Search Results for catholic
Contemporary Catholics believe that the Catholic faith follows the authentic teachings of Christ as given to the apostles and recorded in scripture, these teachings being preserved, present and developed through a legitimate and holy apostolic tradition.
Catholics comprise the single largest body of religious believers on the planet, and about half of all Christians.
The Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches together form the “Catholic Church”, or “Roman Catholic Church”, the world’s largest single religious body and the largest Christian church, comprising over half of all Christians (1.1 billion Christians of 2.1 billion) and nearly one-sixth of the world’s population.¹
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The term “Catholic” (Greek: katholikos = universal) was initially applied to the Christian Church by St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 100 CE) in a letter to the Church at Smyrna:
Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church.
The term became widely used to denote both clergy and lay members of the Christian Church. In the 4th-century CE St. Pacianus writes
Christian is my name; Catholic is my surname.
Today it refers to any member of the Roman Catholic Church. However, the following shows some of the complications around this term.
The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, and some Methodists believe that their churches are “Catholic” in the sense that they are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles. However, each church defines the scope of the “Catholic Church” differently. For instance, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches each maintain that their own denomination is identical with the original universal church, from which all other denominations broke away.¹
Some materialistic psychologists and sociologists view this in terms of a kind of individual and cultural relativity. In other words, all the churches are both right and wrong in that their supremacist claims give adherents a sense of personal meaning and social belonging (each person and group according to their unique profiles). But all the churches are essentially wrong because God and the afterlife don’t exist. And even if God did exist, such a being wouldn’t favor one path over others.
Others believe that God surely does exist, and God’s truth doesn’t stoop to psychological or postmodern style theories. So one Church is right and all the others are wrong.
A third way of looking at the problem sees some spiritual truth in each Church but also cultural biases. These spiritual truths are not necessarily the same, conceptually or experientially. For instance, a Catholic entering an Orthodox church might intellectually balk at theological differences over, say, the filioque.² They may also feel a spiritual presence, but the numinosity might not be of the same quality as experienced within the Catholic Church (and vice versa, with the Orthodox believer entering into a Catholic church). In this way of understanding, one path is right for one type of person, while another path is right for another type of person. Accordingly, one path to salvation is not necessarily better than another. Just as a frog likes a pond, a bird likes the air.
And yet a fourth way of seeing the issue is to say that one path is, in fact, closer to ultimate truth than the others but still contains cultural bias and is, therefore, imperfect.
This last way seems to be the way of the Catholic Church in the 21st century. Catholics are taught that other religions may contain elements of truth, but the Catholic Church is the best expression of God’s mysterious being, creation and plan of salvation—even if the Catholic Church’s articulation of belief remains imperfect by virtue of our human limitations.
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David Bowie (1947 -) is a British musician, record producer, arranger, actor and visual artist. Originally David Jones, apparently he changed his surname to avoid confusion with the popular Monkee of the time, Davey Jones.
Most would agree that Bowie is in a rare league of iconic rockers, including the likes of Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Madonna and Elton John.
His best music synthesizes existing idioms to create something fresh and often exploratory. And because of his considerable talent, his musical explorations rarely go off the grid.
Bowie the philosopher, if you like, also takes us to new dimensions often passed over by status quo thinkers. His song “Starman” (1972) ponders the idea of extraterrestrial life and its potential impact on humanity.
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
And in “Loving the Alien” (1984) he sings:
Believing the strangest things
loving the alien…
Meanwhile, Black Tie White Noise (1993) looks to the meeting of spirit and the body, a topic that sometimes scares away so-called intellectuals who think they’re smart but really are quite narrow-minded:
Where the flesh meets
the spirit world
Where the traffic is thin…
You’ve been around
but you’ve changed me
In Bowie’s heyday the press often depicted him as “going away” from this world into some kind of creative journey and then “returning” whenever he produced a hit single.
