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Michael
09-03-2007, 08:35 AM
(and former Catholic).

Taking the idea from the threads about Hinduism and Judaism, I thought that some of you may have questions about Catholicism or Orthodox Chrisitianity that I can answer. By "Orthodox Christianity" I mean Eastern Orthodoxy, also known as Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc.
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Abdul Fattah
09-03-2007, 01:15 PM
Hi Michael
I'm a bit confused. I received two reports of posts in the "considering Islam" thread by a member who claimed that you were only lying about considering it so you could evangelise your own religion and viewpoints. I defended you from those attacks, and replied to the member in question that it is not our place to judge and that we cannot read other people's thoughts and cannot know other people's intentions. And then I see you starting a thread for the purpose of explaining a certain religion...
Perhaps you care to defend yourself so I don't have to defend in your name again when the previous mentioned member sees this thread and asks me about it.
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Isambard
09-03-2007, 03:21 PM
Originally Posted by Abdul Fattah
Hi Michael
I'm a bit confused. I received two reports of posts in the "considering Islam" thread by a member who claimed that you were only lying about considering it so you could evangelise your own religion and viewpoints. I defended you from those attacks, and replied to the member in question that it is not our place to judge and that we cannot read other people's thoughts and cannot know other people's intentions. And then I see you starting a thread for the purpose of explaining a certain religion...
Perhaps you care to defend yourself so I don't have to defend in your name again when the previous mentioned member sees this thread and asks me about it.
I dont see how him considering Islam would weaken his knowledge about Christian Orthodox and Catholic traditions and philosophy. I think this thread would be helpful for members trying to discern the difference between the varied christian sects.
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Abdul Fattah
09-03-2007, 06:08 PM
It's not a matter of his knowledge on it being weak or stroong. It's about hidden agenda's and being straightforward.
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Michael
09-03-2007, 06:20 PM
Abdul Fathah,
I am certainly not trying to evangelize my own religion. I am actually considering becoming Muslim, and I've been reading the Qur'an. I thought that people might have questions about Orthodox Christianity or Catholicism, the oldest and most misunderstood Christian groups.
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Michael
09-03-2007, 06:21 PM
And no, I don't have hidden agendas.
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rubiesand
09-03-2007, 06:22 PM
How long have you been Orthodox?
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Michael
09-03-2007, 06:30 PM
I am what is known as a catechumen - someone who hasn't been baptized yet but is preparing for it. However, my priest is suffering from cancer at the moment, so he hasn't had time to instruct me, although I have done a lot of reading on my own and know quite a bit about it, sufficient to answer most questions people here might ask - veneration of saints/Mary/icons, etc.
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Kittygyal
09-03-2007, 06:43 PM
Originally Posted by Michael
I'm from Dunedin, New Zealand. It's a small town, one that I'd like to get out of as soon as possible. My priest is called Father Ilyan.

Humm..
Okay are yo a muslim? :?
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Michael
09-04-2007, 12:37 AM
No, I'm not a Muslim, but I'm thinking of converting.
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Isambard
09-04-2007, 01:09 AM
Ive been wondering, what exactly about Catholism is it the other christian groups have a problem with? Like why wont they accept the Pope for example
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snakelegs
09-04-2007, 05:12 AM
i'm interested in the differences between the orthodox and the roman.
do the orthodox believe in original sin?
do they believe mary was a virgin? do they worship her?
do they believe jesus was divine?
what would you say are the important differences? (i don't know much about the roman catholics, but i know even less about the orthodox).
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Michael
09-04-2007, 06:23 AM
The Catholics believe that the Pope is the head of the entire Church and the representative of Jesus Christ on earth. They believe he is infallible when he speaks on faith and morals. According to Canon Law (church law), the Pope cannot be judged by anyone, and in history there have been some corrupt Popes. In the 1500s, Martin Luther saw the corruption in the Papacy, for example, the selling of indulgences (remission of the punishment due to sin) by the church to get money to construct St. Peter's Basilica, and he decided that the church needed reform. So he nailed a list of 95 demands on the door of the local cathedral, and eventually, when the Roman Catholic Church would not accomodate his demands, he founded his own church. The Catholic Church (as does the Orthodox Church) accepts the Bible and Holy Tradition as their sacred sources. However, by the 16th century, Holy Tradition had basically become tied up with the Papacy, so Luther rejected all tradition and proposed "Sola Scriptura" (Scripture only). He also taught "Sola Fide" (salvation by faith alone) - all you had to do was believe in Jesus and you would be saved, as opposed to the Catholic doctrine of merit - good works are necessary for salvation as well. Just about every Protestant denomination today preaches "Salvation by faith alone", even though the Bible says that faith alone does not save in James chapter 2.
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Michael
09-04-2007, 06:46 AM
Orthodox Chrisitans do not believe that all of humankind inherits the guilt of Adam's sin as the Catholics do. We believe in the 'fallen nature' - that Adam, by sinning, has corrupted human nature and we are born into a nature of sin.

Orthodox Christians accept Mary as the ever-Virgin Mother of God. We do not believe that she had other children. The passages that speak of Jesus' "brethren" or "brothers" can have two meanings. 1) Aramaic had no word for 'cousin' so the word 'brother' was used. There are many examples in the Bible where the word 'brother' does not mean actual biological brotherhood. 2) Jesus' "brethren" were St. Joseph's children from a previous marriage. He was an old man when he married Mary, and the marriage was only for security, for Mary was a Temple Virgin. There was to be no sexual relations between them. Orthodox Christians do not worship Mary or believe that she is God. We venerate her as the person that God chose to become incarnate from. We ask her to pray for us before her Son, Jesus Christ our God, in heaven.

