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What Do You Think About God?


james

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Didn't really want to start a new thread, so I thought I'd bump this GB Classic to ask this question:

I was just watching a report on the BBC News Channel about the declining influence of the Church in Western Europe, and it mentioned that there is a "church tax" in Germany and that it amounts to the equivilent of 8% of Income Tax. A similar tax in Finland is pegged at 2%. Is this true? It seems outrageous in a modern, liberal society like Germany that this should be the case, which makes me wonder whether the BBC have got their facts right on this one.

That's absolutely true, but I view nothing offensive in the church tax. Of course some might argue that state and church should be strictly separated as in France, but we have a different system here in Germany. Although I could use the money as well elsewhere, I as member of the protestant church take no offence in paying my "fee" for the many social services the church offers (for example, the toddlers' group for my almost one-year-old nephew).

But I never thought that the tax undermines the liberal, modern spirit of German societey nowadays. What undermines the liberal zeitgeist much more is the fundamentalist, overly conservative mindset of the pope and the other heads of the catholic church -- denying Protestantism the acknowledgment as normal Christian religion, for example, 500 years after the reformation!!!

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But I never thought that the tax undermines the liberal, modern spirit of German societey nowadays. What undermines the liberal zeitgeist much more is the fundamentalist, overly conservative mindset of the pope and the other heads of the catholic church -- denying Protestantism the acknowledgment as normal Christian religion, for example, 500 years after the reformation!!!

Overly conservative mindset? lol. What do you suggest the Pope does to bolster his 'liberal' views to you -- open a Mary Magdalene themed whorehouse in the ol' Vatican city? Or just keep professing the Catholic faith honestly as per his religion............

The Pope and Catholic church hasn't denied the Protestant church anything. They (protestants) reformed and therefore they separated from Rome on which they disagreed with. Remember, just as you're saying Catholics don't acknowledge Protestantism fully (as it is a not Catholicism so why should they?), Protestants also don't recognise Catholic faith fully either so why you choose to just single out the Catholic church on that one is strange. Is it because you're German and of the Protestant persuasion?

Oh, and to answer this thread 'what do I think of God?', I've got to admit I quite like the fella. The creator of heaven and earth, the cause of all causes etc is OK in my book.

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Overly conservative mindset? lol. What do you suggest the Pope does to bolster his 'liberal' views to you -- open a Mary Magdalene themed whorehouse in the ol' Vatican city? Or just keep professing the Catholic faith honestly as per his religion............

This is just polemic and doesn't even deserve a serious answer.

The Pope and Catholic church hasn't denied the Protestant church anything. They (protestants) reformed and therefore they separated from Rome on which they disagreed with. Remember, just as you're saying Catholics don't acknowledge Protestantism fully (as it is a not Catholicism so why should they?)

Simply because both denominations are Christian -- we believe in the same God and share many common rituals and values. That the Catholic Church still seems to be angry about the separation (even 500 years later), really puzzles me.

Protestants also don't recognise Catholic faith fully either

Well, in our sacrament, Catholics are allowed to take part and our clergymen don't have to fear sanctions if they allow a Catholic to take part in the sacrament. And vice versa?

As I said: Just because there are two different denominations within Christianity, we still believe in the same God and share many common rituals and values. I cannot understand why one has to draw artificial borderlines between communities which have actually much more similarities than differences.

Furthermore, I think there's much more acceptance and openness on the Protestant side (at least here in Germany) towards the Catholics than it is the other way round. Maybe you as an inhabitant of the British Isles are strongly influenced by what happened and still happens in Northern Ireland, but we in Germany have a naturally far more relaxed relationship between Protestantism and Catholicism. This is another reason why I find it so strange that the Catholics still want to dissociate in some regards from us.

so why you choose to just single out the Catholic church on that one is strange. Is it because you're German and of the Protestant persuasion?

Sorry, correction: "Just because there are two different denominations within Christianity, we still believe in the same God and share many common rituals and values." should actually be "Even if there are two different denominations within Christianity, we still believe in the same God and share many common rituals and values."