There might be some psychological truth to this, as found in “Little Wonder” (1997):
Enter Galactic, see me to be you
It’s all in the tablets, Sneezy Bhutan
Little wonder then, little wonder
You little wonder, little wonder you…
Sending me so far away,
so far away…
Not unlike the Hindu Shiva-Shakti dyad, Bowie plunged into cross-dressing before this was considered chic in the music industry.
But there’s more to Bowie than meets the eye. Connecting him to religion and spirituality is far from spurious, considering his interest in parapsychology, as found in “Sound and Vision” (1977):
Don’t you wonder sometimes
‘Bout sound and vision…
I will sit right down,
Waiting for the gift of sound and vision
Within Asian systems paranormal abilities are known as siddhis, and in Catholic mysticism those which come from God are called called interior locutions, insights, perceptions and private revelations.
Bowie himself, however, is often critical of organized religion, as expressed in this chant from The Buddha of Suburbia (1993), released several years before the Catholic sex-abuse lawsuits hit the media:
Sex and the church
Sex and the church
Sex and the church
And the church
And the church
Bowie might someday be regarded not just as a musician but as a visionary or futurist. Considering the looming global water crisis the following scenario from “Looking for Water” (2003) doesn’t seem too far off:
Silver leaves are spinning round
Take my hand as we
go down and down
Looking for water…
I’m looking for water
Looking for water
I’m looking for water
Looking for water…
Pythagoras linked musical harmony to cosmic order, while Orpheus used his lyre to wrest his wife Eurydice from the underworld lord of death, Cerberus. But like Lot’s wife, and against a dire warning not to look back while escaping, Orpheus foolishly cast a glance backward, losing Eurydice forever.
This story speaks to the wisdom of accepting and trusting in the future, an idea summed up in Bowie’s tune, “Changes” (1971):
Turn and face the strange
ch ch changes…
time may change me
but I can’t trace time
Bowie has also ventured into acting and composing soundtracks for film and video games. For some time he hosted a lively, free internet forum called “Discourse” at davidbowie.com, which now charges membership fees.
Although criticized for being cheap when it comes to charity, Bowie replies
I can never make my mind up, I’m so f***ing flippy floppy. I can see both sides of everything and it’s really awful. Source » “DAVID BOWIE – BOWIE’S CHARITY STRUGGLES” at contactmusic.com
Cheap or not, for his considerable import as an artist he was awarded the 2008 Andromeda Award at earthpages.org.
Around 2004 Bowie suffered a heart attack and underwent emergency surgery. Since then he’s understandably kept a low profile, appearing here and there, and endorsing his son’s 2009 “Moon” movie.
All that changed when on his 66th birthday he released a new album, The Next Day (2013). Keeping true to form, one of his videos for the record upset the Catholic League. And so far it’s the fastest-selling album of 2013.
Other interesting things about Bowie:
- he was offered but declined a knighthood
- his actual religious views remain somewhat mysterious
- he just wants to make records now (and not give concerts)
- he’s apparently vowed never to do public interviews again
Earthpages.org’s Very First 2008 Andromeda Award!
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Hieronymus Bosch (Originally Jerome van Aken, 1450-1516) was a Catholic Painter from the Netherlands born in Hertogenbosch. Later in life he was suspected of heresy, which is not surprising, considering the times and the nature of much of his work.
Bosch’s depictions of demons and hell are horridly convincing, perhaps enough to compel some of the most hardened of sinners to repent and pray.
The contemporary treatment of Bosch’s work is illustrative. Prestigious art galleries display his frightening and gruesome representations without any public protest while fundamentalist and conservative religious persons point to the alleged debauchery and danger in rock and rap music videos, seeing these as indicative of a decline in cultural morality.
This arguably is a form of hypocrisy and, perhaps, racism against black rappers. In any case, it illustrates how societies, or certain aspects of a given society, can be arbitrary and selective when pointing the proverbial finger.