Yes, the Orthodox Church does believe that Jesus is divine. The Trinity is a fundamental dogma in Orthodoxy, the rejection of which makes one a heretic. However, the Orthodox believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father only, whereas Catholics and Protestants believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

The main differences between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are:

1) The Papacy - Catholics believe that the Pope is the head of the entire Church, the Orthodox believe that all Bishops are equal and that no Bishop has any power outside of his own jurisdiction. The Pope is a "Super-Bishop" according to the Catholic Church.
2) The procession of the Holy Spirit - Orthodox believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father (which is Scriptural - see John 15:26), while the Catholic Church believes that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. They illicitly added this to the Creed when they had no authority to do so.
3) Married clergy - Catholic priests are required to be celibate. Orthodox priests (but not Bishops) may be married.
4) Hell - the Orthodox Church believes that sinners who hate God will be tormented by being forever in His presence. The Roman Catholic Church believes that hell is a literal place of fire and brimstone.

There are many more differences, and you can read about them here: http://ocab.netfirms.com/romancatholic.htm
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north_malaysian
09-04-2007, 07:29 AM
what are the differences between Coptic Orthodox Church and Greek Orthodox Church?
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Michael
09-04-2007, 08:10 AM
The Greek Orthodox Church is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which includes the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and the Orthodox Church in America. This is the earliest Church, dating back to the time of the Apostles.

The Coptic Orthodox Church are part of the "Oriental Orthodox" Church, along with the Armeian Church, the Syriac Church of Antioch, the British Orthodox Church, and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church of India, of which there is a parish in Kuala Lumpur (I visited it when I was there at the start of the year) The Oriental Orthodox were united with the Eastern Orthodox until the year 451, when the Oriental Orthodox split because they believed in Monophysitism - the belief that Christ has only one nature. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes that Christ has two natures - the nature of man and the nature of God.

The Coptic Orthodox Church developed separately to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and so there are many differences in their rites and rituals. There are also differences between the various Oriental Orthodox Churches - I have visited both a Coptic church and a Malankara church and the services were very different.
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snakelegs
09-04-2007, 08:33 AM
thanks for your reply.
what you describe as being born in to the nature of sin, sounds the same as original sin. :-\ the end result being that mankind is in need of a "sacrifice" to atone?
i didn't know that christians believe that jesus had brothers! (i've never read the new testament.)
will check out the link when i have more time.
was there an orthodox equivalent to the inquisition?
when was the split?
i think other christians pray to god through jesus (right?) - the orthodox pray to jesus through mary? (not sure if i understood that one).
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Michael
09-04-2007, 08:50 AM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
thanks for your reply.
what you describe as being born in to the nature of sin, sounds the same as original sin. :-\ the end result being that mankind is in need of a "sacrifice" to atone?
Yes, but Catholics believe that mankind carried the guilt of Adam and Eve's sin as well. Therefore, there has been much speculation over where babies who die before being baptized go. St. Augustine taught that unbaptized babies go to hell (due to having Adam's sin upon their souls) whereas Thomas Aquinas taught the idea of limbo - unbaptized babies go to a place of natural happiness, but are deprived of seeing God.

was there an orthodox equivalent to the inquisition?
Not that I have heard of.

when was the split?
The official date given is 1054 A.D, but in reality it started a couple of hundred years earlier and was not finally complete till around the 1200s.

i think other christians pray to god through jesus (right?) - the orthodox pray to jesus through mary? (not sure if i understood that one).
The Bible states that there is one mediator between man and God - Jesus Christ. Only He can mediate our salvation, because He became man and died on the Cross for our sins. All Chrisitians believe this. Orthodox Christians pray to God, and we believe that Jesus is God - He is the second person of the Trinity. However, just as we ask people we know to pray for us, we ask Mary and the saints who are in heaven to pray for us as well.
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north_malaysian
09-04-2007, 09:01 AM
Originally Posted by Michael
..and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church of India, of which there is a parish in Kuala Lumpur (I visited it when I was there at the start of the year).
yeah.. I knew that church... the members are descendants of Indian railway workers from the state of Kerala.

p/s: Your Avatar .... is it national Mosque?
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Michael
09-04-2007, 09:39 AM
Yes, it's the Masjid Negara in Kuala Lumpur. I visited KL at the start of the year to visit my girlfriend and her family. I stayed in their house in Petaling Jaya, and we went sightseeing in KL. I visited several mosques there and got my first experience of an Islamic country.
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NoName55
09-04-2007, 01:25 PM
Originally Posted by Michael
........ We believe in the 'fallen nature' - that Adam, by sinning, has corrupted human nature and we are born into a nature of sin.

Orthodox Christians accept Mary as the ever-Virgin Mother of God. We do not believe that she had other children. The passages that speak of Jesus' "brethren" or "brothers" can have two meanings. 1) Aramaic had no word for 'cousin' so the word 'brother' was used. There are many examples in the Bible where the word 'brother' does not mean actual biological brotherhood. 2) Jesus' "brethren" were St. Joseph's children from a previous marriage. He was an old man when he married Mary, and the marriage was only for security, for Mary was a Temple Virgin. There was to be no sexual relations between them. Orthodox Christians do not worship Mary or believe that she is God. We venerate her as the person that God chose to become incarnate from. We ask her to pray for us before her Son, Jesus Christ our God, in heaven.