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@ F.,

I think evangelic-lutheran church would fit better, since protestant church is the point of view of the catholic church

(by the way the word catholic isn't "owned" by the catholic church - e.g. the anglican church, the orthodox churches call themselves to be catholic, too - since the word catholic means "general" only)

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CAF, I actually have no problem calling myself protestant, especially since "protestant" is the internationally better-known and more distinct word. "Evangelic" can be confused too easily with "evangelical" or "evangelicalism".

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IMO, God is a thing not a been.

God has no feelings, it does not have hands, sons, representants, judgements and love - all of it are very human things (animals don't judge and tree has no hands). God is not human, this would be really small compared to the universe. For me God is a thing or maybe God is all.

That's what I think.

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We should be determined to say that we stand on the ground for GOD. I wonder how life would look like without Godly people.

It would look like the pre-Renaissance Europe of the 8th-13th centuries:

  • Illiteracy the norm
  • Caste/class system condemning most to poverty
  • Compressed lifespan thanks to endemic, misunderstood and therefore untreatable diseases
  • Women without civil rights
  • Slavery
  • Racist violence and torture

The history of modernity is entwined with the history of "Godly" people. Religion has been a tool for oppression and the inspiration for revolution. Has contributed to humanism and injustice. Been used to justify human rights violations and social justice movements.

But liberal, capitalist, social democracies are more often successful under secularism--which isn't the elimination of faith, but the emphasis on common values that aren't owned by a faith--or any faith. I know as many moral athiests as I do slimeball religionists.

Regardless, faith is a subject best served by questions rather than statements. Or polemics. Or testimonies. Attraction rather than promotion, in other words.

PS Catholic means "universal" I was raised <I>Roman Catholic</I>. Most Orthodox denominations are <I>not</I> Catholic.

<b>*hums "I Believe"

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Furthermore, I think there's much more acceptance and openness on the Protestant side (at least here in Germany) towards the Catholics than it is the other way round. Maybe you as an inhabitant of the British Isles are strongly influenced by what happened and still happens in Northern Ireland, but we in Germany have a naturally far more relaxed relationship between Protestantism and Catholicism. This is another reason why I find it so strange that the Catholics still want to dissociate in some regards from us.

Gotta disagree with that one I'm afraid.I think in modern day culture, protestants are far more antagonistic towards Catholics than vice-versa. Especially here in the UK whereby the powers that be are, such as the British monarchy etc, aligned with the Protestant faith. Orange walks etc are nothing but hate walks designed to wind-up, aggravate and attack Catholics in my opinion.I don't think they serve a remotely 'spiritual' purpose.

You shouldn't find it strange that Catholics don't fully embrace Protestantism though. Why should they? Catholicism existed loooooooong before Protestantism did -- indeed, the Protestant 'religion' was a reaction to Catholicism in the first place. Thus, Protestants splintered from Rome. It wasn't the other way around. Why should the Pope have to modify his Catholic beliefs to pacify the Protestant faith who by definition, 'protest' against the edicts of Rome hence why they developed their own religion away from the mother church? It comes down to belief -- Catholics have theirs and Protestants have theirs. They do differ thus there is going to be a divide between the two faiths.

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CAF, I actually have no problem calling myself protestant, especially since "protestant" is the internationally better-known and more distinct word. "Evangelic" can be confused too easily with "evangelical" or "evangelicalism".

Lol - you are right I won't want to be mixed up with 'evangelical' or 'evangelicalism' either

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Having been raised RC, I see a fundamental difference with most Protestant traditions is the ethos. Catholicism is very much a collectivist ethos; many Protestant traditions (and Judaism) are very much more individualistic.

Or as I wont to say "he's Mr. Gawd to you and Mr. Jesus. Not your personal Gawd or Saviour. A bit more respectful distance please." ;)

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The truth is that fearful awe and trusting intimacy both have their place. So do community and solitude. Nobody-- least of all me gets the balance exactly right.

I part company with Roman Catholicism in two key ways. 1.) I don't believe prayers to anyone other than the three Persons of the Trinity are appropriate. 2.) I do not believe there is anything humans can do to add to the grace of God -- it is a gift that can be accepted or rejected, but not earned.

I do wish Protestants placed more value on corporate worship and confession to one another. I think these are two significant failings.

As for the Evangelical political agenda -- I do not share it. I do not think bombastic proclamations will attract anyone other than the weak-willed and fearful.

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