Many people don’t realize that representing evil doesn’t necessarily mean that an artist (or writer) advocates evil. In fact, C. G. Jung argued the opposite. Jung believed that evil left unrepresented or “swept under the rug” just reemerges in equally disgusting forms—a point that many religious persons and pillars of society sometimes overlook.¹
Among Bosch’s most popular works are The Garden of Earthly Delights (in the Prado) and the Temptation of St Anthony (at Lisbon). Bosch also had a noticeable impact on Surrealism.
Interestingly enough, there’s ongoing debate over how many of Bosch’s works were actually created by Bosch. He only signed seven works and art scholars agree on a mere 25 that they believe can be attributed to him. Many other works once thought to be Bosch’s are now thought to be those of his followers and imitators, his style being hugely influential.
¹ A similar dynamic occurred with satirical writings and dialogues of Erasmus (1466 – 1536). Martin Luther denounced Erasmus’ Ten Colloquies and vowed to tell his son not to read them. Even some of Erasmus’ friends and patrons didn’t like some of his work. Craig Thompson notes that, in his defense, Erasmus distinguished between (a) content appropriate for characters and dramatic situations and (b) an author’s actual opinions. See Erasmus, Ten Colloquies, trans. Craig R. Thompson 1986, MacMillan, pp. xxv – xxvii.
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Book of Isaiah – Isaiah, son of Amoz, was a statesman, counselor to Kings and a prophet in the Old Testament around the 8th-century BCE. He apparently lived in Jerusalem, having a profound influence in the Kingdom of Judah.
Like many other books in the Bible, scholars question the authorship of the Book of Isaiah. While some fundamentalists still believe that all of the books of the Bible were written by the authors ascribed to them, contemporary biblical scholars generally agree that the prophetic book written in Isaiah’s name contains material from at least two other unnamed prophets, known as Deutero-Isaiah and Trito-Isaiah.
The Isaiah recorded in the Bible shows some hostility towards his political enemies, but this is tempered by his hope for a better future that he never sees… not in this world, anyhow. Wikipedia nicely sums up the bulk of Isaiah:
The first 39 chapters prophesy doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God, while the last 27 prophesy the restoration of the nation of Israel and a new creation in God’s glorious future kingdom; this section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant, four separate passages referring to the nation of Israel, interpreted by Christians as prefiguring the coming of Jesus Christ.¹
In Trito-Isaiah God reveals his total sovereignty over human life and thought:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are my ways your ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.²
After the Assyrian invasion of 701 BCE, it is generally believed that Isaiah was martyred.
² Isaiah 55 : 8-9 . This is one of my favorite Biblical passages and it was instrumental in my conversion to Catholicism. During a transitional stage in my life a non-Catholic Christian, quite out of the blue, suggested I read Isaiah 55 : 6-9. When I did, the power of the words hit me hard and I eventually converted to Catholicism. Interestingly, the numbers 55 and 69 had already been personally significant for several years prior, in a sort of ongoing synchronistic way. So hearing the Christian suggest I read that particular passage, and the effect it had on me, contained special significance. It seems that God usually works that way (MC).
- Book of Isaiah (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz (sharperthanatwoedgedsword.wordpress.com)
- Fear Leads To Spiritual Darkness (nweatherhead.wordpress.com)
- The Beginning (discoveringisaiah.wordpress.com)
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- “What should we learn from the life of Isaiah?” (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- Who is the “Man of Sorrows” in Isaiah 53? (verse4psalm37.wordpress.com)
- Status Report Day 98 (journeyofthebible.wordpress.com)
William Blake (1757-1827) was an English engraver, painter, poet and mystic born in London.
Like visionaries from most world religions, Blake believed that a spiritual light exists behind the world of appearances. His writings and art mostly refer to philosophical, mythological and biblical themes.
Unlike artists who use abstraction to hint at a perceived yet normally unseen reality, Blake’s imagery is quite direct as he attempts to portray his perception of inner light, according to his own vision.