Yes, the Orthodox Church does believe that Jesus is divine. The Trinity is a fundamental dogma in Orthodoxy, the rejection of which makes one a heretic. However, the Orthodox believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father only, whereas Catholics and Protestants believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

There are many more differences, and you can read about them here: http://ocab.netfirms.com/romancatholic.htm
for the attention of 2 geniuses who deleted speech of Brother Dr. miller and three other (pre-approved by Bros. Qatada and Woodrow) posts from "considering Islam"

one of those two "experts" on strategy even called me a paranoid so and so, and the second one said "posts deleted: Reason: A non-Muslim comes to us to us to learn about Islam and Muslims are demonstrating their ability to argue"

one of the rare occasions when I see that "learning" actually involves teaching

wa salam
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Isambard
09-04-2007, 03:52 PM
Originally Posted by NoName55
for the attention of 2 geniuses who deleted speech of Brother Dr. miller and three other (pre-approved by Bros. Qatada and Woodrow) posts from "considering Islam"

one of those two "experts" on strategy even called me a paranoid so and so, and the second one said "posts deleted: Reason: A non-Muslim comes to us to us to learn about Islam and Muslims are demonstrating their ability to argue"

one of the rare occasions when I see that "learning" actually involves teaching

wa salam
Your dilemma is solved by the simple fact that he said he was considering Islam, meaning not a muslim yet nor indication of how far along the thought process he was into considering abandoning his current faith. It isnt healthy to see demons under every hat.

Micheal, Im wondering how exactly the faith-only groups justify the passage in James 2 you mentioned that you dont need good works to save you. I mean the curent standard for them sounds an awful lot like the earlier idea of gnosis.:hmm:
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NoName55
09-04-2007, 03:55 PM
howdy stalker

I think you can give up on stalking me as I will not address any of your posts
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Michael
09-04-2007, 07:13 PM
Originally Posted by Isambard
Micheal, Im wondering how exactly the faith-only groups justify the passage in James 2 you mentioned that you dont need good works to save you. I mean the curent standard for them sounds an awful lot like the earlier idea of gnosis.:hmm:
They try several ways. They say that "true faith results in true works" and that James 2 is talking about those who say they have faith but have no works. However there are other verses such as Philippians 2:12 "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" that negate this.

Catholics and Orthodox believe that Holy Tradition is also a source of knowledge, and that we must look to the writings of the Church Fathers to see how to interpret Scripture. Protestants believe in "Scripture Alone" - each Protestant reads the Bible for himself and the Holy Spirit will provide the correct interpretation. However, if this was true, then all Protestants would believe the same things, but they don't - hence the reason there are thousands of different Protestant denominations. They all claim to believe the Bible, yet they can't agree on what the Bible actually says.
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Walter
09-04-2007, 08:53 PM
Hi Michael:

We should be clear about the faith and works issue. I believe that the Bible teaches that we are saved by our faith in God’s grace. You must be aware that the scriptures state “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9) If we were saved by works also, then there would be room for boasting in this regard.

Now of course works are important - in their context. James gives the example of a man hungry and destitute and .. actually, I should let James tell it himself.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:13-17) Do you see what James said “Thus also ..” So that is the context.

So where does our works fit in? Well Paul tells us about wood, hay and straw … actually Paul can do a better job of explaining it.

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Cor 3:11-15)

So the Bible teaches that salvation is by trusting in Jesus but then we work and receive a reward. However, no work, no reward, but saved “yet so as through fire”.

Best regards on your search for truth.
Grenville
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Michael
09-04-2007, 11:12 PM
Grenville,

Thanks for that. It seems a very good explanation.

Are you a Protestant? In the Orthodox Church, we don't believe in Scripture Alone. We believe in Holy Tradition as well (2 Thessalonians 2:15) and the teachings of the Holy Church Fathers.
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Walter
09-05-2007, 10:38 PM
Hi Michael:

I am simply a follower of the Way. I believe that the Bible contains the Word of God and should be read in a common sense sort of way. The Word of God would then include words referenced to God by the prophets whether directly or by visions. They also include words spoken by Jesus. The remainder is opinion and narration which is very valuable, even for instruction – but can be fallible.

Having read the Qur’an quite a few times, I believe that Mohammed was God’s prophet to call the Ishmaelites back to Himself, much like God sent prophets to the Israelites. Remember, God said that He would make both of them great nations. Regrettably, Christian tradition and Islamic tradition have kept Christians and Muslims apart for the past 1300 years.

We seem to have forgotten that Israelites, Ishmaelites, and Christians all have the same stated objective, to have a personal relationship with the God of their common patriarch Abraham. As has become typical, such a relationship is normally frustrated by religious leaders who see their role as one of controller rather than facilitator. Both the Israelite prophets, Jesus, and Mohammed expressed anger at such people.

