the judgment and say, "Well, no I didn't listen to what the preacher was saying, but I did go to church." It's like a college kid flunking a class and telling the professor, "I don't care if I didn't do the work! I paid for this class so you have to pass me." it just doesn't work.<br />
Oh, I know there are evil people who go to my church... so does God. And that is between God and the evil people. In fact, I am one of the evil people in church. The difference between me and them is that I go to church to pray for forgiveness for my wretched condition, and to ask for the grace to overcome it and become a righteous person. Other people don't seem to see the evil in themselves. <br />
As far as the Bible having been written down long after the events they recorded, to me that is the beauty of the Bible. Don't you see? Archaeologists have unearthed so many places and sites that were so accurately described in the Bible and the Bible was written long after those events occurred. It's too beautiful. The non-Catholic denominations, for the most part, reject any teaching that is not found in Scripture. Yet, the New Testament was preached long before it was written down, so in order to reject Oral Tradition, you would have to reject the Bible. It's just too perfect. <br />
I have to accept the Bible as the word of God, simply because no human being could have written it down from his own mind. It is far too advanced for any genius to have reasoned. Consider how Paul's claim that marriage is a reflection of heaven: Paul wrote about it mostly in first Corinthians. He wrote (paraphrasing) that when a man and a woman are married, they are joined and become one flesh. So it is with the Eucharist. When we receive the Eucharist, we are joined to Christ physically; we become one flesh - we become joined to the mystical body of Christ, which is the church. This is why sex before marriage is a sin, and adultery is a sin. The two must be joined in marriage before they can become one. Our baptism is our marriage to Christ. It is through communion that we become one flesh. It's just too deep for any human being to have come up with on his own. No. It had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. <br />
And why would I believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ? Not only did Christ say so (see Mt. 26:26-29); but Paul could not disagree with him. In 1Cor.11:27-29, where Paul wrote: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood or the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." This could not be so if the bread and the wine were not actually the body and blood of our Lord. <br />
So, you see, this is why Christ said, "Judge not lest ye be judged by your own measure". If I judge the person in the pew to be evil, what evil have I myself done that it might be compared to? Then I have judged myself according to how I judged the person I condemned as evil.<br />
But whether evil or good, I don't concern myself with that, because I am called to church to receive the body and blood of our Lord, through which I may obtain the grace of strength to overcome my own evil...if I but believe that what Christ said was true. Wow! That's all we have to do...believe. It's just too much for me to comprehend. So I just accept it as truth. I have to. I've seen too much with my own eyes to not believe.

have to accept the Bible as the word of God, simply because no human being could have written it down from his own mind.....disagree. in fact arent all thechapters named after the'authors' ?

No, not all the chapters (books, etc. are named after the authors), As Christ works through people to further His kingdom on earth, so does He work through others to put down in writing what is to be said in regard to salvation. A number of years ago, Pope John Paul II said, "It is a sin for a man to lust after his wife". Now, anyone in a long-term relationship knows that lust must be present to some degree in order for the relationship to survive. But to say it is a sin is nearly laughable. But for John the Evangelist to have written in his gospel that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, is not a matter of one's own mind, you see; it is a matter of fact that was witnessed by several people. Within the Vatican Archives are several reports written by Roman soldiers who testified in writing to having seen Jesus alive and quite well...after he had been crucified. Two of the men who testified to it were present at his crucifixion and could positively identify him.

Hello Northguy, I see what you mean and I enjoyed your story, I don't think they proved that the ark in Turkey was the ark in the Bible because of carbon dating, but given the cold temperatures and all I think it could be The Ark.<br />
I also understand rgreener, I don't like hypocrites, I don't believe all people who go to church will be saved, but if you believe in God and try to live a good life without hurting people, I think you will have a greater chance of going to heaven. <br />
I know that many wars have been fought in the name of religion, America gets involved in other countries battles in the name of God and then they want separation of church and state, We're not suppose to have the nativity in front of federal buildings anymore and next they will be taking " In God We Trust " off of federal buildings and off of our paper money. But then the government wants us to sent our young men and women to battle to be slaughtered so we can have freedom. Freedom so I can write this without fear of being imprisoned. Freedom to choose what religion I want to be and attend church, Freedom to read the Bible. Freedom to bare arms, to choose who we want to run our country (even if we don't like them lol). <br />
I don't go to church even thou I did enjoy it when I use to go, I do believe in the Lord and want to believe in the Bible but I think the bible was compiled of stories written down along time after the events happened and it was a verbal account of events. And anytime it's a verbal account there is room for human error. That's why I like the words written in red in the Bible. Have you heard the song "I Believe" by Brooks and Dunn. It mentions the words written in red. I love the words written in read because they are suppose to be the words of Jesus. If I can't sleep at night I will read the Bible because it soothes me.

HHHmmmm. Well I hope you guys are right and at the end of your life the lights do not simply go out.<br />
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However either way live your life for yourself and not for any god.<br />
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I was brought up as a Catholic and have memories of these evil ******* going to church every sunday and taking Confession. Evil people who can do what they like and then confess? Seemed wrong to me.<br />
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I have a Theory that if there is a God he will be a good chap with common sense. People who are nice and kind and think of others will go to "Heaven" regardless of Colour or Creed.<br />
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The others who live a selfish life regardless of being Churchgoers or claiming to be religious should all go to "Hell" whatever that is.<br />
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Just a Theory but living you life being kind to others is my kind of religion.<br />
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You Can keep your Church unless you need that sort of Crutch?<br />
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Best Wishes Rob G

I`m a christian but I feel a whole lot that christianity brought sufferings and pain to my life!