He differs from mainstream Christianity by emphasizing the importance of spontaneous, unguided and unchecked spiritual experience. At times his work is reminiscent of Gnosticism, especially when saying the self and the Godhead may be one. Blake’s beliefs differ from both Catholicism and Gnosticism, however, in that he seems to imply that good and evil are relative ideas constructed by the regimented mind.
This relativistic view is especially apparent in his so-called ‘minor prophecy’, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1791), an arguably grandiose work of undisciplined introspection that leans towards a nebulous, incomplete kind of Buddhism. While not without its literary merit, and also containing a few worthwhile critiques of religious hypocrisy, Heaven and Hell seems to reflect Blake’s personal quest and, perhaps, limited degree of spiritual understanding. Whether it contains any universal, salvific value is a matter of debate. Some might say it’s a useful signpost along the road of spiritual formation while nonetheless incomplete. Others might say it’s misleading.
William Blake (1757-1827) was an English engraver, painter, poet and mystic born in London.
Blake’s best-known paintings are The Canterbury Pilgrims and Jacob’s Dream. He also illustrated Young’s Night Thoughts (1797), Linnell’s The Book of Job (1826), Dante’s Divine Comedy and did imaginative engravings for his own writing.
Other works include Poetical Sketches (1783), Songs of Innocence (1789), Songs of Experience (1794) which include ‘The Tyger’, and the prophetic poem ‘Jerusalem’ (1804-20).
Most of the notables around him thought he was a flake, and his work and ideas were largely unrecognized. Near the end of his life he lived in poverty, spurred on by a band of youthful admirers.
- The Tyger – William Blake (mitchellcharman.wordpress.com)
- William Blake’s Masterpiece Inadvertently Burnt in Cult Ritual (bookshopblog.com)
- William Blake – The Tyger (calebcampbell1english2230.wordpress.com)
- Romantic poets (emangull29.wordpress.com)
- The Hellish Proverbs of a B Student (connorwilliammarr.wordpress.com)
- Introduction to Songs of Innocence by William Blake (stuffjeffreads.wordpress.com)
- Introduction to Songs of Experience by William Blake (stuffjeffreads.wordpress.com)
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The word Bible comes from the Latin after the Greek biblia, or “books.” Biblia is a form of byblos, meaning the papyrus paper exported from the ancient Phoenician port city of Biblos.
Also known as the Holy Bible, the Bible is a collection of writings complied over centuries, containing the Sacred Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Although some fundamentalists don’t like to explore the idea, mature biblical scholars, using various archeological findings and scholarly techniques, generally agree that many books of the Bible attributed to one author were likely not written by that author; possibly they were written by many authors and compiled over time.
The debates are fast and sometimes furious. But to most sober-minded people, it seems that in many books, the Bible did not drop down from God into mind of a single prophet/author.
This assertion does not, however, necessarily mean that the Bible does not come from God. Not unlike the idea of intelligent design (vs. creationism), the evolution of the Bible could very well have been overseen or, if you prefer the religious word, inspired by the Lord.
Jews and Christians each use the word “bible” but the Jewish scriptures and the Christian Bible differ.
The 39 books of Jewish Scripture are written in Hebrew, except for a few passages in Daniel and Ezra, which are written in Aramaic.
The Old Testament (or Jewish Bible) recounts God’s involvement with mankind from creation to the beginning of the Israelite’s religion, up to around the 2nd-century BCE.
The Christian Bible contains the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. The New Testament is regarded by Christians as a “new covenant” between God and his people, focusing on the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and the formation of his early apostolic church.
Several early texts competed for inclusion into the orthodox canon. The Old Testament was not decided upon until 100 CE, at the council of Jabneh. Disagreements continued until 1546, however, at which time the council of Trent declared several books as canonical which Protestants would later regard as apocryphal (texts not recognized as holy scripture but containing some merit).