Regards,
Grenville
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Isambard
09-05-2007, 11:14 PM
Originally Posted by Grenville
Hi Michael:
Regards,
Grenville
He do you reconcile the differences in scripture between the two texts? As far as I am aware, both say the other is false.
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Michael
09-06-2007, 02:48 AM
I don't know if the two can be reconciled. An Orthodox lady I've talked to told me that the Qur'an is from the devil, but some Orthodox may have a more liberal view on it. St. John of Damascus wrote a treatise on Islam, but I haven't read it.
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Sarada
09-06-2007, 02:55 AM
Salaam Michael,

What is the meaning of the orthodox service at our ancestors' graveside after Easter?
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north_malaysian
09-06-2007, 03:28 AM
Originally Posted by Grenville
I believe that Mohammed was God’s prophet to call the Ishmaelites back to Himself,
Do Christians allowed to say this under Christian laws?:?
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Michael
09-06-2007, 03:30 AM
The specific festival that you referred to is known as Radonitsa. It occurs on the eighth or ninth day after Pascha (Easter). After the Divine Liturgy, the priest will serve a pannikhida (service for the dead)in the church after which he will bless the paschal foods that the faithful have brought with them. The clergy, with incense and candles, will then go in procession with the cross, followed by the faithful, to visit the graves of departed believers either in churchyards or in cemeteries. At the graves, paschal hymns are chanted together with the usual litanies for the departed, concluding with the moving "Memory Eternal" (Viechnaia pamiat).

The service for the dead is called a mnimosyno in Greek or a pannikhida in Slavonic. It can either be served at the person's graveside or in the church. When an Orthodox Christian dies, a pannikhida is usually served on the:

Third day after death
Ninth day after death
Fortieth day after death
One-year anniversary of death
Three-year anniversary of death(some will request a memorial every year on the anniversary of death).

The service has three purposes: 1) To pray for the repose of the person's soul; 2) To comfort the living left behind; and 3) To remind the living of their own mortality and the shortness of this life.
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Sarada
09-06-2007, 11:02 AM
Originally Posted by Michael
The specific festival that you referred to is known as Radonitsa. It occurs on the eighth or ninth day after Pascha (Easter). After the Divine Liturgy, the priest will serve a pannikhida (service for the dead)in the church after which he will bless the paschal foods that the faithful have brought with them. The clergy, with incense and candles, will then go in procession with the cross, followed by the faithful, to visit the graves of departed believers either in churchyards or in cemeteries. At the graves, paschal hymns are chanted together with the usual litanies for the departed, concluding with the moving "Memory Eternal" (Viechnaia pamiat).

The service for the dead is called a mnimosyno in Greek or a pannikhida in Slavonic. It can either be served at the person's graveside or in the church. When an Orthodox Christian dies, a pannikhida is usually served on the:

Third day after death
Ninth day after death
Fortieth day after death
One-year anniversary of death
Three-year anniversary of death(some will request a memorial every year on the anniversary of death).

The service has three purposes: 1) To pray for the repose of the person's soul; 2) To comfort the living left behind; and 3) To remind the living of their own mortality and the shortness of this life.

Salaam Michael,

The Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Radonitsa services which I have attended have always included offering some of the Paschal foods to the departed, and leaving them beside the headstone for the departed to enjoy. The family members will also partake of the Paschal foods, and share them with the other mourners. This will be repeated at each grave site. The foods consist of a special bread (Kulich, marked with the sign of the cross), a sweet pressed cottage cheese mixture (pascha), Easter eggs dyed red with beet juice, salt, ham and/or sausage, horseradish coloured red with beet juice.

This is one of the most beautiful and moving rituals that I have had the good fortune to participate in.

What is the meaning of each of the foods, and how they are prepared?
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doodlebug
09-06-2007, 12:33 PM
Michael,

When you say you are considering Islam, what exactly is holding you back? I ask because I converted to Islam from Catholicism (was a member of christianforums btw ;) ) last year Sep4 (just had my 1 yr anniversary :D ) and it was helpful to me to discuss the blocking point with others on this and several other forums.

Also what helped me was to visit a mosque in my area and to talk face to face with a muslim woman so that it put a bit of reality into the situation.

Good luck in whatever you decide!
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Walter
09-06-2007, 05:20 PM
Hi Isambard:

You wrote:
Originally Posted by Isambard
He do you reconcile the differences in scripture between the two texts? As far as I am aware, both say the other is false.
Clearly you have read neither (please do not misinterpret this to be an insult). The Bible was written centuries before the Qur'an, and the Qur'an specifies that Muslims must believe the books that came before which are included in the Bible.

They are verses in the Qur'an which have been interpreted to be in conflict with the Bible and recorded history. However, they can also be interpreted to be in harmony with the scriptures and recorded history without damaging the integrity of the verses.

It is normal for persons to feel comfort and security in the interpretation that they first heard - even if it is a misinterpretation. History has shown that it takes great effort to get persons to even look at another perspective or another interpretation. It takes even greater effort to get them to consider it.

Regards,
Grenville
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doodlebug
09-06-2007, 05:51 PM
Originally Posted by Grenville
Hi Isambard:

You wrote:
Clearly you have read neither (please do not misinterpret this to be an insult). The Bible was written centuries before the Qur'an, and the Qur'an specifies that Muslims must believe the books that came before which are included in the Bible.
Could you please cite where in the Quran this is written?


Originally Posted by Grenville
They are verses in the Qur'an which have been interpreted to be in conflict with the Bible and recorded history. However, they can also be interpreted to be in harmony with the scriptures and recorded history without damaging the integrity of the verses.
I don't quite understand these two sentences. They seem to contradict themselves. The verses in the Bible which are in harmony with those in the Quran are those from the Gospel of Q, which are the verses that are in each gospel of the bible that actually agree with each other. I don't have my notes here but if you'd like I could quote several and show you how they compare to the Quran.

What I do know is that there are many contradictory verses in the four gospels.

Originally Posted by Grenville
It is normal for persons to feel comfort and security in the interpretation that they first heard - even if it is a misinterpretation. History has shown that it takes great effort to get persons to even look at another perspective or another interpretation. It takes even greater effort to get them to consider it.
indeed! :D
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Walter
09-06-2007, 05:51 PM
Hi North:

You wrote:
Originally Posted by north_malaysian
Do Christians allowed to say this under Christian laws?:?
There are two principal Christian Laws which are the same as for the Israelites:
1. The Lord is One, and we should love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.
2. We should love our neighbour as ourselves.

Now, most Christians will not acknowledge Mohammed as a Prophet, and they do not need to. The reason why they will not acknowledge Mohammed as a Prophet is through ignorance - they simply will not read the Qur'an, and they are not required to.

After reading the Qur'an and realizing that the contentious verses can be interpreted to be in harmony with the Bible and with recorded history, without damaging the integrity of the verses, I believe that Muslims who truly followed the Qur'an, and not Islamic tradition, are my brothers and sisters.

Michael, I'm sorry if my replies are off topic - I do not want to change the aim of your thread.

Regards,
Grenville
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Walter
09-06-2007, 05:54 PM
Hi Doodlebug:

As requested.

4:136 - O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denieth Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray.

Regards,
Grenville
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Sarada
09-06-2007, 06:48 PM
Can we get back to the original topic on this thread? whilst the discussions between Grenville and Doodlebug are fascinating, I don't see any connection between them and Catholicism and Greek/Russian Orthodoxy.
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Grace Seeker
09-06-2007, 10:55 PM
Originally Posted by Sarada
Can we get back to the original topic on this thread? whilst the discussions between Grenville and Doodlebug are fascinating, I don't see any connection between them and Catholicism and Greek/Russian Orthodoxy.
Ditto




(And also this note: Even as I consider Muslims, Christians and Jews to all be worshipping the same God and thus we should treat one another as brothers, please add me to the growing list of those who would have trouble reconciling the Isa of the Qur'an and the Jesus of the Bible, and while that would be my biggest issue, there are many more. But I don't think that discussion belongs in this thread.)


A few questions I do want to put to Michael --
Michael, you said you were raised Catholic, are waiting to be baptized in the Orthodox church, and are thinking of converting to Islam. It sounds like you are having trouble settling and are on some sort of spiritual search.

First, what may I ask, have you found lacking in (apparently both) Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity?
I ask, because so often when I meet someone who is on the verge of rejecting their Christian faith, when they share with me what it is that they don't like about it, I'm amazed at what they understand themselves to be rejecting. I think to myself, if that is what I had understood Christianity was all about, I think I would have rejected it too.

Also, if I understood you right you were raised Catholic, so I would assume that you were probably baptized as an infant. Is this true? And if so, why does the Orthodox church expect for you to be baptized again? Do they not recognize Catholic baptism as being valid?
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NoName55
09-07-2007, 12:14 AM
Originally Posted by Sarada
Can we get back to the original topic on this thread? whilst the discussions between Grenville and Doodlebug are fascinating, I don't see any connection between them and Catholicism and Greek/Russian Orthodoxy.
I bet it is scaring the living daylights out of pagans, kuffaar and other shayateen that Jews, Christian and Muslims may one day realise that they are all followers of Hazrat Ibrahim Alaisalam.

and it does no "good" to let people like Br. Granville speak, who could unite them by their talk.

demons want blood of man not his salvation.
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Sarada
09-07-2007, 02:23 AM
Originally Posted by NoName55
Originally Posted by Sarada
Can we get back to the original topic on this thread? whilst the discussions between Grenville and Doodlebug are fascinating, I don't see any connection between them and Catholicism and Greek/Russian Orthodoxy.
I bet it is scaring the living daylights out of pagans, kuffaar and other shayateen that Jews, Christian and Muslims may one day realise that they are all followers of Hazrat Ibrahim Alaisalam.

and it does no "good" to let people like Br. Granville speak, who could unite them by their talk.

demons want blood of man not his salvation.

Whatever you wish to call me, none of you is "scaring the living daylights out of" me.

I have witnessed more vitriol ( vitriol - abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will) against those of other faiths on this forum in one month, than I have in decades within the Canadian Hindu community.

If these are examples of your concept of civilised debate, they are laughable. :lol:
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north_malaysian
09-07-2007, 08:29 AM
Originally Posted by Grenville
Hi North:

You wrote:
There are two principal Christian Laws which are the same as for the Israelites:
1. The Lord is One, and we should love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.
2. We should love our neighbour as ourselves.

Now, most Christians will not acknowledge Mohammed as a Prophet, and they do not need to. The reason why they will not acknowledge Mohammed as a Prophet is through ignorance - they simply will not read the Qur'an, and they are not required to.

After reading the Qur'an and realizing that the contentious verses can be interpreted to be in harmony with the Bible and with recorded history, without damaging the integrity of the verses, I believe that Muslims who truly followed the Qur'an, and not Islamic tradition, are my brothers and sisters.

Michael, I'm sorry if my replies are off topic - I do not want to change the aim of your thread.

Regards,
Grenville
* Off Topic*
(Sorry for hijacking this thread:zip:)

Maybe you shoud start a new thread about this.