The Old Testament used by the Roman Catholic Church is the Jewish Bible plus seven other books (and additions); some of the additional books were originally written in Greek, as was the New Testament.
The Old Testament used by Protestants consists of the 39 books of the Jewish Bible. The remaining, unused books and additions are called the Apocrypha by Protestants, which are generally known as deuterocanonical books by Roman Catholics. However, many Catholics use the word Apocrypha to describe all that lies outside their Authorized Bible.
An early indication of a canonical list matching today’s New Testament is found in the 39th Easter letter of Athanasius in 367 CE, designating 27 books of the New Testament in addition to the Old Testament canon.
The New Testament (Christian Scripture)
The Gospels and Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Epistles or Letters
Book of Revelation or Apocalypse of St John
The Old Testament (Christian and Jewish Scripture)
Books of the Law (known as the Pentateuch)
Books of Poetry and Wisdom
Song of Solomon
Books of the Prophets
Additions to Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Epistle of Jeremiah
Prayer of Azariah
Song of the Three Young Men
History of Susanna
Bel and the Dragon
Prayer of the Manasseh
† The Roman Catholic Church includes Tobit, Judith, all of Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus and Baruch in its canon.
- Part I: Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God? (thesimplewomansdaybook.com)
- Facts You Didn’t Know About the Accuracy of the Old Testament (vineoflife.net)
- What’s Missing from “A New New Testament”? (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
- HarperOne’s Bible e-book sale (bltnotjustasandwich.com)
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- The Deutero-canonical books of the Bible: dispelling a Protestant myth. (1catholicsalmon.com)
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Beatnik is a slightly derogatory, superficial or amusing (depending on how one looks at it) term for those belonging to the 1950s youth subculture called the Beat Generation. In the 1960s the term also described listeners of rock and roll, hippies and those advocating anti-authoritarian lifestyles and social arrangements.
Wikipedia puts it this way:
Beatnik was a media stereotype of the 1950s to mid-1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s and violent film images, along with a cartoonish depiction of the real-life people and the spiritual quest in Jack Kerouac‘s autobiographical fiction.
The beatniks wore unconventional dress, hairstyles, imbibed in psychotropic drugs and listened to jazz and bebop. Among Beat writers Jack Kerouac (On the Road, Dharma Bums), William S. Burroughs‘s Naked Lunch (1959) and poet Allen Ginsberg reigned supreme.
The first line from Ginsberg’s “Howl” (1955) epitomizes the dark side of the Beat Generation:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters, burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.
From this, it seems a bit simplistic to suggest the Beatnik culture was an entirely positive spiritual quest. From a Catholic perspective, illegal drug use rarely, if ever, culminates in genuine spirituality. It might represent a stage a seeker passes through before coming to a place where he or she can appreciate an experience of true grace and holiness later in life. But drug use, itself, arguably messes with the mind (and brain) and obscures the pure spirituality of the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, it would be equally simplistic to entirely dismiss the insights and societal benefits that came out of the movement. Like anything, one has to sift through the entire phenomenon to discern the good from the bad.
I Feel Like Saying A Beatnik Poem 1950′s B Movie Style
On the World Wide Web:
The Beatniks (video, 1960)
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A Baptist is a member of a Protestant Christian Church or denomination with roots in England and Wales from the beginning of the 17th century. In the late 19th century, Baptists quickly became an important part of the American Christian landscape.
Today’s Baptist Church is a global phenomenon, the Baptist World Alliance having been established in 1905.
Baptists generally reject infant baptism, believing that sacred scripture points to the necessity of consciously choosing to embrace Christian belief. So for Baptists, a newborn who cannot choose is not ready to accept Baptism.
However, not all Baptists agree on every theological issue as, say, Catholics seem to when professing their common faith in the Mass. In fact, Baptists belief varies considerably. And this divergence of belief isn’t just a private matter, kept under wraps for fear of repercussions or to preserve the Church’s unity. Rather, it’s public. ¹
Not surprisingly, Baptist congregations tend to be run independently. And they’re quite active in organizing missions, schools and youth camps.