* Off Topic*
Reply

Michael
09-07-2007, 12:22 PM
Sarada,

The foods prepared for Radonitsa are mainly folk customs. One of the foods also served at Radonitsa and often at pannikhida as well is koliva, which is boiled wheat.


Orthodox Christians consider koliva to be the symbolic of death and resurrection, according to the words of the Gospel:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24)

Wheat which is planted in the earth and rises in new life is symbolic of those beloved departed who have died in the hope of resurrection, in accordance with the words of St. Paul
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body....(I Corinthians 15:42-44)
This symbolism has its highest expression in the Saints, whose blessed state in heaven have been manifested to the world. For this reason, koliva is blessed not only at memorials for the departed, but also in commemoration of saints.

The red Orthodox Easter eggs have a threefold significance. The red colour represents the blood of Christ, its shell his three-day entombment, and its breaking his Resurrection.

As for the other foods, I really don't know the significance. Like I said, they are folk customs, and I'm not Greek or Russian.
Reply

Michael
09-07-2007, 12:43 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
A few questions I do want to put to Michael --
Michael, you said you were raised Catholic, are waiting to be baptized in the Orthodox church, and are thinking of converting to Islam. It sounds like you are having trouble settling and are on some sort of spiritual search.
I wasn't brought up Roman Catholic - I was baptized in October 2005 as an adult. My parents didn't practice any religion - my father actually refused to let my mother have me baptized (in the Presbyterian church).

First, what may I ask, have you found lacking in (apparently both) Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity?
One of the main reasons that I left the Roman Catholic Church was the mutilation of the Mass. The Mass that the Catholic Church used for hundreds of years is quite different to the Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Pope Paul's Mass made the Mass closer to a Protestant service (which was his intention). While a few groups resisted and used only the old Mass (and some bishops permitted the old Mass to be celebrated once a month, as does our bishop) most of the Catholic world uses the New Mass, which often is devoid of much spirituality found in the traditional Mass. Where I live, a traditional Mass was only available twice a month, and so, I began to look into Orthodoxy. I got a book from the library about it, and reading it convinced me that the Orthodox Church is right and that the Catholic Church was wrong.

As for what I find lacking in Orthodoxy - I didn't find anything lacking in it until I talked to Muslims at Islam Awareness Week (I had previously considered becoming Muslim a couple of years ago but had pulled out, and since then had read lots of anti-Islamic material) I began to read about Islam, and it occured to me that this might be the truth. The Trinity seems sort of illogical to me, as does the divinity of Christ, when there are verses that state that Christ was just a man. I especially like the fact that in Islam, you can have your sins forgiven by repentance, prayers and saying 100 times "Subhan Allahi wa Bihamdihi". In Orthodox Christianity, in order to have your sins forgiven you must go to a priest, confess your sins to God in the priest's presence before an Icon (holy picture) of Jesus Christ, and then have the priest pray the prayer of absolution over you. Also, converts to Orthodoxy must wait a certain amount of time before being baptized. The priest will decide when you want to be baptized. In Islam, you can convert whenever you want. My Orthodox friend in Canada told me that your prayers aren't as powerful until you're baptized. Why, then, is the Church and the priest depriving you of the full benefit of prayer?

Also, if I understood you right you were raised Catholic, so I would assume that you were probably baptized as an infant. Is this true? And if so, why does the Orthodox church expect for you to be baptized again? Do they not recognize Catholic baptism as being valid?
As I explained above, I was baptized as an infant.

Some modernist Orthodox churches accept Catholic baptism as being valid, but this runs contrary to Orthodox tradition. The word "baptizein" in Greek means "to immerse". Orthodox baptize by full immersion in water three times. Catholics usually baptize by pouring water over the person's head. How is pouring water over someone's head an "immersion"? It isn't. Plus the Orthodox Church says that there are no Sacraments (holy mysteries, of which baptism is one) outside of the Orthodox Church, and that the Roman Catholics do not have a valid priesthood.

You can read my full story on my blog.

But this isn't the purpose of this thread. This thread is to answer questions that people have about Catholicism or Orthodox Christianity.
Reply

Grace Seeker
09-07-2007, 01:48 PM
Originally Posted by Michael
As for what I find lacking in Orthodoxy.... I especially like the fact that in Islam, you can have your sins forgiven by repentance, prayers and saying 100 times "Subhan Allahi wa Bihamdihi". In Orthodox Christianity, in order to have your sins forgiven you must go to a priest, confess your sins to God in the priest's presence before an Icon (holy picture) of Jesus Christ, and then have the priest pray the prayer of absolution over you. Also, converts to Orthodoxy must wait a certain amount of time before being baptized. The priest will decide when you want to be baptized. In Islam, you can convert whenever you want. My Orthodox friend in Canada told me that your prayers aren't as powerful until you're baptized. Why, then, is the Church and the priest depriving you of the full benefit of prayer?
There are of course many Christians who believe that they can go directly to God without the mediation of a priest because Christ is our intercessor. They then ask for forgivenss simply by confessiing their sins, repenting of them, and ask for the Holy Spirit to help keep them from returning to them. Would the Orthodox church, as you have experienced it, claim that such repentance was not a true form of repentance.

Also, my understanding was that all forms of Christianity viewed grace as something that was God's gift to humanity, not something that could be earned by doing the right thing or saying the right words. In suggesting that one could gain forgiveness by saying 100 times "Subhan Allahi wa Bihamdihi" are you saying that you don't agree with the Christian concept of grace or are you saying that you think this fits within the Orthodox view?




Some modernist Orthodox churches accept Catholic baptism as being valid, but this runs contrary to Orthodox tradition. The word "baptizein" in Greek means "to immerse". Orthodox baptize by full immersion in water three times. Catholics usually baptize by pouring water over the person's head. How is pouring water over someone's head an "immersion"? It isn't.
It might then surprise you to learn that the word [i]baptizo[/b] was used for washing things that were merely dipped in water and not necessarily fully immersed. How might this information change your understanding of baptism?

I'm not saying the immersion is wrong, but would this other information perhaps lend credence to other forms of baptism? For instance, the earliest drawings of baptisms show that often a shell was used to dip water from a river or lake which was then poured over the baptized individual's head.



Plus the Orthodox Church says that there are no Sacraments (holy mysteries, of which baptism is one) outside of the Orthodox Church, and that the Roman Catholics do not have a valid priesthood.
I know that there is quite a bit of bad blood between the Orthodox and the Catholic churches in history. But you had earlier said: "Catholics believe that the Pope is the head of the entire Church, the Orthodox believe that all Bishops are equal and that no Bishop has any power outside of his own jurisdiction." How can the Orthodox see all bishops as being equal and yet not recognize the validity of the Catholic priests who are ordained by their bishops? These two things seem to be in disagreement with each other. Are you sure that you properly understand the Orthodox view on this?
Reply

Michael
09-08-2007, 01:57 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
There are of course many Christians who believe that they can go directly to God without the mediation of a priest because Christ is our intercessor. They then ask for forgivenss simply by confessiing their sins, repenting of them, and ask for the Holy Spirit to help keep them from returning to them. Would the Orthodox church, as you have experienced it, claim that such repentance was not a true form of repentance.
Sincere repentance to God for your sins in prayer is a true form of repentance, but it cannot absolve sin. To be absolved from your sins you must go to a priest, confess your sins to God in the priest's presence, and have the priest pray the prayer of absolution over you.

Also, my understanding was that all forms of Christianity viewed grace as something that was God's gift to humanity, not something that could be earned by doing the right thing or saying the right words. In suggesting that one could gain forgiveness by saying 100 times "Subhan Allahi wa Bihamdihi" are you saying that you don't agree with the Christian concept of grace or are you saying that you think this fits within the Orthodox view?
Orthodox do believe that grace is a free gift. But read the post above. Sins cannot be absolved except through the prayer of absolution said by a priest. Of course you should always ask God's forgivness for your sins.

It might then surprise you to learn that the word [i]baptizo[/b] was used for washing things that were merely dipped in water and not necessarily fully immersed. How might this information change your understanding of baptism?
I study ancient Greek at university. The Orthodox Church, however, has existed since the time of the Apostles, and it has always practiced baptism by thrice immersion, except where this would be impossible.

I know that there is quite a bit of bad blood between the Orthodox and the Catholic churches in history. But you had earlier said: "Catholics believe that the Pope is the head of the entire Church, the Orthodox believe that all Bishops are equal and that no Bishop has any power outside of his own jurisdiction." How can the Orthodox see all bishops as being equal and yet not recognize the validity of the Catholic priests who are ordained by their bishops? These two things seem to be in disagreement with each other. Are you sure that you properly understand the Orthodox view on this?
The Orthodox Church sees the Catholic Church as schismatic since the Great Schism which culminated in 1054 A.D. The Catholic Bishops, therefore, are not part of the Church, they have no apostolic succession, and any sacraments they perform are not valid, including the Sacrament of Holy Orders (ordaining priests). Therefore, any priests ordained by Catholic bishops since the schism have not been priests at all, and their sacraments are not valid.
Reply

Grace Seeker
09-08-2007, 02:05 PM
Originally Posted by Michael
Sincere repentance to God for your sins in prayer is a true form of repentance, but it cannot absolve sin. To be absolved from your sins you must go to a priest, confess your sins to God in the priest's presence, and have the priest pray the prayer of absolution over you.
How then does the Orthodox church understand 1 John 1:9 -- "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Is it the opinion of the church that unless a priest is present, that such confession to God is not valid? If so, does that not limit God? If not, then how could it be that such confession which results in the forgiveness of sins and purification from all unrighteousness would some leave sins unabsolved?



Orthodox do believe that grace is a free gift. But read the post above. Sins cannot be absolved except through the prayer of absolution said by a priest. Of course you should always ask God's forgivness for your sins.
You might be able to guess from my questions, that I don't believe that understanding to be correct. Rather, I believe what you said earlier in this thread: "The Bible states that there is one mediator between man and God - Jesus Christ." For that reason, I don't think I need a priest (Catholic or Orthodox) to hear my confession. Not that there is something wrong in confessing to one another as well, but I don't need to do so formally in order for God to grant me his grace. And his grace is all the absolution I need.

But how about you? One of the reasons you gave for expressing an interest in Islam was because "[you] especially like the fact that in Islam, you can have your sins forgiven by repentance, prayers and saying 100 times "Subhan Allahi wa Bihamdihi"." Is it that you disagree with Orthodox (and for that matter Catholic) theology regarding the role of the priest vs. God in imputing grace? Or is it that you want a sort of works righteousness whereby you can do certain prescribed acts in order to obtain God's favor?