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- Comedian Interviews Westboro Baptist Church… and Wins (patheos.com)
- Baptists: Believer’s Baptism (nonthaburichristianfellowship.wordpress.com)
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Cults and Religions – What’s the difference?
Many debate the differences between religion and cults. Some say there’s no difference. In other words, religions are cults and cults are religions. But this kind of thinking arguably doesn’t do justice to the complexities of faith and the supernatural.
One difference seems to be that, in a cult, a charismatic leader is undeservedly glorified. Some say that this would make Abraham, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Buddha and Mahavira cult leaders. But cults also display a relatively short longevity (after the leader dies, the cult dwindles away). This didn’t happen in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Jainism. So they can’t be called cults by that standard.
Another difference is that cults typically isolate new members from their families and unbelievers. Religions tend to be less drastic, with most (not all, mind you) accepting interfaith relationships.
Steven Hassan, an expert on cults, says
Since all destructive cults believe that the ends justify the means, they believe themselves to be above the law. As long as they believe that what they are doing is “right” and “just,” many of them think nothing of lying, stealing, cheating, or unethically using mind control to accomplish their ends. They violate, in the most profound and fundamental way, the civil liberties of the people they recruit. They turn unsuspecting people into slaves. ¹
Others say the difference between religions and cults is a matter of degree, especially with those religions and cults that attract, institutionally legitimize and reproduce authoritarian personality types and the legalistic beliefs and structured practices that these individuals participate in.
In these instances, religious or cultic affiliation apparently provides a convenient means for the psychologically immature to overlook unresolved emotional issues. Accordingly, some critics of religion maintain that religious affiliation provides a safe but essentially cowardly means for unleashing centuries of culturally and perhaps genetically inherited anger onto those who don’t wish to sacrifice their free will to the dictates of an institution. These critics say that most religious institutions must incorporate (or reject) new developments within the context of their limiting teachings and traditions.
This too, seems somewhat simplistic. For religious believers will often say they are fully choosing to cooperate with God’s will as progressively revealed to them within their particular religious organization. Apparently there’s a richness in their spiritual life that the secular critics just don’t get. And individuals belonging to orgqanizations seen by outsiders as cults often say the same thing. “You don’t understand…”
This can make it difficult to tell the difference between a religion and a cult. Meanwhile, many new religions are cropping up. And some say they’re nothing more than cheap covers created by creepy masterminds aiming to get tax breaks on donations made by gullible believers.
When in doubt, draw a chart
One of the definitions for “cult” in Merriam-Websters dictionary is: “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents.”
The following chart compares some of the main beliefs and practices found within religions and cults. This is not the final word. The items in each column don’t universally apply and many of the distinctions made in this chart are debatable. In keeping with the classical sociologist Max Weber, however, this chart offers ideal types.
Ideal types are generalized constructs. They don’t provide precise definitions and they’re not comprehensive. But they are thought-provoking. And that’s their main purpose.
Above chart elaborates on many sources, including Gregg Stebben’s Everything You Need to Know About Religion (The Pocket Professor, Denis Boyles ed., New York: Pocket Books, 1999: 25-26).
¹ Steven Hassan, Combatting Cult Mind Control, Rochester: Park Street Press, 1988, p. 36.
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- Scientology should NOT be protected as a religion… (girlygirl.typepad.com)
- Mexican Authorities Raid Sex Slavery Cult Led By Reincarnated Christ Figure (disinfo.com)
- Claimed By The Cult: A Mother’s Fight To Rescue Her Son-Author Recounts Experience Saving Her Son From A Religious Cult (paramuspost.com)
- Author Geneva Paulson Recounts Experience Saving Her Son from a Religious Cult in New Book (prweb.com)
- “Cathy Don’t Go”: A religious cult’s lost new-wave gem (chicagoreader.com)