I study ancient Greek at university. The Orthodox Church, however, has existed since the time of the Apostles, and it has always practiced baptism by thrice immersion, except where this would be impossible.
Very good. I really enjoyed my Greek studies. Since you're studying it, then you were probably already aware of what I shared about the common usages of baptizo.

Yes, I am awarethat the Orthodox church has practiced baptism by immersion for many years, but I don't think that any of us can really say that it has always been practiced that way unless we were always present. Of course, I do appreciate the symbolism imbuded in the sacrament when performed by immersion. It is my preferred mode as well. I just don't think it is the only mode ordained as acceptable. Truly, one must make sense out of first century drawings which show baptizm being done by pouring water on the head from a shell. And why would the sign of a scallop shell with water dripping from it have been used as a symbol to communicate baptism if baptisms were never done by that means?


The Orthodox Church sees the Catholic Church as schismatic since the Great Schism which culminated in 1054 A.D. The Catholic Bishops, therefore, are not part of the Church, they have no apostolic succession, and any sacraments they perform are not valid, including the Sacrament of Holy Orders (ordaining priests). Therefore, any priests ordained by Catholic bishops since the schism have not been priests at all, and their sacraments are not valid.
And yet, there are conversations between the Orthodox and the Catholic churches to perhaps heal this schism. How would the Orthodox do that. Would they have all of the Catholic priests "re-ordained"? From an Orthodox point of view, as you expressed it, not even the Pope is a valid priest. And I am confused how then it would be that the Orthodox would say, as you did earlier, that "all Bishops are equal". Or are the Orthodox saying that the Pope today is not in fact a true bishop of the Church any longer?
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Michael
09-08-2007, 03:46 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
How then does the Orthodox church understand 1 John 1:9 -- "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Is it the opinion of the church that unless a priest is present, that such confession to God is not valid? If so, does that not limit God? If not, then how could it be that such confession which results in the forgiveness of sins and purification from all unrighteousness would some leave sins unabsolved?
The Orthodox teaching is that we are bound by the sacraments, but God is not. God admitted the Good Thief to Paradise without baptism, because it was physically impossible for him to receive it. If we cannot get to a priest for confession, and we sincerely repent of our sins and ask God's forgivness, then He will forgive us, provided we have the intention to confess at the next possible opportunity.

Or is it that you want a sort of works righteousness whereby you can do certain prescribed acts in order to obtain God's favor?
That seems about right.

Yes, I am awarethat the Orthodox church has practiced baptism by immersion for many years, but I don't think that any of us can really say that it has always been practiced that way unless we were always present. Of course, I do appreciate the symbolism imbuded in the sacrament when performed by immersion. It is my preferred mode as well. I just don't think it is the only mode ordained as acceptable. Truly, one must make sense out of first century drawings which show baptizm being done by pouring water on the head from a shell. And why would the sign of a scallop shell with water dripping from it have been used as a symbol to communicate baptism if baptisms were never done by that means?
Baptism by pouring is mentioned in the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, considered for inclusion in the Bible), but only when immersion is not possible. In an area where large amounts of water were not possible, then pouring would have been used, hence the drawings.

And yet, there are conversations between the Orthodox and the Catholic churches to perhaps heal this schism. How would the Orthodox do that.
The schism will never be healed. No matter what some liberals say, there are far too many differences separating us to allow a reunification. We would never accept the Pope as the sole representative of Christ on earth, with the power to speak infallibly, and the Pope wouldn't give up that position. Plus, each side considers the other side to be in schism (and heresy) after 1054. Either 1) the Orthodox post-schism saints would have to be rejected and the Catholic saints retained, 2) the Catholic post-schism saints would have to be rejected and the Orthodox saints retained, or 3) All saints, both Catholic and Orthodox, after 1054, would have to be rejected. I can't see the Orthodox giving up St. Nektarios or St. Seraphim, and I can't see the Catholics giving up St. Francis of Assisi or St. Anthony of Padua.

And I am confused how then it would be that the Orthodox would say, as you did earlier, that "all Bishops are equal". Or are the Orthodox saying that the Pope today is not in fact a true bishop of the Church any longer?
All Orthodox Bishops are equal. No Orthodox Bishop has any power that other Bishops don't have. However, the Pope is not an Orthodox Bishop, since his church has been out of commuion with us for almost 1,000 years. The Roman Catholics have lost apostolic succession through schism. (Apostolic succession - the continuation of the Church through the Apostles appointing and consecrating successors to themselves. The successors are Bishops.)
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Grace Seeker
09-08-2007, 04:42 PM
Originally Posted by Michael
originally posted by Grace Seeker
Or is it that you want a sort of works righteousness whereby you can do certain prescribed acts in order to obtain God's favor?

That seems about right.

Michael, I suppose that this is not about Orthodox or Catholic beliefs, but your own, and so maybe I'm going off topic. And if too personal, please forgive me, but you understand that this isn't the way God works.

We don't do certain things, say certain words, perform certain rituals and then tell God to bless it or to bless us. We seek God first, submit our will to him, and then live in his blessings. And when we fall short of what he wills for our lives, again it isn't about what mankind does to earn God's favor. The best we can hope for is to return to serving God again like we should have, and seek his forgiveness in faith and trust that he will grant it. I believe that those who have made a connection to God through Christ Jesus are assured of the forgiveness by the promises of God. As for others, I will not speculate one way or the other. I only hold out the hope that because God is indeed gracious that they may experience it as well, but no saying of a few rote words is going to guarantee that, it will be only, it can be only, an act of God's own choosing.
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